Alan has farming in his bones. He grew up on a farm in the Barrhead area, completed his schooling at the University of Alberta and has spent his entire career working with and supporting farmers and ranchers in various ways. Ten years as a District Agriculturist at Westlock, was followed by another decade as Regional Director of Extension Services and Public Lands in central Alberta. In the 1990’s Alan served as Director of the crops group at the Alberta Department of Agriculture where he was involved with their crop research and crop protection regulatory services at several research facilities throughout Alberta. Shortly thereafter he took on the responsibilities of Executive Director at Alberta Agricultural Research Institute which was the provincial agricultural research funding agency that has since become part of Alberta Innovates.
In the early 2000’s Alan left the Department of Agriculture to lead the new initiatives at Alberta Crop Industry Development Fund Ltd (ACIDF). More recently he was involved in development of Plant Protein Alliance of Alberta Ltd and the establishment of Protein Industries Canada. These initiatives are focussed on attracting investment to expand the crop value add manufacturing efforts in Alberta and Western Canada.
He has now migrated back to his early roots through taking on Executive Director responsibilities at Agricultural Research and Extension Council of Alberta (ARECA). This has come full circle as he is now working with the 12 farmer led Forage and Applied Research Associations throughout Alberta. One is the Gateway Research Organization which he helped establish when he was at Westlock.
The strong extension and adaptive research efforts of these associations are solid feet on the ground working with farmers and ranchers throughout Alberta in developing and bringing solutions to forage, livestock, and crop issues and opportunities they pursue. Key in this are the partnerships and working relations these groups and himself have with Commissions, industry associations, agribusiness, the agricultural research scientists in several universities, colleges, Ag Canada….in Western Canada and beyond. Through this new science, technology and production practices make their way through the gate and onto the farms and ranches.
The forging of the new and emerging highly productive relationship of the associations with Results Driven Agriculture Research Ltd (RDAR) is absolutely critical to sustaining these strong efforts. Alan sees it as being a privilege and a passion to be able to assist in the further evolution and growth of these services. Throughout this journey he has continued to keep his feet on the ground through both his family members who are all farmers and through the many farmers and ranchers he has gotten to know.