“Six years flew by in a hurry”: An Alberta Canola reflection with John Guelly

(Debra Murphy/RealAgriculture)

John Guelly, also known as “Mr. Clubroot” across the prairies, has dedicated the last six years of his time to the Alberta Canola Producers Commission (ACPC), and that time has now come to an end.

The outgoing Region 5 director spent time on a variety of committees for ACPC, including chair of the research committee, and the government and finance committee. He has also served as vice chair for one year, and as board chair for two.

Reflecting on the past years, Guelly says he wasn’t originally sure what he signed up for, but since then has never looked back.

“I didn’t originally know a lot about the commissions, or what they do for farmers,” he says. “You get hands on experience talking to politicians, and forming policy all the way through the industry chain.”

One of the most eye-opening parts of Guelly’s time spent at ACPC was when he was chair of the research committee, where he was involved with the Western Canada Canola/Rapeseed Recommending Committee (WCCRRC). He saw what takes place when it comes to recommending new varieties to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), and it was invaluable experience to Guelly, he recalls.

If someone was interested in getting involved in a commission board, the one piece of advice Guelly has is to make sure you are at the right place in your career and life — as it really can become all-encompassing.

“You have to have the time, because something I found is that once you get a little tidbit of the industry, you just want to find out more. It gets to the point where you continually want to look for more and more stuff, and it takes quite a bit of time,” Guelly says. “If you want to get deeply involved, you want to make sure that your farm and family are in a good place where you can take that time. On the other hand, if you want to just basically serve on the board, and some of their provincial committees — how much time you spend is up to you.” (Story continues below interview)

“It’s very important to get involved. I don’t quite understand why more people don’t get involved. I’ve always thought that I get more back from being a part of the commission than I put into it. You bring so much value and knowledge back to the farm, and the people you get to know, and resources you can draw from. It’s definitely a worthwhile thing to do in your career,” says Guelly.

As Guelly explains, it’s “an endless task to try to educate the rural people,” but it’s a task he wants to continue on — in whatever way shape or form that may be — in the future. For now? It’s time to catch up on some of those tasks around the farm that have been put on the back burner the last couple of winters. As well as some well deserved resting, relaxing, and spending time with family.

“It was a wonderful opportunity, I’ve met tons of great people across the country. It’s amazing how many great people are in our industry, and in Alberta alone, the directors that have come and gone in the time that I was there were fabulous to work with, and the staff is top notch,” Guelly says. “Six years flew by in a hurry.”

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