Experts suggest that Canada is uniquely poised to meet the new challenges animal agriculture will face. Agriculture and food production have also been identified as key sectors to drive economic growth - but our share of exports is falling, our markets are volatile and productivity may be stalling.
Animal agriculture in Canada has been slowly undergoing a skills revolution that will change the way we look at farming and food production - but are we ready?
Advanced technologies are already beginning to be adopted in modern agriculture. Can our farms, supply chains, regulatory environment and trade policies keep up? What have we learned from the impact of COVID-19 that we can use to adjust our way forward?
Join our expert panel as they discuss Canada's current trade policy, agri-food systems and the looming skills revolution to learn opportunities for growth in a rapidly changing global economy.
Dr. Rob Bell, Bio Agri Mix - moderator - Dr. Rob Bell was born and raised on a dairy farm in Southwestern Ontario and graduated from OVC in 1978. He was in private veterinary practice for 25 years and has 20 years experience as a practice owner focusing on dairy production and farm economics.
Rob was a member of the Ault Foods Board of Directors from 1992 until the business was sold to Paramalat in 1997. Rob then went on to complete an MBA in 2001. That same year he joined Pfizer Animal Health Canada as a technical consultant and was fulltime within their Technical Service team in 2003. He was Pfizer Canada’s bovine, equine and genomics business unit director from 2009 -2013, and then joined Bio Agri Mix in October 2013 as its CEO.
Rob has been a member of the CAHI Board of Directors since 2017 and is currently the Vice Chair.
Dr. Evan Fraser, Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security & Director, Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph - Evan works with large multi-disciplinary teams on developing solutions to help feed the world’s growing population while not destroying the ecosystems on which we depend for life. A passionate communicator, Evan has written for the Globe and Mail, the Guardian.com, CNN.com, ForeignAffairs.com, the Walrus and the Ottawa Citizen, and has two popular non-fiction books about food and food security including Empires of Food: Feast, Famine and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations that was published by Simon and Schuster and shortlisted for the James Beard Food Literature Award. He has also co-produced/co-hosted 3 1-hour radio documentaries for CBC’s premier documentary show Ideas on the future of food.
As a researcher, Evan is a co-author on over 100 academic papers and book chapters, played a leadership role in teams that have raised over $100M in research funding, and done hundreds of media interviews. For instance, between 2006-18 he co-convened an ad hoc working group made up of producer groups, the food industry, philanthropy and civil society to propose that the Federal Government of Canada should create a National Food Policy Advisory Council. Evan’s web video series on “feeding nine billion” has been watched over 500,000 times, he has self-published a graphic novel called #FoodCrisis about a fictitious food crisis that hits North America in the 2020s.
Evan is the director of the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph, which was established by a $20 million-dollar gift from the Arrell Family Foundation. He is also a full professor of Geography at the University of Guelph and helps lead the Food from Thought initiative, which is a $76.6 million research program based at the University of Guelph that explores how to use big data to reduce agriculture’s environmental footprint.
Al Mussell, Research Lead & Founder, Agri-Food Economic Systems Inc. - Prior to establishing Agri-Food Economic Systems, Al was Senior Research Associate at the George Morris Centre in Guelph, Ontario for fifteen years. His areas of research expertise are farm management and agricultural systems, agricultural marketing, and agri-food policies. Previously, Al worked as an economist in the milk procurement division of Land O’Lakes, Inc. in Minnesota.
Al holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Agricultural Economics from the University of Guelph, and a Doctorate in Agricultural Economics from the University of Minnesota, where he was a Fulbright Scholar. Al is a Past President of the Canadian Agricultural Economics Society and has served on the board of the Progressive Dairy Operators. He currently serves as Chair of the Ontario Pork Industry Council.
Al is originally from Stratford, Ontario where he grew up in a family with roots in the farm supply and dairy business.
Ryan Riese, National Director, Agriculture, RBC - In his role as National Director, Agriculture, Ryan is responsible for driving the Agriculture strategy for RBC. Ryan’s role stretches across Canada, providing him the unique opportunity to work with producers from coast to coast in a wide variety of agriculture industries.
Ryan's passion for agriculture started early in life. Growing up on a family farm in Manitoba, Ryan was heavily involved from a young age in the family business, a swine genetics company. After the sale of the family business, Ryan worked for a number of organizations in the agriculture industry before moving into a Management Consulting role where he held progressive senior positions prior to joining RBC.
In his free time, Ryan enjoys spending time with friends and family, playing golf and squash, and travelling. Ryan holds an MBA from Ivey Business School, and holds a CPA, CMA designation.