Brian Markert - Board of Directors - Chairman

My name is Brian Markert and I live north east of Vulcan, Alberta with my wife Shari and three kids, Ben (7), Taylor (5), and Hudson (3). I operate Premium Farms Ltd. with my dad Murray, and brother Dave. We crop 3200 hundred acres and run 940 sows farrow-to-finish. Before I started farming full-time, I got an Agriculture Business degree from the University of Alberta. My vision for a profitable pork industry includes technology adoption and cooperation throughout the entire value chain: producers, packers, wholesalers, retailers, and consumers. I believe the most important step in this process is producers working together to ensure efficient production, a superior product and that the producers are receiving value for their product. When not farming you will find me at the hockey rink coaching my kids’ hockey teams or in the kitchen driving my wife nuts from the mess I am making with new food experiments. I feel privileged that I can farm in western Canada and I am passionate that I will pass that opportunity on to generations to come, knowing that it will look very different than it does today.

Edwin Spruit - Board of Directors - Director, Executive Committee

I was born and raised in the Netherlands on a dairy farm. After getting an agricultural degree I started working for a large hog breeding company as a sales person. But my real goal was to become a farmer, so me and my wife Sandra moved to Alberta in 2002. We purchased on old small hog farm just south west of Red Deer. Currently we have 2100 sows and 7000 finishers on 3 sites.

Besides farming, my wife and 5 children are top priority.

In my free time I am a curler, like to spend time with my friends and run to keep me in shape.

As a board member I hope to ensure an ongoing success of the Western Hog Exchange. I believe as an organization we have achieved a lot already in the last few years.

In my opinion its time to start a positive dialog with the packers to ensure long term profitability for both farmers and packers.

Scott Dickson, CA - Board of Directors

Scott was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Scott moved to Brandon, Manitoba in 1981 to attend Brandon University and graduated in 1984 with his Bachelor of Science degree. Scott began articling with Meyers Norris Penny (now MNP) in 1984 and received his Chartered Accountant in 1988. He moved to Calgary as MNP merged into Alberta in 1989 and then moved to Red Deer in 1992 where he still resides. Scott’s primary area of practice was with Agriculture producers and developed an interest in the hog sector as a result of the number of producer clients he developed in that sector including a number of Hutterite colony producers. Scott sat on the board of the Alberta Pork Congress in the late 1990’s. Scott is currently the Vice President of Hutterite Services and Director of Livestock Services for MNP. Scott was also made a partner in 1994 with MNP. Scott has two sons, both residing in Red Deer and he has outside interests in playing golf, curling and bagpipes.

Marc Barmentloo - Board of Directors

Seventeen years ago, after completing my degree in animal husbandry in The Netherlands. I moved to Canada with the dream of owning my own hog farm. After being employed as herd manager for 3 years, I was able to purchase my first 140 sow, farrow to finish operation near Sedgwick. I sold that barn, and move to my current location; a 400 sow, farrow to finish operation near Tofield.

One of the main reasons I would like to be on the WHE board, is to be a part of the process that works toward creating a good pricing model for farmers. I want the hog industry to be fair and profitable for independent producers in Alberta.

Outside of farming, I like to coach my children’s soccer teams and go fishing.

Andy Waldner - Board of Directors

I am the Assistant Manager of hog operations at the Springside Hutterite Colony. We run a mixed farming operation, mostly centered around livestock including Beef and Dairy cows, Laying hens, Turkeys, and a 480 sow farrow to finish hog operation. We also run a feedlot and farm over 6000 acres.

As a member of the WHE board, I would be interested in helping Hutterite and Independent Family hog operations keep holding on to our way of life. I believe that we need to stay in control of our farms and not work for the Integrators. To do that, we need to take control of the marketing of our hogs which can only be done by working together with fellow producers to negotiate in volume. WHE is in the perfect position to be our unified voice and I believe that we can hold onto our way of life if we keep building our organization into a strong marketing arm working for producers to get a fair price.

Erin O'Toole - Board of Directors

I was very pleased to accept the nomination to the WHE board. Although my husband and I do not currently have pigs, we have been shareholders and clients of the WHE for several years. The Western Hog Exchange has seen its role change dramatically over the years from owning and operating collection yards that facilitated hog shipments to a single abattoir, to a crew of dedicated staff looking for marketing opportunities for the dwindling number of hogs in Alberta while maintaining excellent and timely service. I hope to be one more dedicated voice to aid in the survival and transformation of this industry. There are many challenges faced by hog farmers here in Alberta. The WHE is an organization that is unwilling to let the status quo slowly erode a once thriving industry into the ground without a fight and I am happy to add my time and energy and whatever talents and ideas I might possess to the effort.

When not contemplating how to overcome the obstacles faced by marketing hogs in Alberta I can be found at home in the County of Barrhead with my husband and 3 kids. I work full-time in the financial services industry and volunteer as a board member at our local public library. Family life keeps us pretty busy as we chauffeur our kids to their activities and hang out with our extended family but we always find time to make it to the Irish Club in Edmonton where a wonderful community of Irish Immigrants gathers to enjoy each other’s company and shared culture.