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Alberta Next: Agribusiness

Panelists and Keynote Speakers

Alberta Next: Agribusiness will focus on our ability to produce diverse crops, dedication to sustainability and development of new technologies which give us the leading edge in the industry and address the challenges we face, including rural decline, labour shortages and volatility in global trade.


Hon. RJ Sigurdson, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation

Hon. RJ Sigurdson, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation

Hon. RJ Sigurdson, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation - Keynote

The Calgary Chamber of Commerce is pleased to host the Hon. RJ Sigurdson, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation, for a keynote address and fireside chat at our upcoming event Alberta Next: Agribusiness.

Minister Sigurdson will discuss the provincial government's strategic efforts to leverage our competitive strengths for the growth of Alberta's agriculture sector. The discussion will focus on how investment initiatives and programs play a pivotal role in ensuring that Alberta continues to be a preferred destination for talent, businesses and projects.

Presenting sponsor

Dr. Kristin Baetz

Dr. Kristin Baetz

Dr. Kristin Baetz - Opening remarks

Dr. Kristin Baetz is the Dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Calgary. She's known for her work in biomedical science, specializing in functional genomics. With a background in medical genetics and microbiology, she's held prestigious roles such as a Tier II Canada Research Chair and president of the Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences. Her research focuses on understanding molecular mechanisms in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Dr. Baetz is also involved in advocacy for health research and has been recognized for her contributions, including being named an Outstanding Reviewer by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Panel discussion

Cultivating the next generation workforce

Martha Hall Findlay

Martha Hall Findlay - Panelist

Prior to joining the School of Public Policy, Martha led Suncor’s ESG efforts as their Chief Sustainability and Chief Climate Officer and was instrumental in the development of the multi-company Oil Sands Pathways to Net Zero by 2050 initiative. She has many years of experience as a corporate lawyer, international trade expert and senior business executive in Canada and in Europe.As a twice-elected Member of Parliament, she served in the Official Opposition shadow cabinet for International Trade; Finance; Transport, Infrastructure and Communities; and Public Works and Government and served on the House of Commons committees for all of those portfolios.

Ryan Murphy

Ryan Murphy - Panelist

Born and raised on a mixed cattle and grain farm in Bonnyville, AB, Ryan has been around agriculture his entire life. Before joining Invest Alberta, he spent 17 years living abroad with roughly half of that time spent in the US bookending his eight years in China and Malaysia.  Ryan’s work background has focused on international business, business development, project management and process improvement.  He can speak intermediate Mandarin Chinese, although he admits his language skills are a little rusty.  Ryan is excited to be back in Alberta working for Invest Alberta as Investment Director for Agriculture.  He likes to say his role is to “introduce Alberta to the world and bring the world to Alberta”.

Jeremy Siddell

Jeremy Siddell - Moderator

With nearly two decades in financial relationship banking, primarily focused in the agricultural sector, Jeremy brings a breadth of ag experience to the table. He's financed agribusiness and farming operations from coast to coast, and has spent the last 13 of those years as an Agricultural finance leader. Jeremy joined connectFirst Credit Union in 2023, and is thrilled to be part of an organization with values that reflect his own, and who's past, present, and future is knit into the soil of the farming communities they serve.

Luree Williamson

Luree Williamson - Panelist

Luree Williamson is the CEO of Agriculture for Life where she leads the efforts in delivering Next Gen educational programming to improve rural and farm safety and build a genuine understanding and appreciation of the impact agriculture has on our lives. Over the past year, Ag for Life initiatives reached over 800,000 Albertans. With over 20 years business experience, Luree‘s strong entrepreneurial background, leadership and strategic acumen are key assets in building the Ag for Life brand, partnerships and programs. Luree and her family live west of Calgary on their horse ranch. 

Panel discussion

Planting the seeds of innovation

Joy Agnew

Joy Agnew - Panelist

Joy earned her Ph.D. in Ag/Bio Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan, where she focused on farm waste management and understanding the carbon footprint of agriculture to help producers understand in-bin grain drying and storage systems. She joined Olds College in 2019 where she oversees the Olds College Centre for Innovation (OCCI), which focuses on applied research in crop and livestock production with a focus on technology integration to improve productivity and sustainability of food production. Joy also has a leadership role in the development of the College's Smart Ag Ecosystem, bringing together departments to help the College meet its goal to be a leader in Smart Agriculture. Joy is also past president of the Canadian Society of Bioengineering and is an adjunct professor at the University of Saskatchewan.

Calvin Booker

Calvin Booker - Panelist

Dr. Calvin Booker manages Animal Health services and research at TELUS Agriculture & Consumer Goods, a role he previously held at Feedlot Health Management Services until its acquisition by TELUS in 2020. With expertise in epidemiology, data analysis and production consulting, Dr. Booker joined Feedlot Health in 1992 post his D.V.M. and M.Vet.Sc. at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine. With extensive experience in epidemiology, data analysis, and production consulting, Dr. Booker joined Feedlot Health in 1992 after completing his D.V.M. and M.Vet.Sc. at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine. His contributions have been recognized with prestigious awards such as the 2023 Boehringer Ingelheim WCABP Veterinarian of the Year. Formerly in executive roles at the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, Dr. Booker also serves as Affiliate Faculty at Colorado State University and Adjunct Professor at Texas A&M University.

Dana Gibson

Dana Gibson - Moderator

Dana has worked in the food industry for the past 20 years and has experience on the floor, in both meat and dairy processing. Dana obtained an M.Sc. in Food Science and worked as a research scientist at the Government of Alberta’s Food Processing Development Centre in Leduc, Alberta where she focused on meat science and ready meals. From there, Dana moved into grant administration where she worked with agriculture and food companies to develop grant applications and fund automation, innovation, market development, and training projects. Now at Alberta Innovates, Dana is excited to work on technology and innovation projects across the agriculture and food value-chain to see the sector grow and diversify.

Chris Paterson

Chris Paterson - Panelist

Chris Paterson grew up farming and has been in the industry ever since, across North America and into international markets as well.  He was a partner in building North America’s largest agronomy network and digital farm management platform, and went on to lead the development of the North American digital initiatives at Bayer and then BASF.  Today Chris is a partner in Tall Grass Ventures, a Calgary based investment firm focused on early stage agrifoodtech, and he is also an active partner and board member with several agtech ventures.    Chris is very passionate about developing the local agtech ecosystem, and invests a lot of his time supporting and mentoring entrepreneurs and getting them connected to industry.


Presenting sponsor

Reception sponsor

Supporting sponsors

Student Tables