Messages for Ward

Ward Toma, Alberta Canola’s General Manager is retiring on May 31, 2022.

Ward has been the General Manager of Alberta Canola since 1999. A lot has changed during his 23 years, and we will be working to summarize his many contributions to the canola family and agriculture industry. But first, we want to hear from his friends and colleagues.

Please use the form below to share stories and to wish Ward well as he leaves the canola family.

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Messages for Ward

  1. Ward,

    I’ve enjoyed working with you over the years! Wishing you all the best on the next chapter of your life and retirement.


    Susan Novak,
    Alberta Agriculture Forestry and Rural Economic Development

  2. Hi Ward,
    Congratulations! Best Wishes for a Healthy and a Happy Retirement Life!

    Best regards

    Valar Gurusamy,
    Western Grains Research Foundation

  3. Thank you Ward, for all the support you’ve provided the CCC Crop Production team over the years! It is much appreciated and has provided extra motivation through some challenging times. Your bold leadership is admirable and has yielded great success for Alberta Canola. I wish you all the best in your retirement and future adventures!

    Taryn Dickson,
    Canola Council of Canada

  4. Ward, your accomplishments are so numerous and recognized by so many in the canola industry, well beyond Alberta Canola. The relationship with the farmers you served is a blueprint for all those, in any industry, to emulate, as witnessed over your 23 years of service. The ceiling was really high. I am going to enjoy spending time with you and your camera for many years to come.

    George Clayton
    Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada (retired)

  5. Ward,

    It’s been a pleasure working with you these past years. Your knowledge and insight of the agricultural industry will truly be missed. Enjoy the next chapter of your life….well deserved.

    Janine Paly
    Ducks Unlimited

  6. Hey big guy, thank you for your years of service and dedication to the agriculture industry. A special thank you to always making the new kids feel welcome at our joint commodity meetings. Your ability to be calm, thoughtful, and hammer home a point in a respectful manner was greatly appreciated. I hope you enjoy your new found freedom!

    Melody Garner- Skiba,
    Alberta Sugar Beet Growers

  7. Congratulations! Enjoy the retirement, it’s well deserved and a tremendous career!

    Jack Toma

  8. Congratulations Ward on your retirement! 23 years is a great accomplishment. You provided the canola industry with many contributions!! Enjoy this next journey…well earned!

    Sonia Matichuk

  9. Thanks for all the time and effort and cooperation you have provided not just for AB Canola but the crops sectors across western Canada. Your input, views, thoughts and timely suggestions on many areas that have been part of improving and building a stronger Ag sector will be missed. All the best in the future where ever that may take you !

    Jeff Nielsen

  10. Hi Ward:
    All the best in your retirement. You’ve helped to make the canola industry stronger.

    Bruce Barker

  11. Congratulations on your retirement Ward. You have been a great leader for canola and for agriculture. All the best for the next adventure!

    Jody Wacowich
    AgSafe Alberta

  12. Ron Howard, Plant Pathologist (Retired), Alberta Agriculture, Crop Diversification Centre South, Brooks on said:

    Hi Ward,

    Congratulations on your well-deserved retirement. I hope that it will be long and rewarding for you. I especially appreciate your support of applied research projects focussed on disease management in canola. Best wishes now and in the future.

    Ron Howard
    Alberta Agriculture (Retired)

  13. Congratulations Ward on your retirement. Enjoyed my opportunity to converse with you over the years. You always had the right demeanour for the job and enjoyed the different perspective you came with. The canola industry will miss your presence.

    Craig Shaw

  14. All the best going forward Ward to you and the family. Enjoy your retirement and life next adventures.


    Carman Read

  15. Hi Ward. Congratulations and thank you for all that you have done for canola, You have continuously kept the Alberta Canola Growers as the best farm organization in the country.

    You will be be greatly missed by all. Thank you for the role that you played in making canola and agriculture in general become the success that it is today. You will be greatly missed.

    Walter Paszkowski
    Past President of the Alberta Canola Growers

  16. Dear Ward
    Congratulations on your retirement.
    I really appreciated interacting with you and the Alberta Canola over the years, I appreciated your insight and your knowledge. You will be missed but you more than deserve a good long rest and some time to finally do all those exciting things that you wish to do but never really had time for.

    I wish you all the best for this new chapter and a new stage in life.

    Véronique J. Barthet
    Grain Research Laboratory, Canadian Grain Commission

  17. Ward, congratulations on a remarkable career.
    Farmers have certainly benefited from your leadership in the canola industry.
    All the best to you and your wife as you enjoy more time with your grandchildren.
    Look forward to seeing you in the mountains!

    Garth Patterson
    Western Grains Research Foundation

  18. Thank you Ward for your many years of service and contribution to the Canadian canola industry. There’ve been a few bumps but more celebrations as you’ve helped grow canola to where it is today. Your retirement is well earned… Congratulations and enjoy!

    Bruce Harrison
    Nutrien Ag Solutions

  19. Congrats and thanks for all you dedication, commitment, and hard work over the years. Thanks so much for stepping up to the plate and doing a lot for the industry.

    Valerie Katerenchuk and family

  20. Ward…
    Thank you so much for your help and guidance as I stepped into a new roll after Scott retired. Knowing you were in my corner helped so much!
    I truly hope that you enjoy this next phase of your life journey. I am a little jealous, to be honest!

    Enjoy your retirement!

    Shelley Barkley
    Alberta Agriculture

  21. Hi Ward,
    Congratulations on your retirement. I enjoyed working with you and our conversations during canola meetings. Your passion for canola and the industry is second to none. Good luck with everything you are planning to do.

    Venkata Vakulabharanam
    Saskatchewan Agriculture

  22. Thank you so much for the time and effort you’ve spent furthering canola policy, grower engagement, and research in Alberta. We truly appreciate the work you have done for us as farmers.

    We wish you all the best in your next adventure!
    Blessings from our family to yours.

    Ashley Glover

  23. A big thank you Ward to the effort and dedication you have Alberta Canola Growers for 23 years. I got to know you mainly through your involvement in Farm Tech where you demonstrated a vision to promote all facets of agriculture production along with value added. Wishing you a long and interesting retirement!

    Ken Wasmuth
    Alberta Conservation Tillage Society

  24. Hello Ward,

    Congratulations as you can enjoy the rewards of a great career. I hope you’re looking forward to whatever 360 degree direction YOU want to take (or what Julie might be deciding)😉.

    Mark MacNaughton
    Olds College Field Crop Development Centre

  25. Hi Ward, Thank you for your many years of service. Always a pleasure to work with you! Best wishes for your next phase of life.

    Alexis Kienlen
    Alberta Farmer Express

  26. Congratulations on a very successful career Ward. Thanks for showing such decisive leadership and helping move the canola industry forward. Enjoy the next chapter!

    Dane Froese
    Manitoba Agriculture

  27. Hi Ward

    WOW you have had quite a ride. Our generation of “old Aggies” have seen quite a change in the agricultural landscape over our career BUT none more than you! Canola is no longer the Cinderella crop but rather has moved up the royalty chain to become the “QUEEN”! This is in part to your guiding hand for the organization representing the canola industry here in Alberta and across Canada. JOB WELL DONE!!

    Merle Good

  28. Your knowledge and leadership were much appreciated. You will be missed.

    Mary Ruth McDonald
    University of Guelph

  29. Hello Ward, I have always looked up to you as a solid, knowledgeable Ag leader.

    You were well established in the industry at the beginning of my career (back as a student, but even more so as APG ED) and I have learnt much from watching/listening to you. You will be missed and I thank you for all you have done for the industry, canola growers and myself. I wish you all the best in your next stage of life.

    Sincerely, Sheri

    Sheri Strydhorst
    Alberta Wheat and Barley Commission

  30. Ward enjoy what comes next with retirement. Your strong voice for canola and agriculture will be missed.

    Dave Bishop

  31. Always appreciated your thoughtful input on FarmTech as well as a joy to have on that board Ward.

    Your long term commitment to the canola growers is a big part of a healthy industry not only in Alberta but by association prairie wide.

    Enjoy and best of luck in your retirement!

    Don Boles

  32. Congratulations Ward on your great career. All the best in your next chapter!

    Russ Stewart
    Promax Agronomy

  33. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and insight over the years. Enjoy retirement – you deserve it!

    Autumn Barnes
    Lethbridge College

  34. Ward,
    I hear you are retiring! This must be the first time you ever took my advice!
    Good work and many congratulations,

    Roger Egglestone

  35. Ward,

    Enjoy your well deserved retirement from Alberta Canola! You served the industry with professionalism and were instrumental in its growth. Whenever you drive by a yellow field may you experience a full measure of pride!

    Best wishes!

    Renn and Heather Breitkreuz
    Former Alberta Canola Director

  36. Wishing you all the best in your retirement. It has been a great pleasure working with you Ward.

    All the best!

    Brent McEwan
    Marketing Council

  37. Enjoy your retirement Ward! Thanks for all your support over the years.
    All the best,

    Maya Evenden
    University of Alberta

  38. Dear Ward,
    It is a great pleasure to work with you and thank you very much for the support and advice. Congratulations on your retirement!
    Best regards,

    Gavin Chen
    University of Alberta

  39. Ward I consider myself to be extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to work and interact with you and the Alberta Canola over the last 23 years, but especially as a younger scientist in the late 1990s and into the 2000s. Your calm demeanor, valued input and camaraderie will be remembered fondly.

    I always felt privileged and so fortunate to be part of the Alberta Canola and AAFC Lacombe close working relationship and having the opportunity to interact with you, Rick and the Alberta Canola directors. I learned so much from you, Rick and the producer directors and have fond memories of our annual Alberta Canola/AAFC Lacombe project review meetings at the Royal Executive Inn in Leduc/Nisku and our annual field tours. Your mentorship and that of Rick, the canola directors, CCC agronomists as well as colleagues George Clayton, Neil Harker and John O’Donovan are so sincerely appreciated and valued.

    All the best as you move into retirement!

    Kelly Turkington
    AAFC Lacombe

  40. Ward, where did the time go? Wait, don’t answer this rhetorical question, as I know you have a particular skill at answering tough questions in a succinct fashion. Haha. It’s quite amazing really. There are many things that I will miss about working with you – your professionalism, your access to history, your leadership, and particularly your support of the CCC and our agronomy work. It’s been an excellent time working with you over the past 13 years. The work that you have provided to Alberta farmers has been impactful and meaningful.

    From a canola industry level – you have made the world a better place. From my level, you have made working the industry (particularly in Alberta) a memorable and enjoyable time. I am sure you have many great things ahead, and I hope that we can share a stein of lager to discuss time’s advancement in detail.

    Clinton Jurke
    Canola Council of Canada

  41. There is a saying that pertains to farmland that goes;

    “A measure of success in farming is if you are able to pass the land on in better condition than when you took it over.”

    I would argue this parable carries water in the case of many organizations and the metaphor certainly applies here. The canola industry and agriculture as a whole has changed a lot since the turn of the century and Ward Toma has been exemplary in his role with Alberta Canola in guiding that evolution.

    I’m sure Ward’s name will be cited many times during the course of board and committee meetings for years to come.

    Best wishes to Ward and Julie as they enter this new phase of their life!

    Lee Markert
    Former Alberta Canola Director

  42. I wish you all the best on your well-earned retirement. You are a statesman among our senior managers in the commissions and associations. I have always appreciated the time you set aside when I had questions or was looking for a historical perspective on issues. I also appreciated when you shared things that you created for your organization with others. You always came prepared for the discussions and you were ready to offer constructive feedback, additive commentary and the offer of resources if needed toward a successful collaboration.

    I am certain that Alberta Canola, and your staff, will miss you but please also know that your colleagues will miss you as well. Enjoy the future, make the most of opportunities and seize the day!

    Leanne Fischbuch
    Alberta Pulse Growers Commission

  43. Honestly Ward, the most patient man that has ever lived to survive 23 years of listening to, counseling of, correcting, and generally helping so many farmers grow up through the canola commission.

    You have always been direct, honest, and a professional representative and advocate of the industry and am proud to say I’ve been one of the lucky ones to sit across the table, both challenging and being challenged.

    Live it large my friend!

    Brian Tischler
    Former Alberta Canola Director

  44. Congratulations Ward. AKA The Toma-nator (Definition…a knowledgeable and experienced person who sums up a long board discussion in a few words) It was a pleasure working with you and having some laughs along the way as well.

    Kelly McIntyre
    Former Alberta Canola Director

  45. Ward I have enjoyed working with you and from all here at AFSC we wish you all the best in your retirement!!!

    Emmet Hanarahan

  46. Hi Ward,
    It was great working with you. You always added a certain spark to any meeting you were in. Without fail you were always insightful, plain speaking and forward looking. I hope you have a great, fun, enjoyable next stage.
    All the best,

    Dale Leftwich

  47. Ward,Thank you for everything you have done to help shape Alberta Canola into what it is today. I really enjoyed working with you during my time on the board I learned a lot. Enjoy your next chapter.

    Dale Uglem
    Former Alberta Canola Director

  48. Thoughtful – measured – strong – are three apt descriptors of you, from my experience over the last 11+ years, Ward. Thanks for the privilege of being trusted to work with the Alberta Canola board. You have purposefully influenced for recruitment and equipping of high caliber directors. You confidently trusted their leadership and spoke up respectfully and sparingly as you saw fit. Well done.

    May your next chapter be filled with fulfilling activities that feed your soul,

    Mary Lynn McPherson

  49. Hi Ward,

    It has been a while since you started with Alberta Canola. Thank you for all the work you have done for the canola industry.

    Alberta Pimm
    Former Alberta Canola Director

  50. Ward, congratulations on your 23 years service to the Alberta Canola Commission. I have known Ward and Julie for a very long time. As with most of us, our accomplishments at work pale in comparision to our life accomplishments. Ward and Julie raised three incredible children all of which they can be very proud of. Recently Ward and Julie became proud Grandparents. I can tell you Ward that you’ve hit the top rung.

    I have always been impressed with Wards ability to think through problems before offering solutions. I don’t think Ward will ever be accused of shooting from the hip. His responses are always well thought out and on target.

    Ward I think I have told you that retirement is the best job I ever had. I know that you and Julie will make the best of what the future holds. Knowing Ward I am sure the Canola Commission will be left in the most capable of hands.

    All the best to you and Julie

    Greg Smith

  51. Dear Ward,

    Congratulations on your retirement! It’s been great to work with you over the years; you have been a great advocate for the canola growers and industry. While your leadership will be missed, I’m sure you are looking forward to this new phase of your life.

    Steve Strelkov
    University of Alberta

  52. Congratulations on the next phase of your life. Take it one stroke at a time. Thanks for taking the canola industry forward through all the changing times. You were the right person for the job and I appreciate your friendship as well.

    Clarence Assenheimer
    Former Alberta Canola Director

  53. Ward, it was a pleasure working with you, enjoy a well earned retirement!

    Dave Gallant
    Canadian Canola Growers Association

  54. Ward,
    Many thanks for all your years of dedicated service to not only the Canola industry but the broader Agri-Food sector.
    You were instrumental in forming Alberta Agri-Industry Trade Group, Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance and many more collaborations.
    Enjoy the next phase in your life!

    Ted Menzies

  55. Ward, your contribution to the Canola industry has been incredible! You have always been so insightful, and aware of all the many factors globally that affect the farming industry. I personally have always appreciated your thoughtful answers to my many questions. I particularly enjoyed the day you came to visit my own farm, and joined the Japanese Consulate and his wife, and staff, as we shared tea together in my dining room. As farmers, we are passionate about growing canola, and we have been very blessed to have your foresight to keep us profitable. From one CEO to another, I just want to wish you a very very enjoyable retirement.

    I understand from other comments that you have grandchildren now. If you ever want them to experience a combine, or tractor ride, please just give me a call. If they come, I might just tell them a story about the great man we had who was at the helm of the canola industry for 23 years. Happy Retirement, Ward! Thank you for your outstanding contribution!

    Elaine Bellamy
    Former Alberta Canola Director

  56. Ward, it has been great working with you over the past few years. I always appreciate our chat – both about work and ringette! Take care and enjoy retirement!

    Heather Murk
    Grant Thornton

  57. Enjoy your retirement, Ward; you’ve certainly earned it. I greatly enjoyed our time working together.

    Thank you for teaching me the value of brevity.

    Gregory Sekulic
    Silent Spring Solutions

  58. Ward sat down for dinner at his favourite restaurant and the waiter asked him, “Do you want to hear today’s special?”. “Yes” said Ward. “Ok” the waiter replied, “Today is special!”

    So in all seriousness, today is special because it celebrates Ward and his many accomplishments at Alberta Canola.

    Thank you for hard diligent work for the industry, your thought-provoking approach, and for me, your friendship!

    All the best for a happy retirement.

    Janice Tranberg
    Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association

  59. Congratulations Ward! Wishing you the best of retirements filled with fun and happiness.

    Jen, Zuidhof
    Agriculture & AgriFood Canada, Lacombe

  60. All the best Ward on your retirement. The industry is better because of your involvement. Your candor, humour, leadership and passion for the canola industry was always evident. If you take even 50% of that energy into retirement you will be successful at that venture as well. Good luck with the next chapter!

    Roberta Galbraith
    Manitoba Canola Growers (retired)

  61. Ward I have only met you on a few occasions since I have taken over Chair of RDAR but I do remember you were one of the first stakeholders who engaged me in conversation and support. That was a very welcoming beginning–and I do know how well you are respected in the industry–Alberta Canola has big shoes to fill. Enjoy your retirement.

    David Chalack
    Chairman of RDAR

  62. Ward, may your retirement fit you as well as the GM position at Alberta Canola! As a colleague you were always able to reflect on agriculture issues for what they were, and not let the what-if’s cloud your vision. Your guidance and wisdom was always delivered with a calm-in-the-storm approach and a subtle, but appreciated sense of humour.

    Wishing you well in this next and best phase of life!

    Kelly Chambers
    Alberta Seed Growers

  63. Congratulations Ward Toma!
    You had a fabulous career and you are headed towards a fabulous retirement!
    I can’t wait for you to join me!
    Love, Julie

    Julie Toma

  64. Ward it has been a pleasure to work and learn from you! Enjoy your retirement!!!

    Lynn Weaver

  65. Congratulations Ward on escaping the rat race and moving on to way more enjoyable things! I have been so grateful for your expertise, knowledge of our sector and organizations, and willingness to speak up on important (and sometimes really hard) things. Bonus points that your sense of humour and soul-crushing puns on facebook made me enjoy working with you even more! I wish you and your family every wonderful thing as you refocus your time and energy on them. I will miss you, and hope we can still connect for reals the next time I am out your way. It’s been too long, and a virtual farewell is just not enough :). Thank you, and take care!

    Delaney Ross Burtnack
    Manitoba Canola Growers

  66. Hi Ward. I really enjoyed working with you on many projects and I learned lots from you. Have a great retirement I know I have been enjoying mine.

    Bill Ross
    Manitoba Canola Growers (retired)

  67. Happy retirement Ward. Your contributions to the canola industry over the years has been immense. Enjoy the extra free time in your life!

    Bob Blackshaw
    Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada (retired)

  68. Thank you for your years of service to the canola industry.
    All the best wishes for a long and happy retirement.

    Brian Trueblood
    Former Alberta Canola Director

  69. Congratulations on your retirement Ward. Canola farmers from all across the country have valued from your leadership and vision over the past 23 years. All the best!

    Leanne Campbell
    Manitoba Canola Growers

  70. Congratulations Ward. Alberta Canola is stronger today because of your leadership. I look forward to seeing what you do next!

    Jay Whetter
    Canola Council of Canada

  71. Ward,

    I’m incredibly grateful to have had the last number of years to get to know you and work with you through Alberta Canola. It’s been great fun, always educational, and very much appreciated. I wish you the very best in your retirement and hope I will still see you around at some industry events! Thanks for everything.

    Breanne Tidemann
    Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

  72. It was an absolute pleasure to work with you Ward, as a professional and as a friend…. As the elder canola statesman you and I ushered the Canola Industry through some great times. And every canola grower in Canada owes you a debt of gratitude. All the best in your future endeavors and please stay in touch…👍

    Stew Gilroy
    Former Alberta Canola Director

  73. Hi Ward: You have always been very supportive of the Canola program – highlighted the need for research in public institutions for continued improvement of canola. I appreciate very much of this including your short- and long-term visions in the producer’s organization for moving forward this important crop. Thank you for your constant positivity and encouragement; we will miss you. However, I wish you all the best with your retirement – hope that your retired life will be the best part of your life.

    Habibur Rahman
    University of Albert

  74. Congratulations on your retirement Ward. Enjoy!

    Susan Gal
    Egg Farmers of Alberta

  75. Ward – I will admit that you intimidated the hell out of me when I started with Council, but it didn’t take me long to realize how supportive and encouraging you are. I’ve really appreciated your no nonsense, straight forward approach, that never left me questioning your position. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from you.

    Wishing you great things to come in your retirement!

    Angela Brackenreed
    Canola Council of Canada

  76. Ward it was a pleasure to work with you at Alberta Canola in our efforts to engage producers, working to bring value to them for the betterment of our agriculture industry.
    Enjoy your retirement, grandkid(s) will make it very rewarding.

    Terry Young
    Former Alberta Canola Director

  77. Congratulations Ward on your retirement! It was always a pleasure working with you!

    Eric Johnson
    University of Saskatchewan

  78. Congratulations Ward! What a career of supporting producer organizations and championing good governance! Well done.

    Freda Molenkamp-Oudman
    Alberta Milk

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