Potatoes in Canada

Peter VanderZaag wins Wilson Loree Award

Dec. 15, 2014, Ottawa – Peter VanderZaag, of SunRISE Potato, has been honoured with Farm Management Canada's prestigious Wilson Loree Award.

December 15, 2014
By Brandi Cowen

Now in its twelfth year, the award honours individuals or groups who have made an extraordinary contribution to advancing agricultural business management practices in Canada.

Together with his wife, daughter and son-in-law, VanderZaag manages SunRISE Potato, founded in 1991 in Alliston, Ont. The company grows, stores and markets 1,000 acres of potatoes each year.  VanderZaag also has a potato breeding program that focuses on developing new processing varieties for long-term storage, lower temperatures, and disease and pest resistance.

VanderZaag joined the International Potato Center (CIP)’s board of trustees in 2008 and served one year as chair of the program committee. In April 2009 he was elected chair of the board and served in that capacity for four years.

He has also worked in Central Africa (Rwanda) and the Philippines, and has been particularly active with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, providing expertise in North Korea, Ethiopia, Burundi and Bangladesh.

Although his international experience is extensive, he is actively involved at the local level as well. VanderZaag has been instrumental in helping advocate and promote the importance of farm business management practices in Ontario.  

He is a founding director on the Agri-food Management Institute (AMI) and served as chair of the board of directors for nearly six years. As chair, he helped propel the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) to develop and deliver the Growing Your Farm Profits (GYFP) business assessment tool in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) for Ontario farmers.

The GYFP has now been transferred to many other provinces in Canada and is now used in both Ghana and Japan.

“Farm business excellence requires intentional and focused analysis on all aspects of the farm operation, the opportunity to practice what you preach, and help from outside advisors,” said VanderZaag. “AMI helped me practice what I preached as one of its founding board members. I try to present these same opportunities for others in the work I do. Thank you for this recognition.”

“I believe the integration of his technical production expertise with farm business management leadership provides a key bridge that makes sense for farm managers,” said Wilson Loree, upon presenting the award to VanderZaag. “His thinking and messages include both of these critical components of successful farm businesses.”

Loree retired as branch head of Agriculture Business Management after 27 years with Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development. He is cited as “an individual who exemplifies innovation, wisdom, and a constant focus on the farm manager and the farm family.” He currently resides in Olds, Alta., with his family and operates Loree Management Services.

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