Canola Influencers

For the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission, we created an award to honour outstanding individuals who have been instrumental in the success of the Saskatchewan canola industry over the years. The recipients of this award have made distinguished and exceptional contributions of knowledge, education, and ongoing efforts to promote canola. Learn more about each of the esteemed recipients of the Canola Influencer Award below.


2019 recipient – Zenneth Faye

Zenneth was a driving force behind the establishment of SaskCanola. He served as a director of the Saskatchewan Canola Growers Association (SCGA) and was very involved in a number of program areas that benefited farmers including the “Grow with Canola” program which was a joint initiative between SCGA and the Canola Council of Canada (CCC). This program which started as demonstration trials ultimately led to the establishment of the agronomy team at CCC. Zenneth was also instrumental in exploring alternative markets for canola. He has been respectfully referred to as Mr. Biodiesel by some of his colleagues. He was a founding member of the Milligan Biotech plant which was the first commercial biodiesel plant in Canada. He is also a dedicated member of his community, known as a progressive farmer who is willing to investigate and try new ideas. As a true leader in our industry, Zenneth has initiated several projects on a local level including the purchase of a conserva-pak air seeder through the local marketing club to encourage reduced tillage and the formation of a sprayer club to collectively purchase a high clearance sprayer when it was too expensive for most individual farmers to own. He is a lifetime member of the Saskatchewan Institute of Agrologists, a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal, and inductee of the Agriculture Hall of Fame. He has been active on many community, provincial and national boards and currently serves on the SaskBarley board. A man of action, with strong support from wife Cindy and daughters Ambrely and Brittany. 

In Zenneth’s honour, SaskCanola made a $1,000 donation to his charity of choice - The Foam Lake Kids Sport Program

Pictured, Zenneth (right) receives the Canola Influencer Award from Lane Stockbrugger (left)  


2018 recipient – William Cooper

William (Bill) was very proactive in the early years of canola production and processing in the province through his participation as a Director on the Board of the Saskatchewan Canola Growers Association (SCGA) and then as Executive Director of the SCGA from 1978 to 1987. Many growers in Saskatchewan worked to keep canola on the open market and Bill was a supporter of this system. He is also knowledgeable about Canada’s grain transportation system and used his knowledge to further discussions about moving canola to market efficiently and economically. Bill’s engagement with the canola industry has been long term. He has consistently provided leadership and guidance during a time when canola was a fledgling crop that required an advocate and a champion. A farmer himself, from Foam Lake, he has worked to improve the business of farming in Saskatchewan and that impact has been felt across western Canada.

In Bill’s honour, SaskCanola made a $1,000 donation to his charity of choice – The Parkinson Society of Saskatchewan

Pictured, Bill (right) receives the Canola Influencer Award from Doyle Wiebe (left)  


2017 recipient – Dr. Keith Downey

Who better to receive this award first than one of the “fathers of canola”, Dr. Keith Downey. Keith is truly an outstanding Canadian. He is known around the world as Mr. Canola for his leadership role in the development of this crop. Dr. Downey was born and took his early education in Saskatoon. He and his wife Edna have five children and a number of grandchildren. Keith’s BSA and MSc degrees were obtained from the University of Saskatchewan. He has spent his entire career as a scientist with Agriculture Canada, initially as an alfalfa breeder at Lethbridge and since 1957, as a rapeseed/canola breeder at Saskatoon. Forty years ago, rapeseed was an insignificant crop in Canada. It was cultivated in Europe for industrial oil and in Asia as a low quality oilseed crop. Through the efforts of Dr. Downey and his colleagues, canola was bred from rapeseed in the early 1970s to have a superior nutritional profile and much less erucic acid. Fast forward to present day, canola retains its spot as the top revenue-producing crop for Canadian farmers. The economic impact is huge. Keith is best characterized as an excellent scientist, a leader and a collaborator.

In Dr. Downey’s honour, SaskCanola made a $1,000 donation to his charity of choice – The Rotary International Annual Fund

Pictured, Keith (right) receives the Canola Influencer Award from Terry Youzwa (left)