Canada’s canola industry has Charles Froebe to thank for much of the golden crop’s success in this country. Charlie could see the tremendous impact and opportunities canola would have on the agronomic and financial success of Canadian farmers.
From one of the first canola crops grown in Canada, to the more than 20 million acres now grown across the country, canola has come of age with the help of Charlie’s vision and hard work.
A farmer first, Charlie started farming in 1962 with 320 acres at Homewood, Manitoba. His brother joined the operation two years later, and the Froebe brothers were early adopters of new technology and some of the first farmers to grow canola in Canada.
For more than three decades, Charlie was a leader in the Canadian canola industry at the provincial and national level. His work began with the creation of the Prairie Canola Growers Council in 1983. And in 1992, one of his most notable and impactful contributions was championing the formation of the Canadian Canola Growers Association, a national organization that today advocates for 43,000 canola farmers on issues and policies that impact canola farm profitability. Charlie served as general manager of the Prairie Canola Growers Council, as well as the newly formed national body from its inception until his retirement in 2000.
To further ensure profitability for Canadian canola growers, Charlie successfully saw the extension of the national cash advance program for wheat to canola and ultimately more than 20 other crops. The first canola advances were issued in 1983 to help farmers manage cash flow and market their canola more effectively, and ultimately expand their canola acres.
For years, Charlie managed the association and administered the cash advance program out of his home – with tremendous help from his wife Bonnie – while he continued farming. By the late 1990s, the association had grown exponentially and moved into office space in Carman, Manitoba. Charlie retired from farming in 1996 and the Canadian Canola Growers Association in 2000. Today, the organization that Charlie started employs more than 60 people from its offices in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Charlie has received numerous awards and accolades for his work including Carman’s Citizen of the Year in 1984, Certificate of Merit from the University of Manitoba in 2001 for his outstanding contribution to the agriculture industry and public at large, Manitoba Canola Growers Award of Excellence in 2010 and inductee into the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2011.
Charlie Froebe put all the traits of a Canadian farmer – honesty, loyalty and dedication – to work for a bigger cause that impacted the entire Canadian agricultural industry. Charlie moved canola into the limelight, advocated for innovation and improved the profitability for Canadian farmers. Canola could not be the golden crop it is today without his vision. Thank you, Charles Froebe.