Dr. Douglas Hedley

An expert on Canadian agriculture policy, Dr. Douglas Hedley led a distinguished public service career with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and served Canadian agriculture through insightful and sustainable policy development.

After completing his PhD at Michigan State University in 1970, Douglas started a career that saw him serve with every federal Minister of Agriculture, and take part in every major agri-food policy decision made by the federal government from the late 1980s until his retirement from AAFC as Assistant Deputy Minister—Programs Branch in 2004.

Douglas was instrumental in setting agriculture policy for Canada, playing a central role with the provinces and agricultural industry groups to build comprehensive, five-year funded programs with cost sharing among federal, provincial and territorial governments. It began with the Whitehorse Accord, the foundation for the Agricultural Policy Framework in 2003—a first in Canada for an agreement with a common national policy and program approach for agriculture and food development in all regions. That first program was followed by Growing Forward I, II and the current Canadian Agricultural Partnership—that remains substantially the same after 20 years, a remarkable achievement built on Douglas’s vision and insight.

When Douglas saw the need for better market outlook analysis, he developed the capacity at AAFC for staff to construct, test and update large agricultural economic models. And his work overseas in agricultural economic development with the Rockefeller Foundation in Colombia, Indonesia and Nigeria helped establish international agricultural networks with Canada as a sought-after collaborator.

Douglas held several executive leadership positions with the International Association of Agricultural Economists (IAAE) including president, vice-president of programs, and was the founding editor of the organization’s journal Agricultural Economics.

After retiring from public service, Douglas served as the executive director of the Association of Canadian Faculties of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine (now the Deans Council—Agriculture, Food and Veterinary Medicine) at a key time in the organization’s development. His work on agricultural policy continues today as a private consultant.

Douglas has been recognized for his life’s work as a Rockefeller Foundation Overseas Scholar, with a Distinguished International Alumni award from Michigan State University, Head of Public Service Award, Honorary Life Membership in IAAE and a Fellow of the Canadian Agricultural Economics Society.

Canada’s whole farm stability programs are a lasting legacy to Dr. Douglas Hedley’s vision for greater equality in federal agricultural stabilization. His unending leadership in policy development continues to benefit Canada’s agriculture and food sector.

Nominated By:
  • Deans Council – Agriculture
  • Food and Veterinary Medicine