A Canadian agricultural visionary, Gordon Bacon drove transformational change by leading the country’s fledgling pulse industry to record growth, production and exports, organizing the pulse industry in Canada, North America and around the world.
A farm boy from Saskatchewan, Gordon earned an agronomy degree from the University of Saskatchewan and started his career in Alberta as a provincial agronomist. He joined the federal government as a senior policy advisor with then Minister of State for Grains and Oilseeds, Honorable Charlie Mayer, and it was there he learned the importance of having policies on market-driven solutions for Canadian farmers. Gordon then travelled to wheat and barley markets around the world as director of market development for the Canadian Wheat Board.
In 1997, Gordon took a pivotal position in his professional career as head of the new Pulse Canada—at a time when Canada’s pulse industry was considered a niche market. Over the next 25 years, his leadership catapulted the Canadian pulse industry from exports of $580 million to more than $4 billion and put Canada on the map as the world’s largest supplier of affordable—and the most sustainable—protein.
Gordon dedicated his career to a collaborate approach to working with researchers, farmers, the pulse trade, food companies and politicians to ensure the industry had the conditions needed for success. He helped merge operations between Pulse Canada and the Canadian Special Crops Association, bringing together the entire value chain to strengthen and grow the industry.
Always one to challenge others to think differently, push higher and achieve more, Gordon lead Pulse Canada to become the first national agricultural organization to support a full-time staff member dedicated to sustainability. His vision capitalized on the unique opportunity for pulses to address the global need for healthy, nutritious, sustainable, affordable foods—while diversifying Canadian cropping systems.
A natural leader with the ability to help others see and share his vision, Gordon’s work at Pulse Canada became the foundation for attracting food industry interest in pulses and helping create growth in new value-added processing opportunities in Western Canada.
Gordon played a key role in having 2016 declared as the UN International Year of Pulses, a significant turning point in consumer awareness of the possibilities of pulses for nutrition and sustainability.
His leadership and achievements have been honoured with a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and being named one of the Top 50 in Canadian Agriculture by Canadian Western Agribition.
Master collaborator, seasoned leader and bold visionary, Gordon Bacon has created a Canadian agricultural legacy that brought together the global pulse industry to achieve greater consumption, food innovation and agricultural sustainability.