John Oliver

There is no shortage of accolades for the work John Oliver has spearheaded, championed and lead during his long-standing career in Canadian agriculture.

“A catalyst for action.” “Role model and mentor.” “Articulate advocate.” “Optimistic enthusiast.” “Visionary leader.”

John’s contributions to agriculture in Canada can be found in the farm field, in the boardroom, in government policy and in numerous agricultural organizations across the country. His own roots in agriculture run deep. He grew up on a farm in Napanee, Ontario, one of the first farms in the area, and one where he and his wife Lois live today.

After graduation from the University of Guelph in 1961, John joined Elanco, quickly earning numerous corporate roles including Vice President of Eli Lilly Canada and President of DowElanco Canada. Under John’s leadership, two significant agricultural businesses came into being in Canada – Elanco Animal Health and Dow AgroSciences Canada. In tandem with his corporate leadership, John influenced and shaped the career of many individuals in the Canadian agriculture industry as a valued and respected role model and mentor.

Beyond the boardroom, John’s contributions as a visionary leader to the agricultural industry are exceptional. Canola is the world-renowned, made-in-Canada crop it is today, thanks in large part to John’s efforts. He helped put Canadian flax on the map – a crop with benefits for growers and human health. And John has been a lifelong advocate for biotechnology, helping attract significant investment in the Canadian biotech sector.

John knows that agriculture runs on associations. His impact on the Canadian agricultural landscape has grown farther and deeper through his tireless involvement in helping many long-standing industry associations get off the ground. He is a founding member of the Canadian Agri-Marketing Association, past chair of CropLife Canada and the Canadian Animal Health Institute, and is on the advisory board of the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute.

John can uniquely move across private, public, academic and government sector. He is well respected by many federal and provincial politicians and often called on to provide ideas and insights on how to enhance the Canadian agricultural industry.

Lately, John has turned his efforts to climate change. He’s using his connections to work with top agricultural universities in Canada and the US to drive agriculture to lead in adapting to climate change.

John’s glass is always half full. Surviving a devastating plane crash in the late 1970s – where it was expected he would never walk again – has no doubt shaped his signature motto “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

His passion for agriculture is infectious. His positive outlook is inspiring. John Oliver continues to impact the lives of all who cross his path, while improving Canada’s agricultural industry along the way.

Nominated By:
  • Dow AgroSciences Canada Inc.