John Willmott

ohn Willmott has served Canadian agriculture for decades as an effective leader who builds consensus and is respected for his insights and wisdom. His life work has brought changes and advances to countless agriculture organizations, especially his passion for agricultural shows.

Born and raised in southern Ontario, John moved to Pense, Saskatchewan in the 1970s and began to dream as big as the prairie sky. His focus was the Canadian Western Agribition. He saw the opportunity to build the best beef show on the continent, and the largest in Canada, making Agribition a truly national and international show. He even took trips with then Canadian agriculture minister Eugene Whelan to solicit federal support to get the show off the ground.

It’s a huge understatement to say that John has been an Agribition advocate. He’s been on the board for 29 years, with roles as director, committee chair, member, president and past president. As president, John promoted Canadian agriculture when he travelled to livestock shows in New Zealand, Scotland, Mexico, Australia, the United States and Canada. Today, Agribition is the best beef show and respected international marketplace to the world.

But his work and dreams didn’t stop there. During those same Agribition decades, John was an integral part of the success of the current Canada’s Farm Progress Show – a premier event that showcases new products and innovations in crop and livestock technology. John has been a board member and shareholder of the Regina Exhibition Association for 40 years. 

Throughout his career and service to Canadian agriculture, John served as president, director and member of 19     ag-related organizations, including Agribition, Farm Progress Show, and the Canadian Angus Association as president and general manager. He was part of the history making that happened around boardroom tables where decisions were made that changed the rules and regulations in Canadian agriculture.

John was a respected beef judge in Canada and internationally, and an Angus breeder. He helped create the first regulations affecting artificial insemination and a standard Record of Performance for the Canadian beef industry. He held a strong belief that commercial and purebred producers must work together to move the entire industry forward. And he saw opportunities and encouraged producers to use the show ring as a marketing tool for their beef cattle.

John’s service to the larger agricultural community has included volunteer work with the Farm Animal Council of Saskatchewan, the farm stress line and humane societies.


John and his wife Marg received the Honour Roll of the Saskatchewan Livestock Association for contributions to the beef industry. He also received the Chris Sutter Builder Award for exemplary contributions to the development of Agribition, and is an inductee in both the Canadian Western Agribition Hall of Fame and the Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame.

John has a gift for seeing what needs to be done, cutting through the obstacles to bring people together and getting it done. Canadian agriculture has benefitted immensely from John’s gift.

Nominated By:
  • Canadian Western Agribition