William K.B. Robertson

Bill Robertson, originally from Alberta, demonstrated an outstanding ability to improve the national third-party-verified, pedigreed seed system. For 21 years, Bill served as executive director of the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association and his major contribution was the integration of privately produced varieties into the national pedigreed seed system. He brought public and private plant breeders, growers and governments together to work for the betterment and expansion of Canadian crop seed production at a time of turbulence in production, government funding and world markets.

Bill’s success in making the Canadian Seed Growers Association a model in which all sectors contribute has earned him universal respect in Canada, the United States and other parts of the world. Mr. Robertson related well to federal and provincial governments, seed growers, plant breeders, seed companies and international organizations in accomplishing the task.

He explained the national system at provincial and branch meetings, so growers across the nation could identify with their counterparts elsewhere and work together on common objectives while ignoring potential lines of fracture along regional, provincial or linguistic lines.

His practical knowledge and skill in mediation served him throughout his career, from his work with the federal government at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo, on trade missions throughout the world, to executive director of the Canadian Seed Growers Association, and to relations with governments, seed growers and commercial interests in the seed business.

He was elected president of the American Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies where he strengthened relations with many State members of the organization. This relationship has benefited the transfer of pedigreed seed across the border between the United States and Canada.

Bill has been instrumental in the development of Plant Variety Protection legislation and the Canadian Seed Institute and he also represented Canada at the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development.

Mr. Robertson served in Asia for Alberta Agriculture and the Department of Industry, Trade and Commerce promoting agricultural products. This service helped expand Canadian trade of agricultural products in Asia.

Born to organize and lead, Bill Robertson spent time with future leaders in the seed growers’ organization before they became identified on the executive, traveling with them, providing advice and training based on his wealth of experience and broad background.

Nominated By:
  • Canadian Seed Growers' Association