Seed World

For Limagrain’s Tatiana Henry, the Invasion of Ukraine Literally Hits Home

The main square of Drohobeach, with Tatiana Henry's children sitting on the bench. Photo courtesy Tatiana Henry

For Tatiana Henry, the Russian invasion of Ukraine hits as close to home as possible. The CEO of Limagrain Cereal Seeds and Limagrain Cereals Research Canada was born in the small mountain town of Drohobeach near the Polish border in 1976, and many of her friends and family are still in Ukraine as Russia continues its assault.

Henry is no stranger to Russian state aggression against Ukraine; in 2014, she found herself and her team at Europe’s Limagrain Field Seeds caught in perhaps the most challenging situation they had ever faced. After a ceasefire between Russians and Ukrainians in the Donbas region of Ukraine collapsed, an armed conflict began that sent the region into upheaval.

At the time, Henry led a team charged with the task of ensuring growers had access to field seeds and was in charge of two teams that worked side-by-side, Russians and Ukrainians. When the conflict began, they could no longer be in regular contact. Seeing one another in person was out of the question. Direct flights between the two regions were cancelled.

“It was so hard, but despite everything, we were very successful. We managed to supply seed for all our territories, even those affected by the military conflict. Our people delivered the seed even as the conflict was raging,” Henry told Seed World Group in a 2020 interview.

Fast-forward to today, and she has spent the past several weeks watching the invasion unfold from her home in Fort Collins, Colorado. When the invasion began back in late February, her mother had been visiting from Ukraine. She decided to stay in Fort Collins, where she remains. Henry says it’s heartbreaking to see what’s happening to Ukraine but is encouraged by the outpouring of support from around the world.

Tatiana Henry is CEO of Limagrain Cereals Research Canada and Limagrain Cereal Seeds. PHOTO: Patrick Edmiston/

“I still can’t believe this is happening. Life changed for everyone in Ukraine literally overnight. It’s hard to know what to do or how to handle this. All you can do is clearly say that this is not acceptable and you’re not OK with what is going on. So many around the world have done that, and it’s comforting to see,” she says.

At the same time, Henry says many are not completely surprised by what is happening in Ukraine.

“I think over the last seven years or so, many were preparing themselves mentally for something like this. When you look at history, the Russian nation really started in Kiev, in what is now Ukraine. Kiev has really been a cultural epicentre for so long. It’s a holy place. That’s what makes it so attractive to Vladimir Putin, but it’s also what makes the Ukrainian people so strong,” she says.

“I’ve really been impressed by the courage and solidarity inside of the country as well as the huge dedication and help shown by the people of Poland and surrounding nations — they are awesome.”

For more on this topic:

Russian Invasion Could Cut Ukraine Planted Acres in Half

G7 Ag Ministers Condemn Russian Aggression, Call for Food Security in Ukraine to be Protected

The International Seed Federation is Urging the Private Sector to Help Ensure the Supply of Seed to Ukraine

Seed World Group: Standing with Ukraine