Seed World

Former FCDC Staff Receive New Employment Contracts From Western Crop Innovations as Transition Plan Moves Forward

The staff of the the former Field Crop Development Centre poses for a photo as last year's AgSmart Event, where FCDC held its annual field day event. Photo: Marc Zienkiewicz

Western Crop Innovations (WCI) has announced that its employees will receive new employment contracts from WCI as it further implements its transition plan. Interim board chair Jason Lenz said WCI will retain all existing positions except for the former program director role at the Field Crop Development Centre (FCDC), which has been eliminated. The position was held by Kofi Agblor.

“We’ve been working with Olds College on ensuring a smooth transition of services, managing leases, research contracts, and a lot more. Despite the lengthy list of tasks, we’re making good progress,” Lenz says.

The transition away from Olds College and the transferring of assets from the Field Crop Development Centre to WCI’s Lacombe offices and research farm is to be completed by July 1, Lenz added.

He said WCI will be developing a new collaborative agreement with Olds College and other post-secondary institutions.

“We’re adhering to the plan developed by the interim board in collaboration with Olds College and Alberta Agriculture and Irrigation. Everything is on track and falling into place, which is encouraging,” says interim executive director Mark Olson.

Olson added that eliminating the program director position was a difficult decision, but a necessary one considering the new structure of WCI as an organization.

“My main objective is to establish the business in a way that ensures its sustainability and success. I’m receiving excellent cooperation from the staff and the board, along with encouraging feedback from external stakeholders,” Olson adds.

“Our next phase, starting in June once seeding is completed, is to engage in individual discussions with our partners and stakeholders. These conversations will focus on how we can collaborate to ensure the success of WCI and to develop new initiatives and projects.”

After serving as managing director of the Crop Development Centre at the University of Saskatchewan from 2012-2019, Agblor moved to the FCDC in 2022 after it came under the umbrella of Olds College.

“As WCI moves forward, everyone who comes to the table will have to have a good understanding of how to craft a holistic vision that emphasizes the facility’s strong points and can position it for the future,” Agblor said in a recent interview.

“Thankfully, WCI has a terrific staff that understands how to do this and who will help everyone at that table navigate the road ahead.”

Since announcing that the FCDC has been rebranded as WCI (a non-profit formed to take on the transition and guide the facility into the future), WCI is currently looking ahead to planning its field day as part of AgSmart, a partnership that started last year with great success when the FCDC Field Day combined with AgSmart for the first time.

WCI is expected to unveil its new branding soon in addition to making other announcements.