The international grain trade is a world of giant companies making multi-million dollar deals moving thousands of tonnes of grain in ships larger than most prairie towns.  Under the tutelage and care of its staff the Canadian Wheat Board carved out a unique market niche in the world grain trade which made western Canadian grain farmers amongst the most secure on the planet.

The credit for this achievement must go to the dedicated staff at the CWB and one of its most talented architects has just passed away at the untimely age of 64.  William Spafford was the CWB’s chief grain trader.  He rose through the ranks in his 35-year career with the Board and was there at many historic moments.  Bill’s leadership helped to consolidate western Canada’s reputation for integrity and honesty in a world grain trade where such qualities are in short supply.

Bill’s knowledge was essential for winning many trade disputes before international tribunals for the CWB and the western grain farmers it served.  In spite of a heavy work load and dauntingly complex responsibilities Bill always made time to answer questions from interested farmers and others in the community.  Even after his retirement Bill continued to share his knowledge and supported the grain farmers of the west.

Most farmers, this one included, tend to focus on the trees rather than the forest.  Bill never lost sight of the bigger picture and western Canadian grain farmers have lost a good friend and strong champion who helped to build a better western Canada.

A memorial service will be held June 18, 2013 in Winnipeg.

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