2021 Feed Industry Leadership Award Recipient

David Buttenham

Born and raised on a farm outside of Rockwood, Ontario, Dave received a geography degree from the University of Waterloo and worked in the mining sector and as a police officer before joining the Ontario Grain & Feed Dealers Association in 1984. In 1994, Dave was named Executive Director of the Ontario Grain & Feed Association and was involved in the merger of the Canadian Feed Industry Association Ontario Division and the OGFA Feed Committee. During the 1990s Dave played a leadership role in the merger of the Grain & Feed Association and the Fertilizer Institute of Ontario to form the Ontario Agri Business Association, which was established in 2000 with Dave as the CEO until 2020.

During his 36 years with OGFA/OABA, Dave Buttenham played a leadership role on key issues in the feed industry at both provincial and federal levels. Some highlights of his career include:

  • promoting the importance of a health and safety culture in the feed industry which led to the creation of a Safety Network for OABA members;
  • initiating the development of an economic impact analysis that calculated the economic output generated by the feed, grain and crop input sectors and showing the value these industries provide to government and the public;
  • establishing the OABA Mentoring Program, geared to provide ‘younger’ staff of OABA members a broader appreciation of the different forces impacting agri business;
  • building extensive stakeholder relationships that benefitted the feed industry and ensured that the feed industry was at the table with food processors and other businesses to discuss environmental issues which led to the development of the Ontario Food Industry Environmental Coalition;
  • working with Municipal Property Assessment on land and facility classifications to create cost savings for many organizations within the industry;
  • working to improve industry/producer relations and providing leadership in coordinating groups on issues including the 2008 hog market crisis; and
  • collaborating with producer groups and industry stakeholders on a number of issues such as environmental stewardship, antibiotic resistance and regulatory challenges.

Dave was viewed as an industry leader and a developer of solutions by government officials. His years of experience and institutional knowledge was an invaluable asset for OABA members who would contact Dave with questions on topics ranging from regulatory requirements to business operations.

Dave’s impact is summarized in the words of one of his colleagues in the OABA Feed Section: “Dave’s depth of knowledge, his passion for the industry, and his unique ability to scan the horizon and ‘foresee’ potential impacts to member firms from proposed regulatory or operational changes has made him a valuable leader and advocate for the Grain, Feed and Crop Input sectors. He has left a legacy of professionalism, reasonability and integrity.”