Gilbert has been farming for about 40 years having produced grain and oil seeds including barley, canola, wheat and oats. The farm is a family operation with his wife, Monica, and son, Nicolas.
Gilbert obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from the University of Saskatchewan and has a deep commitment to rural Saskatchewan as demonstrated by his volunteer and community involvement. He has been the Mayor of the village of Zenon Park, a past member of the board of directors of the local Co-Op Dehydration Plant, a former secretary-treasurer of the Zenon Park Parish council and has also held various school board related positions including School Board Trustee and Vice-Chair of the Provincial Board of Francophone schools. This experience has enabled Gilbert to work with a cross section of the public to develop consensus on critical issues.
When asked which issues are important to him with regards to the Saskatchewan Barley industry he replies: “We grow malt, but the system lacks transparency. We need a level playing field where true grades are accepted with an effective dispute resolution mechanism. I support public investment on plant breeding and research. Levies collected by the Barley Commission are not enough to advance the research required. I support levy payer ownership and control of research and plant development. If we farmers, through levies paid, have invested in varietal research we ought to have some level of ownership of the varieties developed. I support active collaboration with other provincial barley groups: Alberta Barley Commission and the Manitoba Wheat and Barley Association and other grain sector commissions and associations. I support efforts to market barley as a food crop – good for the consumer. A priority must be placed on the rail transportation review with special attention to the ‘producer coalition’ recommendations.”
Gilbert’s goals as a director are to support the SaskBarley’s efforts to be accountable for levy payer dollars, to advance barley research and to engage a marketing strategy to profile the benefits of barley. Gilbert adds, “Farmers’ interests come first. To represent barley producers who are funding the Commission is my first priority. If a policy or decision does not meet the test of putting money in the farmers’ pocket, I will not give my support to that policy, position or decision.”