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The Canadian Agri-Marketing Association (CAMA) has named Art Stirling the 2001 Agri-Marketer of the Year. Stirling is the government and industry relations manager for Pioneer Hi-Bred Limited, Chatham, Ontario. At Pioneer, he serves as the chief liaison between the company and key government departments, regulatory agencies, trade organizations and industry groups.

Marketing innovation, leadership skills and a strong commitment to the ag community has gained Stirling much recognition at Pioneer and throughout the agri-food and biotechnology industries. He has led award-winning campaigns for Pioneer, and has been an integral part in encouraging consumer acceptance of biotechnology and advancing the knowledge of modern agriculture.


Stirling has fashioned his entire career at Pioneer, joining the company as advertising coordinator in 1985. Progressively, he took on more responsibility and in 1991, Stirling was promoted to communication manager with overall responsibility for all Pioneer marketing programs and operations.

Under his direction, Pioneer took on a broad-based marketing approach that helped Pioneer attain 70 percent peak market share in the seed corn market. Stirling's other accomplishments include:

- Helping Pioneer introduce new technologies such as Bt corn and herbicide resistant soybeans to the Canadian marketplace.

- Developing and implementing Pioneer's year-long 50th year in Canada anniversary celebration.

- Managing the marketing and communications needs of Pioneer in Wisconsin for four years, during which time the company's seed sales and market share grew.

- Emphasizing the importance of "made in Canada" marketing solutions that reflect the needs of the Canadian marketplace.

Overall, Stirling has helped attain and maintain the dominant position that Pioneer holds in the market. His endless efforts also have enhanced consumer understanding and acceptance of new agricultural technologies, and have sparked a more balanced and science-based debate among stakeholders.


As the focus of the industry has changed from primary agriculture, to agri-food, to life science, Stirling's focus has changed with it. Always looking forward, he continues to advocate for ideas and innovations that will benefit not only Pioneer Hi-Bred, but the agri-food industry as a whole.

Stirling represents both Pioneer Hi-Bred and its parent company, DuPont, on the boards of directors of BIOTECanada, the Food Biotechnology Communications Network, and the Canadian Food Information Council. In 2000, he was instrumental in the launch of the Council for Biotechnology Information in Canada - a multi-million dollar public information program focused on improving understanding and acceptance of agricultural biotechnology - and currently serves as chair of its steering committee. In 2001, BIOTECanada recognized Stirling with its Contribution to the Canadian Biotechnology Industry Award.

Stirling has lent his time and talents to many initiatives and projects that benefit the agriculture industry at large. Students Promoting Awareness of Research Knowledge (SPARK) is a unique program at the University of Guelph, which he has supported with his leadership and finances.

Another example has been Stirling's role as the driving force behind a plan to establish a training centre for agricultural communications at the University of Guelph. He helped develop a vision, mission and initial business plan for the Canadian Centre for Agricultural Communications, which is expected to launch in 2003.

In 2001, he initiated a project recognizing the role of Canadian producers in preserving and enhancing the quality of the environment on their farming operations. Through a series of advertorials placed in Better Farming magazine and a dedicated Web site, Pioneer Hi-Bred salutes the industry's proactive leadership and highlights its efforts to use effective resource management practices.

Stirling also developed and produced Canada's first live call-in radio program for the agricultural community. Agronomy Talk first aired in 1998 on the Ontario AgRadio Network. The bi-monthly show featured a panel of experts, who answered calls from Ontario crop and livestock farmers.

On top of being an innovative marketer, unparalleled communicator, and dedicated contributor to the agri-food industry, Stirling is an active participant and leader in several diverse organizations including the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program, Canadian Farm Writers' Federation and CAMA. AM

Sponsor of Agri-Marketer of the Year: Cormark Communications Inc.

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