Lee Whittington

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Farmer, entrepreneur, swine industry specialist, business mentor. 

As President/CEO of Prairie Swine Centre (Saskatoon, SK) for 10 years (retired June 30, 2018), Lee was responsible for working with the Board of Directors and the management team to implement the corporation’s strategic plan. As CEO, Lee was responsible for overseeing the administration of a $4.0 M non-profit research corporation registered in Saskatchewan with 35 employees, while attracting funding from the pork industry across Canada. Additionally, he had direct oversite of the largest swine research herd in Canada, research programs in Nutrition, Engineering, Ethology and Management, a graduate student program and knowledge transfer and outreach to industry. Lee was first recruited at the inception of the Centre in 1996 to develop the industry funding and knowledge outreach programs as Manager of Technology Transfer.

During his 26-year career at Prairie Swine Centre, Lee’s primary focus has been developing communications and research outreach programs that allow the commercial pork industry to adopt new technology and management procedures quickly, thus improving their ability to maximize net income and address sustainability issues. Lee developed several unique programs including a novel industry research funding model, one of the early industry websites and databases of information (1994), research and demonstration projects on commercial farms in Canada, development of an Enterprise Financial Model jointly with George Morris Centre, developed the Pork Interpretive Gallery including fundraising $1M and building a national committee to develop an interactive science centre on the pork industry, and most recently created the NSERC Industrial Chair in Swine Welfare (the largest number of industry supporters of any Chair in the history of the federal program).  

Previously Lee was employed as the swine specialist/nutritionist for ShurGain Feeds in Ontario for 13 years. In this position he was responsible for managing and training feeding/sales specialists, responsible for all feed and animal health sales to the pork industry in Ontario, nutrition oversite of five company-owned feed mills, participate on national swine research team, and development of new products and associated sales/marketing activities.

Lee and his wife Grace manage a Saskatoon berry farm (Riverbend Plantation Gourmet Foods) which has grown into speciality food production, wholesale and retail food business with sales of a variety of jams, jellies and chocolates. In 1999 they opened a café at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market which is undergoing a major growth phase expanding to a 50-seat Bakery&Café to be known as HomeQuarter, located in the Riversdale area of Saskatoon. Additionally, the family owns and manages commercial real estate properties. 

Since 1996 Lee has been involved with the Raj Manek Mentorship Program, first as a protégé to help build the new Riverbend Plantation Gourmet Foods venture and later as a mentor several to new businesses and member of the Advisory Board.

Awards and Honors 

  • Industry Leadership Award, Alberta Pork Congress, 2010
  • Honour Role, Canadian Agri-Marketing Association, 2009
  • Award of Excellence for Agricultural Awareness and Education, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 2006
  • Animal Industries Award in Extension and Public Service, the Canadian Society of Animal Science, 2005
  • Stewardship Award in Education, Manitoba Pork Council, 2004