The watchwords for his CPMA term will be education and communication, he said, particularly among growers, packers and retailers.
“Retailers have told me time and time again that we don’t ask what they want, we go in and try and sell them what we have,” Byttynen said.
“Yet the retailer has already spent thousands of dollars to find out what their customers want and what will bring them into their stores.
“We have to do the same thing in our world,” he said.
“Today’s smart farmers don’t just grow a product and try to sell it, they come in first and ask what you want. We work with them to figure out the best product to grow depending on the soil they have, package it under the right conditions and bring it to the marketplace.”
As he prepares to take on his new role in Montreal, Byttynen warns that he’s saving a hug for every delegate.
“I’m a big hugger,” he said. “I grew up in a Finnish family with a lot of aunts and every one of them used to smother me.”
As his wife Janet McMaster can attest: “It’s just my way of expression.”