Cleanfarms’s Barry Friesen wins stewardship award

The agricultural plant science industry has recognized Barry Friesen, executive director of Cleanfarms, for his long-standing dedication and commitment to agricultural stewardship, helping farmers across Canada manage farm plastic materials when they are no longer needed.

Barry Friesen, executive director of Cleanfarms (on the left), accepts the Cam Davreux Stewardship Award from CropLife Canada’s president and CEO, Pierre Petelle.

The agricultural stewardship program allows farmers to recycle various types of plastics such as empty pesticide and fertilizer containers, bale wrap, silage tarps, grain bags and baler twine.

CropLife Canada presented the Cam Davreux Stewardship Award to Friesen at an awards ceremony that took place in Ottawa, Ontario.

In his presentation remarks, CropLife Canada’s president and CEO, Pierre Petelle, noted that Friesen’s work in agricultural stewardship began when he took on the role of leading Cleanfarms more than a decade ago, when CropLife separated its empty pesticide container recycling and obsolete pesticide collection initiatives into a stand-alone stewardship organization.

“Barry has been relentless in his efforts to increase participation in ag recycling programs and to help Canadian agriculture become more sustainable as it works towards a zero-plastic-waste strategy. He has taken ag recycling to new heights by expanding collection to include other agricultural waste products such as grain bags, totes, twine and bale wrap,” Petelle said.

Friesen said being presented with this particular award was a highlight in his career.

“Cam Davreux was a pioneer in agricultural stewardship. He was instrumental in transforming the plant science’s vision to recover agricultural packaging for recycling to reality. He also laid the groundwork to recover old, obsolete pesticides for proper disposal management. His early work opened the door for Cleanfarms to expand the range of materials we collect for recycling and for proper disposal management today. Cleanfarms has developed into a world recognized ag stewardship organization that offers Canadian farmers sustainable options for managing farm-based packaging and ag products. I am exceptionally proud to receive this award created to celebrate Cam Davreux’s achievements,” Friesen said.

Friesen’s career spans decades in leading public and private sector positions that have focused on establishing and improving the recovery and diversion of packaging, paper and resource materials for recycling instead of disposal in landfill.

Before becoming executive director of Cleanfarms, he was the regional vice-president of Product Care Association where he helped establish Ontario’s Municipal Hazardous and Special Waste Program. Earlier Friesen was director of waste services for the Region of Niagara in Ontario; and, resource manager, solid waste, for Nova Scotia’s Department of Waste, where he launched the province’s solid waste-resource management strategy.

He is a professional engineer and holds a degree in mechanical engineering from the Technical University of Nova Scotia.

Cleanfarms is funded by its members in the crop protection, seed, fertilizer, animal health medication, ag plastics industries. Through a network of more than 1,500 recycling collection sites across Canada, Cleanfarms’ recycling programs enable farmers to keep valuable resource materials out of landfill and the environment, and reinvested in the circular economy. Cleanfarms has staff located in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec.