Get your boys out of the city and on to the farm! This was suggested to Paul & Sophie Pitura in 1904. They had met and married in Winnipeg after both emigrating from their native Poland. As most new Canadians from the Eastern European area did, they settled into the north end of Winnipeg. There they opened a grocery store which offered service and credit to the immigrants in the area. One friend started farming south of the city and told Paul that this was the place to be to raise his growing family. Keep the 3 boys working hard and out of trouble!
So in 1918 they moved to the Shanawan area (which is now called Domain) and started farming for R.W Woods, a Winnipeg grain trader. In 1920 he bought the farm from Woods. Carl Pitura was born on the farm in 1925 – a 4th son to help out! Over time Paul managed to expand the farm and establish all his boys with neighbouring farms of their own.
Carl started farming in 1948 and cleaning grain in 1950. He became a pedigree seed grower 65 years ago and had devoted much of his life to the improvement of seed production. He originally established a seed cleaning plant so he could retail his seed production to local farmers and add value to his business. His wife, Clara (Kosior) Pitura took an active role in the operation by being the secretary and book-keeper for the business. The farm expanded to 1200 acres under Carl & Clara’s stewardship. The seed business was changing too as customers were requesting more services and varieties of seed.
Pitura Seed Farms Ltd incorporated in 1974 and Pitura Seed Service Ltd in 1982. This was done to accommodate other family members becoming actively involved in the farming operation. Calvin started farming with his dad in the early 70s. He attended the University of Manitoba and graduated with his Bachelor of Agriculture degree in 1978. His wife, Barbara Strath-Pitura graduated with the same degree in 1977. They came home to farm with Carl & Clara right after graduation. With their involvement, the seed business expanded. In addition to handling all the pedigreed production from the farm operation, Pitura Seed Service offered a total seed package to its customers by providing a complete service – from procuring the seed, to cleaning and treating it, and finally to bagging or bulk handling the kind of seed the customer wants. Storage was added so customers could pick up their seed in spring when they were heading out to the field. Capacity of the seed cleaning plant was increased fourfold. So too did the land base expand. The 1200 acres that Calvin & Barbara started farming quickly grew to 4000 acres today. Along the way, they had 2 children – Sheena and Connor.
Calvin and Barbara continued to operate both Pitura Seed Farms & Pitura Seed Service after Calvin’s parents retired to Winnipeg. Calvin has been a pedigreed seed grower for over 40 years and was recently honoured by the Manitoba Seed Growers Association for his contributions to the seed industry in Manitoba. Barbara was the office manager, secretary and did the accounting for both companies.
Wheat was king on the prairies – and still is to a degree. But new crops were starting to take over and Pitura Seed Service stayed in the forefront of these changes. Soybeans found their way north into Canada and Calvin saw the benefits of this new crop in the Red River Valley. So he, along with other like-minded seed growers, formed a company called NorthStar Genetics Canada and actively processed and sold soybean seed into the Canadian market through Pitura Seed.
Wheat, oats, canola, and barley are still the most widely grown crops in the area. But no longer could the needs of our customers be met with our own production. So Pitura Seed aligned themselves with seed companies that was felt could supply excellent genetics for our customers. We also established a network of growers where we can contract seed production. With corn entering our market place, more change is about to take place.
Calvin & Barbara were so pleased when both Connor Pitura (their son) and Tom Greaves (son-in-law) joined the family business in 2013. Sheena (daughter) works in agriculture too, but with Canterra Seeds. We at Pitura Seed are excited that they have both joined our business – and that they choose to continue their career paths in a business that has great opportunity for growth and community benefit and that supports strong family values.
In 2017, Calvin & Barbara stepped back from the management of their companies and have passed this responsibility to Connor and Tom, taking different roles in the day-to-day operation. This allows for a smooth transfer of the farm and seed business to the next generation – and frees up more time for the senior shareholders to travel and play with their granddaughter!
Pitura Seeds is currently farming 4000 acres and is working with over 50 dedicated seed growers across Manitoba to produce wheat, barley, oats, soybeans, flax and pea seed. They continue to upgrade their seed plant and storage facilities to allow them to grow their processing capacities. They have a top tier Agronomy team and with their state of the art treating facilities are able to ensure they can serve their retail customers with the highest level of service possible.
Connor Pitura is the President and Farm Operations Manager of Pitura Seed Farms Ltd. Connor has worked on the farm since 2004 and obtained his Diploma in Agriculture from the University of Manitoba in 2012.
Tom Greaves is the President and General Manager of Pitura Seed Service Ltd. Tom most recently worked as Director of Operations for Manitoba Harvest, Hemp Food and Oils. He obtained his Diploma in Agriculture at the University of Manitoba in 2001. With many years of experience in the agriculture field, he has held roles in quality control and plant management for organizations such as The Puratone Corporation.
William Bunkowsky is the Seed Plant Production Manager. His personality and organizational skills have made him invaluable in the seed plant whether he is working with customers or the cleaners!
Jared Heide is the Shop Foreman, responsible for all the servicing and maintenance of equipment. His work ethic and attention to detail are greatly appreciated by the whole team.
Laird Lampertz is our Sales Agronomist. Laird graduated from the University of Manitoba in 2013 with his Bachelor Degree in Agriculture. His agronomy experience and knowledge is second to none. He is also one of the friendliest individuals that you will ever meet.
Thomas Cuddy is our Contract Production Agronomist. Thomas also graduated from the University of Manitoba in 2017 with his Bachelor Degree in Agriculture. Thomas manages all of our contract production acres.
Helena Niessen is our Yard and Facilities Assistant. There is nothing that Helena can’t do. She takes care of everything from keeping our yard looking beautiful to driving the grain cart during harvest and hauling wheat to the elevator.
Cory Bartmanovich is one of our Production Assistants. Cory joined us in 2016. He runs our seed plant along with many other duties around the yard.
Robbie Hamilton is also a Production Assistant. Robbie works in our seed plant and loves anything with 4 wheels.
Melissa Jones is our Office Administrator. She joined us in 2015 and manages all of the Seed Services financials and paperwork. She is also the first friendly face you see when you enter the Pitura Seeds office.
Dennis Pasieczka has been working either part or full time with Pitura Seeds for many years. He has recently “retired” from full time duty, but is still an essential part of the team come seeding and harvest.
To become the most trusted provider of seed and seed services in Western Canada.
We will accomplish this by:
- Accessing the most current and useful varieties that suit the regions we serve.
- Managing production of seed using the highest standards of growing and harvesting to ensure purity
- Industry leading quality control and highly efficient seed processing and treating.
- Establishing valued and long lasting relationships with customers, suppliers and employees based on mutual respect and benefit.