Gibbings, Charles William (1916-)

Charles Gibbings receiving honorary Doctor of Laws, spring 1971.
University of Regina Archives and Special Collections 84-11-305

Charles Gibbings was born on a farm near Rosetown on August 10, 1916. After earning a BSc in Agriculture at the University of Saskatchewan, Gibbings taught for the School of Agriculture there and conducted youth training programs across the province, all the while continuing to farm. In 1946 he became a delegate to the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, and in 1960 became its first Saskatchewan-born president. In that capacity Gibbings hired its first general manager and reinforced the management team by hiring employees who had been trained in accounting and other management skills. The Farm Service Division, which dealt with production supplies and services, was added, and agrologists were hired to work directly with farmers - an innovation in the grain elevator business. Gibbings worked hard to knit the four prairie grain elevator co-operatives into one: it was his view that the Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba Wheat Pools and the United Grain Growers should amalgamate to better serve prairie farmers. He did not succeed in this endeavour, but there is evidence of some collaboration: all four organizations became members of X-CAN Grain Limited, a company established to market grains not covered under the Canadian Wheat Board; furthermore, the Pools joined with Federated Co-operatives in the manufacture and supply of fertilizers and agricultural chemicals.

Gibbings advised Canadian delegations involved in negotiating terms of international agricultural trade. He served as a commissioner on the Saskatchewan Royal Commission on Agriculture and Rural Life, and was a member of the University of Saskatchewan Senate. He was president of Co-operative Fire and Casualty, and served on the boards of the Regina Exhibition and Saskatchewan Research Council. He was also chairman of the Advisory Committee to the Canadian Wheat Board. Gibbings left his position as Pool president in 1969 to become a commissioner of the Canadian Wheat Board; in this role he travelled the world helping negotiate sales of prairie grains. Among the many honours he received was the Canada Centennial Medal in 1967. He was also named a Fellow of the Agricultural Institute of Canada in 1967, and awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by the University of Saskatchewan in 1971. He was inducted into the Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1986.

J.G. Braidek