2023 NAAB Distinguished Service Awardee

September 20, 2023



Madison, WI [September 14, 2023] – The National Association of Animal Breeders is pleased to announce Mr. Paul Larmer as the 2023 NAAB Distinguished Service awardee. When reflecting on Paul’s 42-year career, his contributions span the globe, influence so many and are immensely multi-faceted. This includes Paul’s impact on global cattle genetic improvement, his business leadership and vision, a positive voice for global agriculture, and a supporter of youth programs.


Paul graduated from the University of Guelph’s Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) with a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in 1981. This educational foundation provided Paul with the business acumen to become a worldwide respected leader in the agriculture and research industries. Upon graduation, he worked in the feed industry then initiated his career in the genetics industry in 1984 and began his first of many roles at United Breeders, Guelph, Ontario. In 1990, he was named Director of Marketing and was promoted to General Manager in 1995.


A successful leader and promoter of efficient change, Paul worked closely with the United Breeders Board of Directors and the Western Ontario Breeders to facilitate and oversee the merger and formation of Gencor (EastGen as it is known today) where he served as General Manager.


Paul was instrumental in the formation of the Semex Alliance in 1997 (an amalgamation of four farmer-owned cooperatives), which he joined as Senior Sales and Marketing Manager. In this role, Paul motivated and led his team to record sales and greatly contributed to Semex's status as a global leader in genetics worldwide. Paul has also led Sales and Business Development within North and South America as Director of the Americas for Alta Genetics Inc. before rejoining the Semex Alliance in 2007 as Chief Executive Officer.


As CEO of Semex Alliance, Paul introduced strategic planning with a global focus to the company’s owners with a commitment for sustainable growth. This change resulted in 15 consecutive years of sales and revenue growth while expanding Semex’s global footprint through strategic global investment in key growth markets.


Paul’s leadership and impact is felt by many. With sales to 80 diverse countries, Paul’s vision and challenge to “demand the best” has motivated his worldwide staff of 1,800 to record sales during his tenure as CEO. Since 2007, revenues for the company have grown from $60 million annually to $160 million in consolidated revenue in 2022. Despite unexpected market challenges and export barriers, Paul’s positive attitude and fortitude continually motivates sales and marketing teams to accomplish milestones they never thought possible. He lives and breathes the company’s mission, “We demand the best of ourselves, our company and what we do for our customers.”


At Semex, Paul is committed to innovation through research and development and is responsible for continuous investment year after year. He oversees and champions the company’s commitment to R&D projects and their commercial applications benefiting dairy and beef operations globally. Projects have included improved semen fertility, in vitro fertilization, genomic selection tools, immune genetic and sustainability traits, to name a few.


Paul’s involvement and commitment to agriculture and youth programs is shown with his involvement in his professional and volunteer contributions demonstrating leadership and vision. To name a few, Paul is the Past President of University of Guelph Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) Alumni Association dedicated to fostering life-long connections amongst alumni, and between alumni, OAC, and the University of Guelph. Paul serves as the Past President and Chair of the Board of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and is a past Vice-Chairman. He is a Former Member of the Board of Trustees and Silver Sponsor of the Ontario Dairy Youth Trust Fund, and he is a former Committee Member of Scotiabank Hays Classic   4-H Show, now known as the Canadian Classic 4-H.  Paul is a strong supporter of this exhibition with over 350 Canadian dairy youth competing.


Professional affiliations include the Canadian Livestock Genetics Association (CLGA), Canadian Association of Animal Breeders (CAAB), NAAB Manager’s Committee, the Canadian Dairy Network (CDN) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).


Paul and his wife Margaret have been married for 31 years and have resided in Guelph since attending University of Guelph. Margaret is also a graduate of the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in 1990. They are the proud parents of two daughters –Catherine, an Honors Kinesiology graduate from Western University and Hannah, a graduate of Queen’s University with a Bachelor of Arts degree specializing in Linguistics.


Congratulations to Paul Larmer – NAAB’s 2023 Distinguished Service awardee.