Neil Jahnke died Monday at age 70. (CBC)

Neil Jahnke, one of Saskatchewan's best known cattle producers, has died.

Jahnke, who was 70, passed away Monday at his ranch near Gouldtown, north of Herbert, in the Swift Current area.

He was a major player in Canada's cattle industry and was a leader in the National Cattlemen's Association.

Jahnke led a major initiative to expand beef sales to the Pacific rim.

He also guided the industry through the worst of the BSE crisis that nearly crippled beef production.

Brad Wildeman worked alongside Jahnke during the beef crisis.

"I know even in darkest days of BSE ... he always said 'Look, this will pass and our industry will still be here when this is over,'" Wildeman recalled.

Wildeman also remembered Jahnke as a man with an open mind, who wasn't afraid to express an opinion.

"He wanted to hear the other side and he wanted to hear what the issues were and had a fair amount of patience," Wildeman told CBC News Tuesday. "But when the time came to speak his mind, I think when he was done everybody knew where he stood."

In 2001 Jahnke was awarded the Saskatchewan Order of Merit.