March 27, 2017, Winnipeg, Man – Keith Kuhl, outgoing president of the Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC), recently presented Gary Linkletter with the 2017 Doug Connery Award for leadership excellence during CHC’s annual general meeting in Winnipeg, Man.

Linkletter is a seventh-generation potato farmer from Prince Edward Island who has been advocating for the potato industry at a national level for many years. He provided important grassroots feedback on the fresh pack industry as CHC worked with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency on harmonizing packaging and grade regulations with the U.S. He was also involved in the committee looking at harmonization of maximum residue limits (MRLs) for potato crop protectants between Canada and the U.S.

Linkletter has been a dedicated and active committee participant and has contributed to making regulations for the Canadian horticultural industry more effective. He has participated in Canada-U.S. Potato Committee meetings for several years, and his calm and knowledgeable perspective is well respected by grower and industry representatives on both sides of the border.

The Doug Connery award was created in 2012 in honour of the late Doug Connery, a past president and driving force behind CHC who suffered an untimely passing in 2011. CHC was honoured that Paulette Connery, Doug’s widow, was in the audience and helped to present the award that bears his name.
March 27, 2017, Churchbridge, Sask – Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers’ (OYF) program is once again offering two $1,000 scholarships to Canadian agriculture students. Applications for the 2017 awards will be accepted until June 30, 2017.

The OYF Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to one individual entering post-secondary education from high school, and one individual who has already completed at least one year of post-secondary study. Applicants must be pursuing a diploma or degree in agriculture.

The late Martin Streef, OYF alumnus, established this scholarship program to help future generations of Canadians pursue their passion for agriculture. Streef was the 1997 winner of both Ontario’s and Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers and president of Streef Produce Ltd, a family-run fresh fruit and vegetable business in Woodstock, Ontario.

Scholarship application forms are available here.

Celebrating 37 years, Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers’ program is an annual competition to recognize farmers that exemplify excellence in their profession and promote the tremendous contribution of agriculture. Open to participants 18 to 39 years of age, making the majority of income from on-farm sources, participants are selected from seven regions across Canada, with two national winners chosen each year. The program is sponsored nationally by CIBC, John Deere, Bayer, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through Growing Forward 2, a federal, provincial and territorial initiative. The national media sponsor is Annex Business Media, and the program is supported nationally by AdFarm, BDO and Farm Management Canada.
March 3, 2017, London, Ont – Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Jeff Leal, has appointed Elmer Buchanan, a farmer and former provincial ag minister, as trustee of the Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers’ (OPVG) board.

“I have been closely monitoring the 2017 contract negotiations between Ontario's tomato growers and processors and was recently informed by growers, processors and the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission (OFPMC) that negotiations have reached an impasse, jeopardizing this year's crop season,” Leal said in a written public statement. “Risking this year's tomato crop, and the thousands of jobs that support it, is something I am not prepared to do.”

According to Minister Leal, Buchanan will temporarily assume the powers of the OPVG board to negotiate 2017 contracts, until elections for a new OPVG board can be held, preferably before Dec. 31, 2017.

In a letter to the OPVG board dated March 3, 2017, OMAFRA Deputy Minister Greg Meredith explained that the government of Ontario was forced to take immediate action by making a regulation under the Farm Products Marketing Act.

“This regulation is now in force and has the effect of terminating the terms of office of the members of OPVG holding office immediately before the regulation came into force and terminating the terms of office of the members of each district vegetable growers’ committee holding office immediately before the regulation came into force,” Meredith stated in the letter addressed to "Negotiating Agency Members."

“This was a difficult decision to make; however it was felt that action was needed to respond to what the government had heard from the OPVG itself, the [OFPMC] and industry stakeholders about the deteriorating state of negotiations and the need to ensure that negotiations continue so that contracts are in place for the 2017 processing vegetable crop.”

The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Processors’ Association (OFVPA) sent out a press release March 3, 2017, supporting the provincial government’s announcement.

“Working with our grower partners, we believe there is an excellent opportunity for improvement that will benefit the whole value chain,” said Steve Lamoure, president of the OFVPA. “We look forward to working jointly with the OPVG, their appointed trustee, and our grower partners in putting together the details of this progressive move.”
January 13, 2017, Toronto, Ont – Former Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (OFVGA) chair Brenda Lammens has been named the 2017 recipient of the organization’s Industry Award of Merit.
December 16, 2016, Ottawa, Ont – The annual general meeting of CanAgPlus, the corporation that owns and operates the CanadaGAP Program, was held Dec. 8, 2016, in Ottawa.

Members considered a number of resolutions submitted by the membership. One resolution was referred to the board of directors for further discussion and a report back to the 2017 AGM. Three resolutions were voted on and defeated.

CanadaGAP program participants elected four new directors to the CanAgPlus board:

The new board of directors met subsequent to the AGM and reappointed Jack Bates to the chair and Hugh Bowman as vice-chair.

"We're pleased to be working with a strong group of directors who have solid experience with the CanadaGAP program," stated Bates. "The board is made up of a good cross-section of representatives from various sectors of the industry."

Newly elected board members will serve a two-year term for 2017 and 2018.

The annual report presentation and copies of the report are available at:

Farm Credit Canada, the Grape Growers of Ontario and the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival are pleased to announce that Jamie Quai of Quai du Vin Estate Winery in St. Thomas, Ont., is the 2016 Grape King.

September 12, 2016, Guelph, Ont – Ontario’s two berry grower organizations are proposing to join forces and create one new organization.

The Ontario Berry Growers’ Association and the Ontario Highbush Blueberry Growers’ Association have received agreement from the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission (OFPMC) for conducting an expression of opinion vote among all eligible growers of blueberries, raspberries and strawberries in Ontario. Berry Growers of Ontario is the new name proposed.

“We’re planning Berry Growers of Ontario in order to help us growers earn better returns,” explained Jenn VanDeVelde, a berry grower and current director of the OBGA. “There are so many issues facing growers today that require a strengthened organization to effectively address on growers’ behalf.”

“The new organization will give us the structure and authorities we need to better serve growers,” stated Steve Kustermans, a blueberry grower and current chairperson for the Ontario Highbush Blueberry Growers’ Association. “A unified voice for all berry growers will enable us to better get government’s attention and resources to support our sector.”

The new organization is not seeking any authorities related to pricing or control of supply. It will be directing its efforts towards marketing and promotion, research and grower advocacy.

“Our budget will be lean and modest,” said VanDeVelde, “and will ensure that growers of each crop receive a fair allocation of resources towards that crop leading to more research, promotion and crop protection for every crop that we represent.”

The proposed board of directors of nine will be comprised of three growers of each of the three crops.

If growers vote in support of the proposal and subsequently the establishment of a new board is supported by the OFPMC and ultimately the Ontario Government, one of the key differences between Berry Growers of Ontario and the two existing organizations is that membership in the new organization will be mandatory rather than voluntary. Mandatory membership means that every grower of two or more acres of any combination of the three crops will be required to pay membership fees each year based on the number of bearing acres in production. This structure provides a fair and transparent way to fund the activities of the organization.

The OFPMC expects to conduct the vote in late October and early November. Producers must be entered in the OFPMC’s database in order to receive a mailed ballot. Growers that do not currently belong to one of the two existing organizations need to inform the FPMC analyst, Laurinda Lang, right away so that they receive a ballot. Laurinda can be reached during business hours by calling (519) 826-3242.

More information is available in the growers and members section of the OBGA website at

June 22, 2016, Ottawa, Ont – CanadaGAP is now accepting nominations for candidates to serve on the board of directors for CanAgPlus, the corporation that owns and operates the CanadaGAP program.

CanAgPlus relies on volunteer leaders to guide decision making and oversee management of CanadaGAP. Participation on the board of directors affords volunteer leaders the opportunity for personal growth and satisfaction in moving the program forward and improving food safety in the fresh produce industry.

CanAgPlus directors are elected by members (i.e., those who are enrolled in the CanadaGAP program) at the annual general meeting, which will take place on December 8, 2016 in Ottawa, Ontario. See for further information.

CanAgPlus is currently seeking nominations for four directors to the board, constituted as follows:

  • Two directors who must be approved by the Canadian Horticulture Council (CHC); approval by CHC typically occurs after the CanAgPlus AGM once directors have been elected by members
  • One director who must be approved by the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA); approval by CPMA typically occurs after the CanAgPlus AGM once directors have been elected by members
  • One director who must be elected by members of CanAgPlus at its AGM

CanAgPlus will be responsible for submitting names to CHC and CPMA for approval, where necessary.

A recommended slate of nominees will be prepared in advance of the AGM for circulation to members, and presented for vote on December 8, 2016. In accordance with provisions in the corporate by-law, and subject to applicable rules of order during meetings of members, nominations may also be made by ordinary resolution at the AGM.

Candidates are expected to have a strong interest in the delivery, integrity and objectives of the CanadaGAP program. Criteria for service on the Board of Directors includes:

  • Exhibit ability communicate interpersonally, provide facilitative leadership, and enforce group discipline on board processes
  • Strong understanding and experience with the appropriate roles, group processes and corporate bylaws and policies that form systems of corporate governance
  • Demonstrated judgment and integrity in an oversight role

Consideration will be given to volunteers with experience serving on a not-for-profit board or governance committee or senior level experience working with other boards. Experience and skills in the following areas will be considered assets:

  • Good working knowledge of CanadaGAP – its functioning, goals, evolution, etc.
  • Familiarity with administrative and management processes, rather than technical knowledge
  • Personnel management experience
  • Financial management experience
  • Knowledge of international food safety context

Directors need not be CanadaGAP program participants.

Directors will serve a two-year term. The board meets twice a year in person, and holds conference calls as needed.

Those interested in serving on the board of directors must complete and submit the application form by August 31, 2016. Self-nominations are acceptable.

If you are not a member of CanAgPlus but interested in serving on the board, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 613-829-4711 206 to obtain a copy of the organization’s general operating by-law.

Visit or call 613- 829-4711 for further information about CanadaGAP and its governance.

February 1, 2016, Kelowna, BC – After being re-elected as president of the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association, Fred Steele is not missing a beat in getting to work for the local agriculture industry.

Steele plans to continue his work with the BCFGA, pushing for an agriculture replant program among other priorities. READ MORE

February 1, 2016, Kelowna, BC – The B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association doesn’t want to see the genetically modified Arctic apple on grocery store shelves in Canada.

The group passed a resolution at its annual general meeting in Kelowna to ask the Canadian government to de-register the product. READ MORE

December 15, 2015, Ottawa, Ont – CanAgPlus, the corporation that owns and operates the CanadaGAP program, held its annual general meeting recently, electing four new directors to the CanAgPlus board.

New directors include:

"We welcome new and returning directors to the CanAgPlus board," stated Jack Bates, current chair. "We look forward to working together to serve our members and to advance the CanadaGAP program."

Newly elected board members will serve a two-year term for 2016-2017.

July 28, 2015, Calgary, Alta – Peter Smolarz, fine wine director at Calgary’s Willow Park Wines & Spirits, has been selected to compete at the upcoming La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs International Jeunes Sommeliers Competition to be held in Adelaide, Australia on September 25, 2015.

Smolarz currently manages Willow Park’s Bordeaux Futures Program; hosts events in wine, spirits & beer; conducts level 1 & 2 WSET education courses; and hosts tours in wine regions around the world. Prior to that, he was cellar master at Ranahans Members Restaurant in Calgary, providing Sommelier service, organizing the wine list, and training staff in wine and table service. He has also served “on the front lines” in all areas of the winery industry, travelling across the globe to places such as California, Washington, Argentina, Chile, Italy, Belgium, Australia and France to further his understanding in the methodology of wine production. In 2006, he worked the harvest in Chianti Classico, Tuscany, gaining hands-on experience at Tolaini Estate Winery – including harvesting grapes, testing maturation on vine, inoculation of yeast, handling push downs and pump overs during the wine making process, and even cleaning the winery.

Now entering his tenth year in the wine industry, Smolarz has an extensive educational background including his WSET Level 3 Advanced Certificate; WSET Approved Programme Provider Level 1 & 2; Court of Master Sommeliers Level; French AOC certificate with Chateau Magnol and Spanish DO certificate with Marquis de Riscal.

The Chaîne des Rôtisseurs is an international gastronomic society devoted to promoting fine dining and preserving the camaraderie and pleasures of the table. The society has both non-professional “gastronome” and culinary professional members in more than 75 countries around the world.

The International Jeunes Sommeliers Competition, open to young professionals who have a pronounced interest and knowledge of wine and crafted beverages between the ages of 21 and 30, is hosted each year by La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs. Competitors from around the world are chosen through selection competitions held in their respective countries. Each competitor is tested in three areas: theory, service and blind tasting.

“The steady composure that comes with self-confidence in the face of competitive situations can only happen when specialized knowledge is buttressed by passion and a love for the subject,” said Joseph Girard, chairman of the Jeunes Sommeliers Competition committee. “One of the most revealing aspects about the Jeunes Sommelier Competition was the dedication and skill that emanated from these contestants and witnessing how these young men and women displayed grace under pressure.”

July 27, 2015, Ottawa, Ont – The Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) and the Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC) applaud the commitment made recently by NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair to introduce payment protection for produce farmers and sellers, similar to the trust protection offered by the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) in the United States.

“The produce industry is grateful for the NDP’s leadership to resolve this long-standing issue and trade irritant,” said CPMA president Ron Lemaire.

“This commitment demonstrates they understand the risks that fresh fruit and vegetable sellers face and the importance of ensuring strong, equitable financial protection tools.”

The lack of payment protection in Canada is the number one issue for fresh fruit and vegetable growers and sellers across Canada for the upcoming Federal Election. The industry has long advocated for a PACA-like trust in Canada. The highly perishable nature of fresh produce makes the industry uniquely vulnerable during bankruptcies, risking financial ruin for those affected. The situation became more urgent when the U.S. revoked Canada’s preferential access to PACA protections on October 1, 2014, making exporting a much riskier enterprise for Canadian companies, who currently send 40 per cent of all produce grown in Canada to the U.S.

Produce sellers in the U.S. have PACA, which ensures that growers and sellers are paid should a buyer go bankrupt or simply refuse to pay for the product they receive. The U.S. revoked Canada’s special access due to its lack of similar trust protection and the lack of progress in fulfilling the Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) commitment to establishing a comparable approach in Canada. Since October 1, Canadian companies trying to recover unpaid bills have had to post a bond of double the value of their claim to use PACA. Many cannot afford this and simply have to walk away from what they are owed, a decision several have already had to make even through winter with few Canadian shipments. As summer passes, the industry expects to see a much larger impact.

Further details on the plan can be found at

CPMA and CHC are very pleased to see the NDP moving the issue forward and welcome other parties to show their support of Canada’s produce industry by making this issue a priority in their platforms.

“Canada’s produce industry has had to deal with a lack of a deemed trust in Canada for far too long,” said CHC executive vice-president Anne Fowlie. “We applaud the NDP for being the first party to commit to financial protection for produce growers and sellers.”

April 24, 2015, Alberton, PEI – Cascumpec seed potato grower Jason Rayner is biding his time before moving equipment outdoors to start grading seed stock for customers.

“It is still too muddy and still really too cold, and the snow is going to really control the temperature, too,” Rayner commented.

“In P.E.I., unfortunately, spring is delaying getting here probably more than anywhere,” said P.E.I. Potato Board general manager, Greg Donald, who added the province’s growers are about two to three weeks behind. READ MORE

March 31, 2015, Guelph Ont – The Agri-food Management Institute (AMI), a promoter of best agribusiness management practices for agri-food and agri-based producers and processors in Ontario, recently introduced Arnie Strub, as its new executive director.

Strub comes from extensive experience in business management, marketing and outreach, and the agricultural sector. He plans to focus on: “AMI’s mandate to disseminate best practices to the agri-food sector in Ontario in order to lead to innovation and job growth for producers and processors.”

“I look forward to developing valuable opportunities to collaborate, educate and communicate in a non-competitive environment for all stakeholders,” he added.

“The board of directors, with their unique skill sets and Arnie’s capacity, will create a strong team to lead AMI through a transition into more collaborative opportunities between the producer and processor sectors,” said Brenda Lammens, chair of AMI’s board of directors. “As AMI embarks on the 2015-2016 Work Plan, Arnie’s strong administrative aptitude, extensive experience, and enthusiastic vision will be critical ingredients in the formula for success in working closely with and bringing best practices to the Ontario agri-food sector.”

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