Associations
August 17, 2017, Ontario - The Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers (OPVG) and the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Processors Association (OF&VPA) are continuing with a bursary fund to support and encourage individuals pursuing a career in any aspect of the processing vegetable industry.

These organizations are working together to ensure that there are new individuals who will have the interest, skills and abilities to further develop and grow this sector of Ontario’s agri-food
economy.

Sponsor donations allow the OPVG and the OF&VPA to offer up to five bursaries to students this fall. These include bursaries in memory of former OPVG directors Jim Whitson and Ken Epp. Note that the Jim Whitson bursary is awarded to a student attending Ridgetown College. The award in memory of Ken Epp receives an additional $1,000 from the fund established in his name by the OPVG. Applicants must be a resident of Ontario and registered as a full-time student at any college or university entering the second, third, fourth or post graduate year of study which relates in some aspect to the processing vegetable industry.

If you require further information regarding the bursaries, please contact:
Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers at 519-681-1875.
The Bursary Application Form is available at www.opvg.org or on request from the OPVG office (519-681-1875). Applications must be submitted no later than October 15th and will be received by regular mail at 435 Consortium Court, London, ON N6E 2S8, by e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or fax (519) 685-5719 and can also be submitted online at www.opvg.org/opvg-bursary/.
August 10, 2017, Leamington, Ont – Joe Sbrocchi will assume the general manager role at the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG), effective Sept 18th, 2017.

Sbrocchi has been active in a number of roles in the greenhouse sector for the last eight years. Previously, he has held management roles with national retailers like Sobeys and Walmart providing a solid body of work throughout the entire value chain.

“We are pleased to have a quality leader join the OGVG at a point where his experience, skills and leadership can significantly support our sector”, said George Gilvesy, OGVG chair.

“I believe my lifetime in produce and in particular the past eight years in the greenhouse sector have prepared me well for this role,” said Sbrocchi. “I am looking forward to representing Ontario greenhouse growers to the very best of my abilities.”
August 8, 2017, Wallaceburg, Ont – In the midst of uncertainty about the structure of their organization, Ontario processing vegetable growers recently received a strong show of support from all three general farm organizations in Ontario.

Ontario’s three provincial farm organizations came together to pen a joint letter to the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission in support of the issues raised by the Processing Vegetable Growers’ Alliance.

“The Alliance represents farmers who grow 14 different types of processing vegetables in the province who are concerned about proposed changes to Regulation 441 that would dramatically reduce grassroots representation for our sector,” said Francis Dobbelaar, chair of the Processing Vegetable Growers’ Alliance. “We are truly grateful for the tremendous support shown to our group by these three leading organizations.”

Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario, the National Farmers Union – Ontario, and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture represent the majority of Ontario farmers, including the approximately 400 processing vegetable growers. In their letter to the commission, which discussed proposed changes to Regulation 441/400, the groups call on the commission to consult directly with processing vegetable growers regarding any proposed governance changes that would impact the Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers  organization.

“The goal of the Alliance is to restore a fully grower elected OPVG board with the authority to negotiate prices, terms, conditions and contracts for Ontario’s processing vegetable growers,” said Dobbelaar. “We are anxious to get on with the innovative plans we had in the works before the commission dismissed the OPVG board and senior staff – including establishing industry advisory and market development committees. We welcome innovation and change that will help strengthen and sustain our industry with profitability for both growers and processors.”
July 26, 2017, Ontario - This letter was sent to Hon. Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Farm Products Marketing Commission on July 21, 2017.

The Processing Vegetable Growers’ Alliance and the growers it represents have serious concerns about the recruitment of a new general manager for the Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers (OPVG).

After the elected OPVG board was dismantled by the government and the Farm Products Marketing Commission, the Processing Vegetable Growers’ Alliance (PVGA) formed to represent the interests of growers of the 14 different processing vegetable growers in Ontario. Our goal is to restore a fully elected OPVG board that would, among other duties, lead the hiring process for a new general manager.

We have two distinct concerns with the process being undertaken to fill the general manager position for OPVG.

First, and most importantly, we believe senior level hiring decisions are best made by an elected board. Ontario’s processing vegetable growers deserve a say in the senior staff representing their industry.

OPVG and other commodity organizations generally hire their own staff. This practice builds trust between growers, their elected board and OPVG staff – a relationship that is particularly important for an organization that negotiates with processors on behalf of its grower members.

Secondly, we are concerned about the process being used to hire a new OPVG general manager. Currently, recruitment is being conducted by posting the position on two, relatively obscure, job sites. Given the importance of the general manager role – and the value of the processing vegetable sector to Ontario’s economy and the agri-food industry – we believe an independent professional recruitment firm is the most appropriate way to find the best candidate for this position.

We ask that you reconsider the hiring of an OPVG general manager and defer that important task to an elected OPVG board.

If this request is ignored, and the hiring proceeds, we strongly recommend the term be limited to a one-year contract to give the elected board the autonomy to determine the long-term suitability of a new general manager. Notwithstanding the foregoing, we reserve the right to challenge this decision and any other course of action taken following the improper removal of the OPVG board.

Francis Dobbelaar
Chair, Processing Vegetable Growers’ Alliance
July 21, 2017, Guelph, Ont. – The new Canadian Centre for Food Integrity (CCFI) elected inaugural board members from across Canada recently to build its mandate to help Canada’s food system earn trust. CCFI provides a support service to assist Canada’s agri-food sector earn public trust by coordinating consumer research, resources, dialogue, and training.

The new CCFI board has named its first six directors, from west to east: Dave Eto (Naturally Splendid, B.C.), Kim McConnell (AdFarm, Alta.), Adele Buettner (AgriBiz Communications Corp, S.K.), Gwen Paddock (Royal Bank, Ont.), Sylvie Cloutier (Conseil De La Transformation Alimentaire Du Quebec CTAQ, PQ), and Mary Robinson (potato farmer, PEI). Three former Farm & Food Care Canada directors (Bruce Christie, Carolynne Griffith and Ian McKillop) are also members of the inaugural board but will be transitioning as additional directors are added to the board over the next few months.

The board is a key step in the development of a solid business model for CCFI, with a smaller, skills-based and governance-focused group of directors. The CCFI leadership model will also include a larger Advisory Council with representation from many sectors, partners, NGOs, academia and government to provide insights and strategic thinking to the board and staff team. Development of the Advisory Council is now underway.

Crystal Mackay will assume the role as President of the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity.

Kim McConnell was elected the Chair of the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity. “There is both a need and a strong desire for a coalition approach and shared investment model for more effectively earning trust in Canadian food and farming for the future,” McConnell stated. “We are ready to get to work and deliver on CCFI’s important mandate to help support our many partners and the Canadian food system to earn trust.”

Find out more and help build the momentum for earning public trust in food and farming in Canada by attending the upcoming Canadian CFI Public Trust Summit ‘Tackling Transparency – The Truth about Trust’ in Calgary on September 18-20, 2017. Register today at www.foodintegrity.ca

The Canadian Centre for Food Integrity helps Canada’s food system earn trust by coordinating research, resources,dialogue and training. Our members and project partners, who represent the diversity of the food system, are committed to providing accurate information and working together to address important issues in food and agriculture. The CCFI does not lobby or advocate for individual companies or brands. For more information sign up for the CCFI e-news and visit www.foodintegrity.ca
July 12, 2017, Guelph, Ont. - Kelly Daynard has been hired as executive director of Farm & Food Care Ontario (FFCO), a coalition representing Ontario's farm families, agribusinesses, food processors, food companies and more.

The Board of Directors began an open and extensive hiring process in April of 2017, interviewing several candidates before making its decision.

Daynard first joined FFCO's predecessor organization, the Ontario Farm Animal Council, in 2005. She has been employed as Communications Manager of FFCO since 2012 and has been serving in the role of Interim Executive Director since January of 2017.

Prior to joining FFCO, she worked first as a journalist and then as Communications Manager for the Ontario Cattlemen's Association (now Beef Farmers of Ontario).

Raised on her family's grain farm near Guelph, Daynard is a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University and the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program. Outside of her work with FFCO, she is involved with several agricultural organizations including the Canadian Farm Writers Federation and the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame Association.

"The board of directors is unanimous in its decision to hire Kelly to lead Farm & Food Care Ontario. She has a strong knowledge of the agricultural industry and is well-known and well respected by members, staff and industry stakeholders. Over the years, she has consistently demonstrated her commitment to this organization and its mandate and has led the development of many of our award winning initiatives," said Brian Gilroy, chair of the board of directors.

"I'm honoured by the confidence shown by the board of directors in hiring me to this position," said Daynard. "It has been a privilege to work for this organization for so many years. Farm & Food Care Ontario plays such a critical role in this industry, helping to connect consumers with their food. I look forward to being part of the work that we'll continue to do to earn public trust in food and farming."

Farm & Food Care Ontario is a coalition of farmers, agriculture and food partners proactively working together to ensure public trust and confidence in food and farming. For more information visit www.FarmFoodCareON.org.
June 26, 2017, Toronto, Ont. - Beer Canada, Restaurants Canada, Spirits Canada and the Canadian Vintners Association are grateful for the overwhelming support they and their customers received from Canadians in response to the federal government's move to increase alcohol excise taxes every year in perpetuity.

"We launched corkthetax.ca to raise awareness about the impact of these ever-increasing taxes on a broad swath of small businesses and the pocket books of consumers," said Luke Harford, President of Beer Canada. "Canadians really responded."

"We are emboldened by the strong stand taken by the Senate of Canada to introduce amendments to address the undemocratic nature of the escalator clauses in the budget bill," said Joyce Reynolds, Restaurants Canada's Executive Vice-President, Government Affairs. "They quite rightfully called out the dangerous precedent of automatically increasing taxes without parliamentary oversight and scrutiny. We also salute Members of Parliament who understood the inequity of the escalator tax and spoke out for our industries on this issue."

"We, of course, are disappointed that the House of Commons chose not to repeal the escalator clauses as recommended by the Senate," said Dan Paszkowski, President and CEO of Vintners Canada. "But we haven't given up the fight. We will continue to engage Canadians and our industries to convince government to remove these undemocratic, automatic tax increases in next year's budget."

"We aren't going away," said Jan Westcott, President of Spirits Canada. "The cumulative impact of annual increases, with provincial mark-ups and sales taxes on top, will be too damaging to our industries, our businesses, employees and customers. Thousands of ordinary, hard-working, middle-class Canadians will be negatively impacted by these tax hikes. We remain open to working with Finance Minister Morneau and members from all parties to ensure our Canadian industries can continue to make our country's economy strong and innovative."
June 19 2017, Guelph, Ont – The diverse range of projects the Agricultural Adaptation Council (AAC) funds was the focus of the organization’s summer reception and dinner held June 14 in Mississauga.

To date, Ontario organizations and collaborations have completed 195 projects through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), and funding for 385 projects totaling $33.3 million has been approved by the AAC board over the past four years.

The program was launched in 2013 and demand remained strong until the final application deadline this past April. GF2 officially ends March 31, 2018.

“The AAC is a strategic enabler. Projects funded have played a significant role in raising the standard and profile of Ontario's agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector,” said Kelly Duffy, AAC chair, in her remarks to the audience. “I know that if we continue to invest in the sector, we will produce long-lasting benefits that will impact future generations.”

Ontario Agri-Food Technologies is currently leading a project on open agri-food data collaboration, Ontario Precision Agri-Food (OPAF).

It’s assessing where Ontario and Canada are with precision agriculture and what needs to be done to manage and enable data for future global market access and sustainability. OPAF is collaborating with an initiative called FIWare Mundus that is creating a global Future Internet (FI) ecosystem to enable easy, fast data sharing.

“We’re on the cusp of an evolution; data is at its centre and it’s the new commodity in agriculture,” said OAFT president Tyler Whale. “OPAF is a facilitator that creates trusted relationships amongst value chain partners to integrate new and existing data resources.”

The Ontario Produce Marketing Association is tackling the issue of food waste through a GF2 funded project, and according to lead researcher Martin Gooch of Value Chain Management International, there is a compelling business case for addressing the problem.

“People outside of the industry are often staggered by the amount of waste in food. This is the first project of its kind in North America,” said Gooch.

The OPMA program includes a series of workshops and a handbook with 10 easy to follow steps for identifying where waste happens in farm, processing or retail processes. According to Gooch, a soon-to-be-released case study clearly shows the opportunity of addressing food waste: a 29 per cent increase in grade-out of potatoes resulted in a 74 per cent increase in producer margin.

“A big thank you to AAC for providing the funding; it’s great working with an organization that encompasses the entire chain,” Gooch added.

Harry Pelissero of Egg Farmers of Ontario spoke briefly about one of EFO’s latest projects involving gender detection in unhatched eggs.

The non-invasive scanning technology developed at McGill University can identify the gender of day-old eggs before they are incubated. This means female eggs can be incubated for hatching and infertile or male eggs can enter the table or processing egg streams, eliminating the need to hatch male eggs.

AAC gave us the support to take this from the lab to pre-prototype and then prototype stage,” explained Pelissero. “The investment that AAC has put into this provides an economical solution to a challenge in the industry; this is an outcome that will literally go around the world.”

Duffy also used the opportunity to highlight overall GF2 program successes. Funding through this federal-provincial-territorial initiative has resulted in innovative research results, increased knowledge and awareness, access to new markets, and supported the overall competitiveness of the sector.
April 19, 2017, Ontario – The Ontario’s South Coast Wineries and Growers Association (OSCWGA) has elected a new board of directors, naming Nick Vranckx of Blueberry Hill Estates Winery as president.

“I am honoured to have been selected as president and I look forward to working with OSCWGA members to ensure the organization’s continued success,” Vranckx said. “Ontario’s South Coast is being recognized more and more for quality grape and fruit wine production and it’s an exciting time to be at the forefront of the association. My goals for the association include continuing to improve the quality of our grape growing, gaining further recognition for our region’s wines, and helping develop the area’s wine and food culture.”

Vranckx succeeds Mike McArthur as president. This ends McArthur’s involvement as a board member, chair and president. He has been active in the association since its founding eight years ago. Mike was recently appointed as a judge with the Ontario Court of Justice in Guelph.

“It has been a real privilege to lead this organization representing the wineries in Haldimand, Norfolk, and Elgin,” said McArthur. “It’s an exciting time for us as we continue to further the goal of becoming our own DVA appellation. The organization’s strategic goals are being realized and I have been glad to be a part of this sustained effort and achievement. The association is in a good place for the future.”

The executive committee also consists of Dr. John Kelly, vice president; Ron Barr, treasurer, and Kim Ludwig, secretary. Elected to the board were: Karen Matthews, Burning Kiln Winery; Kim Ludwig, Wooden BearL; Dr. John Kelly; Richard Czerlau, Frisky and Gamble; Rob Gill, Villa Nova Estates Winery; and Shantel Bosgoed, Inasphere Winery.

The board thanked Phil Ryan of Villa Nova Estates Winery, Joe Czerlau of Frisky and Gamble, Ryan Bosgoed of Inasphere and Mike McArthur of Burning Kiln Winery for their service and look forward to continuing working with them in their capacity on some of the many committees of the board.

The board also recognized the following members that are continuing on for another year of office: Anita Buehner, Bonnieheath Estate Lavender and Winery; Andrew Shelswell, Golden Leaf Winery; Mat Vaughan, Hounds of Erie Winery; Phil Ryan, Villa Nova Estates Winery; and Ron Barr, Rush Creek Winery.

In the fall of 2016, the association applied for Designated Viticulture Status (DVA) under the title, “Norfolk County,” which includes wineries in Haldimand, Norfolk, and Elgin. This application is currently under consideration by VQA Ontario. If passed, Norfolk County will become the newest DVA in Canada and would join Niagara, Prince Edward County, and Lake Erie North Shore as official appellations.
April 4, 2017, Woodstock, Ont – The Garlic Growers Association of Ontario held their Annual General Meeting (AGM) at Woodstock on April 1, 2017, where a new executive board was elected.
 
The 2017-2018 board of directors includes:
  • Joann Chechalk, president
  • Peter McClusky, first vice president
  • Steve Droog, second vice president
  • Dan Hemstock, treasurer
  • Norm de Groot, secretary
  • Mark Wales, past president
  • Bob Romaniuk, director
  • Paul Smith, director
  • Dean VanRaay, director
  • Janice Wright, director
For many years, the Garlic Growers Association of Ontario has had strong leadership in the hands of Mark Wales (past president,) executive members Warren Ham and Al Cowan, plus many more dedicated directors and members.

"It has been a pleasure working on behalf of Garlic Growers Association of Ontario and I look forward to working with the newly elected board to help our members provide the best garlic in the world to our customers,” said Wales. “Thanks to all of the volunteers that I have worked with over the years to keep our industry strong."

"I want to thank Mark and the other directors of the association for their years of dedicated efforts to raising the awareness to Ontario garlic and for representing our industry so well,” said Joann Chechalk, new GGAO president. “I know the new board of directors will continue to look for their input on the new directions of the association. There is lot of work to be done, but the new board is energized and ready for the challenge. We're ready to work together to make Ontario garlic a staple in all homes across the province."

Much has happened since the association was formed and, like many agricultural organizations, Ontario garlic has weathered a number of significant challenges.

Members made it clear at the annual meeting that they are ready for a renewed commitment to address these challenges as well as to grow the awareness of the quality of Ontario garlic to consumers, and to provide practical support and educational opportunities to grower members.

Compared to imports, more and more consumers are recognizing the superior quality of garlic grown in Ontario as evidenced by the steadily growing demand for this locally grown, fresh and healthy food staple.
April 3, 2017, Ottawa, Ont – The Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC) recently presented its new president and board of Directors for 2017-2018.

CHC’s board of directors appointed Alvin Keenan, of Prince Edward Island, as president for the 2017-2018 term. Keenan started working with CHC in 1983. Since that time, he has advocated on a wide range of issues, including trade and marketing, labour, and crop protection. He currently operates Rollo Bay Potatoes with his brother, Ray, and their families. They are dedicated to quality, care for the environment, and incorporating the newest and most innovative technology into their operations. Alvin inherits the presidency from Keith Kuhl, who held the position from 2013-2017.

Several new members were appointed to CHC’s board of directors for the 2017-2018 term. The full listing of board members for 2017-2018 is as follows:

President – Alvin Keenan

Past President – Keith Kuhl

British Columbia
  • Bar Hayre (second vice-president)
  • Fred Steele
Prairies
  • Beth Connery
  • Robert Purton
Ontario
  • Brian Gilroy (first vice-president)
  • Adrian Huisman
Quebec
  • Stéphanie Levasseur
  • Jocelyn St-Denis
Maritimes
  • Peter Swetnam
  • Andrew Lovell
The CHC and its members is looking forward to continued success working with Alvin Keenan and its new board of directors.
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.
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