“Fruit and vegetable growers are faced with many issues that affect the viability of our farms, from labour, research and crop protection to safety nets and property issues,” says James. “The need for horticulture to have a strong voice has never been greater and as the OFVGA’s new chair, I’m looking forward to working with our government and industry partners on behalf of our members.”
James is a lifelong farmer from the Leamington, Ont. area, where he grows potatoes, peppers and other horticultural crops on a century farm. He has been on the OFVGA board for seven years, most recently serving two one-year terms as vice chairperson of the organization. James is also currently a director with the Ontario Potato Board.
OFVGA’s 2012 board also includes directors Brian Gilroy (apples) who is also serving as chair of the property section, Norm Charbonneau (small fruit/berries), Jason Verkaik (fresh vegetable – muck), Ray Duc (grapes), Jason Ryder (asparagus), Fred Meyers (tender fruit), Jan VanderHout (greenhouse), Don Taylor (greenhouse), Ken VanTorre (ginseng) and Mary Shabatura (fresh vegetable). Ex-officio board members are section chairs Ken Forth (labour), Mark Wales (safety nets), Charles Stevens (crop protection), Harold Schooley (research) and Murray Porteous (Canadian Horticultural Council).
"We have a strong and dedicated board at the OFVGA and it's an honour for me to have been elected as their chair," said James. "Collectively we will continue to work toward building and maintaining a prosperous and sustainable fruit and vegetable industry in Ontario."