Ontario Apple Growers elect new chair, vice chair
December 17, 2013 By Press release
December 17, 2013, Vineland, Ont – Charles Stevens of Newcastle is the new chair of the Ontario Apple Growers (OAG).
Previously the organization’s vice chair, Stevens was elected at a recent meeting of the OAG’s board of directors to replace outgoing chair Brian Gilroy of Meaford, who has been in the position since 2008.
Cathy McKay of Port Perry is the OAG’s new vice chair.
As chair, Stevens plans to focus on expanding the Ontario apple industry through better collaboration between growers, marketers and retailers, and on strengthening relations with the federal and provincial governments to support growth through policy changes.
“One of my key objectives is the growth of this industry,” says Stevens. “One of our big advantages is the huge market we have here in Ontario, but we’re importing a lot of apples that we could be growing here.
“Growers, marketers and retailers have to do more to work together and adapt to the ever-changing technology so that we can grasp more of the market share here. And the provincial and federal governments are important partners too, who can help us with policy changes to support our growth.”
Stevens owns and operates Wilmot Orchards near Newcastle with his wife Judi and daughter Courtney, with 83 acres of apple orchards as well as 21 acres of pick your own blueberries. He has been a director on the OAG board since 2006 and in addition to being vice chair, has served on the organization’s risk management and revitalization committees.
Currently, Stevens is also the chair of the crop protection committees at both the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association and the Canadian Horticultural Council, and represents apples on the Ontario Fruit Technical Committee. In 1999, he was the recipient of the Golden Apple Award, which is given annually to a grower who has made outstanding contributions to the Ontario apple industry.
The OAG chair is elected annually with a maximum of six one-year terms possible per individual. Gilroy will continue to serve on the OAG board as a director; other OAG directors include Keith Wright, Peter Geerts, Brett Schuyler, Bob Hepburn, Shane Ardiel, Art Moyer and Richard Feenstra.
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