GUELPH – Members of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) gathered in Hamilton, ON this week for the organization’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), Nov. 18 to 19.
Farming 2020: Adapt and Grow was the event theme that saw more than 300 agri-food industry leaders, volunteers and politicians discuss how to move the industry forward, address issues and concerns, vote on resolutions, vote for leadership and listen to informative guest speakers.
Keith Currie was voted to serve his fourth term as the organization’s 31st president. Voting delegates re-elected Peggy Brekveld and Mark Reusser to the vice president positions. Drew Spoelstra was elected by the board as the fourth executive member. Teresa Van Raay, a hog and crop farmer in Dashwood, ON was voted by the membership to join the board as a director-at-large for a three-year term. Paul Vickers, a Griersville, ON dairy farmer and Zone 2 director for Bruce and Grey, also joins the OFA board of directors to represent members in his area for a three-year term. Two retiring directors, Pat Jilesen and Don McCabe, were recognized for their contributions. OFA’s Board of Directors is made up of 18 positions representing regions across Ontario.
“It’s been another great year for OFA,” Currie said. “And our AGM is a highlight where we gather together to take stock of where we are at and discuss issues and opportunities for the coming year. Our diverse sector is well represented with grassroots members, industry leaders and politicians sitting down to discuss, listen to each other and prioritize the challenges and opportunities facing Ontario’s agri-food industry.”
Representatives from provincial political parties addressed the crowd at the event, Hon. Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs; Andrea Horwath, Leader of the New Democrat Party (NDP) and Leader of the Official Opposition and John Vanthof, MPP and NDP critic for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development.
The Ontario Young Farmers’ Forum was held in conjunction with OFA’s AGM, welcoming more than 60 young farmers to the event. More support for young farmers was shown at the event with three educational bursaries awarded to Ontario post-secondary students pursuing a career in agriculture.
OFA also announced winners of the 2019 Honda Benefit Program draw, awarding three lucky members with a Honda ATV (first prize) and power equipment (second and third prizes) – Cathy Wilson from Peel Region, Rita Vander Kant of Middlesex County and Daryl Rush from Durham Region.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is the largest general farm organization in Ontario, representing 38,000 farm families across the province. As a dynamic farmer-led organization based in Guelph, the OFA works to represent and champion the interests of Ontario farmers through government relations, farm policy recommendations, research, lobby efforts, community representation, media relations and more. OFA is the leading advocate for Ontario’s farmers and is Ontario’s voice of the farmer.