GUELPH — More than 400 agricultural representatives met in Toronto this week to discuss the issues and opportunities facing farmers and rural Ontario, and the investments and policies needed to support growth in the agri-food sector, at the Ontario Federation of Agriculture’s (OFA) annual general meeting
Keith Currie, a Collingwood-area hay and sweet corn farmer, was acclaimed as OFA president, returning for his second one-year leadership term for OFA’s 37,000 farm members.
“There are tremendous opportunities and plenty to look forward to in Ontario agriculture right now,” says Keith Currie, OFA president. “We talked a lot about the need to distribute economic development across rural and urban areas – a concept that will benefit growth and prosperity for the entire province, and strengthen our rural communities. Based on the level of member feedback and engagement at this year’s annual meeting, we have a clear and positive direction to advocate with government for the infrastructure needed to make this a reality.”
OFA launched the organization’s political campaign for the 2018 provincial election Producing Prosperity at the annual meeting. The election campaign illustrates why distributed economic development is necessary for rural Ontario to grow and prosper, and offers solutions to boost the province’s economy and stimulate rural Ontario’s communities. The campaign was also the theme of OFA’s annual meeting, including the topic of the keynote speaker, grassroots member discussions and questions to guest speakers, including representatives of Ontario’s political parties.
Peggy Brekveld, a northern Ontario dairy farmer, was acclaimed as Director at Large for a three-year term. Brekveld and Mark Reusser were also acclaimed to the vice president positions. Drew Spoelstra was also acclaimed as the fourth executive member. New to the OFA board of directors is Director at Large, Jackie Kelly-Pemberton, from Dundas County who joins the board after winning the Zone 11 election. OFA’s Board of Directors is made up of 18 positions representing regions across Ontario.
For the second year, OFA awarded bursaries to three secondary school students pursuing education and a future career in agriculture. Three 2017 winners were announced at OFA’s annual meeting – Julie French from Peel, Emily Potter of Temiskaming and Cassie Allen from Prescott. Each bursary winner was awarded $2,000.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is the largest general farm organization in Ontario, representing 37,000 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.