ONTARIO — Following a three-week nomination period for directors in five zones across the province, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is proud to announce the return of a strong contingent of agricultural leaders as well as the addition of one new member to the organization’s Board of Directors.
Four directors were re-elected and acclaimed in their respective zones, including Louis Roesch in Zone 1, Jackie Kelly-Pemberton in Zone 11, Bruce Buttar in Zone 12 and Mark Kunkel in Zone 15. Newly elected Jennifer Doelman will join the provincial board after being acclaimed as director in Zone 8. All elected nominees will serve for a three-year term, which begins immediately following OFA’s 2020 Annual General Meeting in November.
“Strong leadership is very important for the future of Ontario’s agriculture and food industry,” said Peggy Brekveld, OFA Vice President. “These five elected members, both new and returning, have an incredible passion and dedication to growing our sector – locally, provincially and federally.”
OFA’s newest board member will be representing members in the eastern Ontario region of Arnprior, Lanark, Ottawa and Renfrew (Zone 8). Doelman, who will be replacing long-time board member and former OFA vice president Debra Pretty-Straathof, is a third-generation farmer and seed producer in Douglas. Alongside her husband and parents, she grows a diverse crop rotation which includes grains and oilseeds such as corn, wheat and soybeans as well as barley, canola, flax, oats, triticale, peas, forages and sunflowers. She is a graduate of the University of Guelph, an independent Ontario Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) and an alumni of the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program (AALP).
Roesch will return to the board table for his third term representing members in the counties of Essex and Kent (Zone 1). He is a third-generation farmer from the Chatham-Kent area. Together with his wife, their business includes 150 acres of grains and oilseeds, a farrow to finish hog operation, 500 laying hens, an egg grading station and an on-farm retail outlet selling their own processed pork. Roesch is past president of the Kent Federation of Agriculture and a former member of the organization’s Policy Advisory Council (PAC).
Kelly-Pemberton was re-elected as the provincial representative for members in Grenville, Frontenac, Dundas and Leeds (Zone 11). Along with her husband, they operate a small beef cow/calf operation in Dundas County and farm 200 acres of hay, corn and IP soybeans. She has had a varied career off-farm, from working as a veterinarian technician to Environmental Manager for the Parmalat plant in Winchester. She previously served as president of the Dundas Federation of Agriculture for 13 years and sat as a PAC member. Kelly-Pemberton is a Class 14 alumni of the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program and will be entering her second term as a board member.
In the counties of Hastings, Lennox & Addington, Northumberland and Prince Edward (Zone 12), Buttar will serve in the role as director for a third term. From Gores Landing, Buttar is a former dairy farmer, who now grows grains, oilseeds and hay and raises a small herd of beef cattle with his wife and son. He is the past chair of the Northumberland Federation of Agriculture and continues to be involved on the local board. Buttar is also a founding committee member of FARM 911: The Emily Project.
Members in northern Ontario, including Algoma, Cochrane, Dryden, Kenora, Manitoulin-North Shore, Muskoka, Nipissing East & West, Parry Sound, Rainy River, Sudbury East & West, Temiskaming & Thunder Bay, have re-elected Kunkel as their board representative. Kunkel, who will be entering his third term on the board, operates a family dairy farm outside of North Bay. He is a member on the local dairy producer committee, the chair of OFA’s Northern Caucus and has recently been involved in the farm plastics recycling program.
“These are great leaders within their own communities and OFA is proud to have them on board our organization,” stated Brekveld.
OFA is governed by an 18-member elected Board of Directors consisting of Ontario farmers from across the province.
The role of a provincial director involves advocacy work on behalf of grassroots members, conversations with policymakers and industry partners, and enhancing the agri-food industry for all Ontario farm businesses. It is an exciting opportunity to make an impact on Ontario agriculture and play an integral role in working towards our shared mission of Farms and Food Forever.
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. For more information, visit ofa.on.ca.