Ernie Hardeman, Ontario’s agriculture and agri-food-minister, has convened an advisory group to look at the competitiveness of the sector. The scope also includes providing “input on crucial future decisions such as changes to the Ontario Food Terminal network for the next five, 10 and 50 years.”
According to OMAFRA’s communications staff, the minister’s advisory group is comprised of a variety of volunteers from across the province – from Niagara, Northern, Eastern, South West and central Ontario.
The volunteers on the advisory group are R.J. Taylor, Jack Chaffe, Clarence Nywening, Kirk Kemp (Algoma Orchards representing apples); Tonya Haverkamp, Michelle Saunders, Brandon Postuma, Chris Van de Laar (2018 Grape King); Martin Dinnissen, Kim Sytsma, Jennifer Innis, Robert Mitchell, Mark Brock, Pat Jilesen and Rosemary MacLellan.
There are farmers from the supply managed, livestock, greenhouse, grain and oilseeds sectors, as well as people with experience in aquaculture, the food processing industry, agribusiness and the rural municipal sector. From the fruit and vegetable sector, there are people who grow grapes, tomatoes and apples. The volunteers come from a cross-section of ages with different levels of involvement in agricultural organizations.
“Owing to the valuable expertise of the Minister’s Advisory Group members, they have been asked to represent the agri-food sector beyond just what they have grown or raised. We trust them to bring a whole of industry approach as we work to address issues that impact the entire sector,” says the spokesperson on behalf of the minister.
If the public wishes to share information with the Minister’s Advisory Group, they can do so at MinistersAdvisoryGroupOMAFRA@ontario.ca.
The group is chaired by Randy Pettapiece, parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Vice chairs include Dave Buttenham, Ontario Agribusiness Association CEO, Keith Currie, president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, and Norm Beal, Food and Beverage Ontario CEO.
Source: OMAFRA communications, March 15, 2019