Greenhouse vegetable grower Jan VanderHout will serve another one-year term as chair of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (OFVGA). He first assumed the role in 2017 and was re-elected at the OFVGA annual general meeting in Niagara Falls on February 20. Grape grower Bill George was re-elected as vice-chair.
“It’s an honour to serve Ontario’s fruit and vegetable growers for another year as chair of their organization,” says VanderHout. “It will be a busy year for the board as we head into a provincial election, where our goal will be on raising awareness around the competitiveness of our sector and how government policies can have significant impact on growers.”
He expects key areas affecting grower competitiveness, such as labour, energy and trade, to be front and centre this year; crop protection and environmental issues will also be a focus for the organization.
VanderHout is co-owner of Beverly Greenhouses Ltd. in Waterdown. The third generation farm business has been growing English cucumbers for more than 50 years and currently has 29 acres of production under glass. He first joined the OFVGA board as a director in 2011, becoming a management committee member in 2013 and vice-chair in 2015. He is also on the board of directors of the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers and The Ontario Greenhouse Alliance (TOGA), and has been TOGA chair since 2013.
Shawn Brenn has joined the board of directors to represent the potato sector. He takes over from long-serving board member Mac James, who stepped down from the position.
Also at the AGM, members voted to disband the OFVGA research committee and split its property committee into two. Former property committee chair and apple grower Brian Gilroy will head the new energy, property and infrastructure committee; asparagus grower Mike Chromczak will lead the new environment and climate change committee. The activities of the former research committee will be absorbed by OFVGA’s other committees, which also include crop protection, safety nets and labour.