Newsmakers August 2016

Brian Gilroy (L) with former ag minister Ted McMeekin

The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (OFVGA) has announced that John Kelly, executive-vice-president, has resigned. Kelly has helmed the horticultural association since July 1, 2014, liaising with many industry and government partners on issues ranging from soil health and farm safety nets to water resource management. Previous to his executive role, Kelly led the Erie Innovation and Commercialization initiative for four years to help diversify agricultural opportunities for growers in the south central region of Ontario. This initiative was under the mantle of the OFVGA with other partners. He is leaving to pursue a range of entrepreneurial activities. A search is underway for a replacement. 


Farm and Food Care Ontario has announced that Meaford-Ontario apple grower Brian Gilroy is the new chair, replacing long-time chair John Maaskant.  He is joined by Christine Schoonderwoerd, vice-chair; Sandi Brock, secretary; Jim Gowland, treasurer.  


Other directors elected or re-elected at Farm & Food Care’s annual meeting in April include Bruce Christie (Nutreco Canada), Heather Copland (Grober Inc.), Dave McEachren (Grain Farmers of Ontario), Les Nichols (Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association), Gerald Rollins (Beef Farmers of Ontario) and Peter van Sleeuwen (Dairy Farmers of Ontario).


Farm and Food Care Canada has announced that Ian McKillop, a fifth-generation egg, beef and grain farmer, will become its new chair. He has served as a board member of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and has chaired the National Farm Animal Care Council’s Beef Cattle Codes of Practice committee. Joining him as vice-chair is John Geurtjens, vice-president of Farm Credit Canada. Gwen Paddock, the national director of agriculture and resource industries for the Royal Bank of Canada, takes the position of treasurer. Bruce Christie will continue to serve on the executive in the role of past chair. 


The Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC) has announced that Rebecca Lee will become executive director of the Ottawa-based organization. Most recently, she was technical director with the North American Plant Protection Organization, where she also served as acting executive director working closely with government, research and industry representatives from Mexico, the United States and Canada.  She earned her Bachelor in Science/Agriculture from McGill University, her Masters in Science from the University of Guelph and her doctorate from Wageningen University in the Netherlands.  She’ll spend August reaching out to CHC members and start full time in September.  


In other news, CHC has hired Julie Paillat as the national coordinator, greenhouse vegetable sector. In previous roles, she has served as a research and innovation specialist with the Egg Farmers of Canada, a soybean breeding research associate with Monsanto Canada and an agronomist with Les Semences Elite du Québec. She travelled to the Leamington area in July to visit greenhouse vegetable operations and will take up her position on a half-time basis in the Ottawa offices of the CHC in September.  


Sobey’s CEO Marc Poulin departed suddenly in early July, following poor financial results. The acquisition of Canadian Safeway has proven difficult, especially given the softening economy of western Canada, particularly in Alberta. Francois Vimard, chief financial officer for parent company Empire is now in the role. See Peter Chapman’s blog on this development at


Condolences to the family and friends of Dr. Clare Rennie who passed away June 23, 2016 at the age of 90. He was lauded as a lecturer at the University of Guelph for 22 years, before he became Ontario assistant deputy minister of agriculture in 1974.   


Congratulations to Owen Roberts, a columnist for The Grower and now the president of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists. He was elected to the position at the recent annual meeting in Bonn, Germany. When he’s not pushing for a free press in the developing world, he’s at home in Guelph, Ontario where he’s the director of research communications for the University of Guelph. 

Publish date: 
Thursday, July 28, 2016

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