Grape grower Bill George Jr. will serve a second one-year term as chair of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (OFVGA). The horticultural sector has an annual farm gate value of more than $2.3 billion.
He first became chair in 2019 and was re-elected at the OFVGA annual general meeting in Niagara Falls on February 18. Apple grower Charles Stevens from the Newcastle area was re-elected in the role of vice-chair.
“I appreciate being able to serve Ontario’s fruit and vegetable growers for another year as chair of this organization,” says George. “These are turbulent times and it’s more important than ever that our sector has a strong voice to represent grower interests provincially and nationally.”
Financial protection for growers in case of buyer non-payment, access to labour, and crop protection are priority issues for the organization in its current advocacy efforts.
George and his wife Lesliann grow 160 acres of wine grapes in the Niagara region, as well as harvesting and processing ice wine juice on a farm that has been in the family since 1796. George also represents Ontario on the Canadian Horticultural Council and is a past chair of Grape Growers of Ontario.
The board also welcomes John Hambly, Bradford, as the new director representing vegetable muck growers; he assumes the role from Jason Verkaik.
OFVGA’s other board members include directors Jan VanderHout (greenhouse), Norm Charbonneau (small fruit/berries), Mike Chromczak (asparagus), George Gilvesy (greenhouse), Glen Gilvesy (ginseng), Kenny Forth (fresh vegetable – other), Fred Meyers (tender fruit), and Shawn Brenn (potatoes). Along with the chair and vice-chair, Charbonneau, Chromczak and Forth form the OFVGA’s management committee.
Chromczak also chairs the safety nets section, VanderHout leads the environment and conservation section, and Stevens heads the crop protection section. Other section chairs include Ken Forth (labour) and Brian Gilroy (energy, property, infrastructure and food safety).
Source: Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Growers’ Association February 19, 2020 news release.