Kevin Schooley, general manager of the Berry Growers of Ontario, is stepping down after 18 years in the role. He will be leaving at the end of November 2021.
He told The Grower that one of the biggest highlights for the association has been the move to be regulated under the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission.
“Stable funding allows us to fund research and marketing projects,” he says.
In 2017, the Ontario Berry Growers’ Association and the Ontario Highbush Blueberry Growers’ Association amalgamated. Under the commission, the group has the authority to collect acreage fees from those with two acres of berries whether they be strawberries, raspberries or blueberries. Under the agreement, the association does not have pricing powers.
The association now has more than 200 strawberry, raspberry and blueberry growers who produce more than $40 million in farmgate value of production. This includes greenhouse growers of strawberries, a relatively new trend in the last three years.
Schooley’s background has been valued by the association. He’s worked for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs as well as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. That’s where he gained technical experience working on potato wart in Prince Edward Island and a self-auditing seed potato program.
He's been a go-to resource beyond Ontario’s borders. He remains the executive director of the North American Strawberry Growers’ Association.
The new candidate will inherit a robust and active association. Queries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Berry Growers of Ontario