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 earlier this week. Grape grower Bill George was re-elected as vice chair.
“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, ”says VanderHout
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, he says.
Also at the AGM, members voted to disband the OFVGA Research Committee and split its Property Committee into two new committees. Previous 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.
“The change in committee structure will not change the work that we are doing, but rather will align the focus more between research and a relative committee,” says VanderHout. “For example if we are doing research activities on soil health this would likely be managed by the environment and climate change section. If work needs to be done researching biological pest and disease controls it would be organized by crop protection. After lengthy discussions at last year’s strategic planning session the board believes that this change will give us clearer focus as we meet our objectives.”