When you let your name stand as chair of an organization, you never know what challenges you’ll face.
For Mark Brock, who stepped in as chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario in 2015, there was little time to adjust to the new leadership role. As he was nominated, the organization was facing one of its largest challenges to date: the 2015 Ontario neonicotinoid rules and restrictions.
In the interview below, Brock reflects back on this three years as chair, whether or not he deems the outcome of the neonic regulations a success, and shares how he approached leading the organization.
Brock says that he did what he thought other people would do in the role to provide leadership for Ontario farmers and a strong voice for Canadian farmers. And that’s key, he says, because while he was head of a provincial group, all of Canadian agriculture is so connected. Similarities across provincial borders are more numerous than our differences, he says, and we need to focus on that.
Because of that, he sees a need for more collaboration in lobbying efforts, especially at a national level. “We can’t go in (to lobby) fifteen different times with a similar message. We need to go in two, three times with the same message,” he says. “I think we’re getting there now.”
As Brock takes a step back from farm politics , he says he’ll focus on the farm business, and will take his turn supporting his wife Sandi, as she now serves on the Ontario Sheep Farmers’ board. He adds that he couldn’t have committed to chairing without the support of Sandi and their two teenage kids.
Will we see him on another board soon? He says we’ll have to wait and see.