New year, more value



it has been

This strategic plan includes some auspicious goals for GFO and a vision for the organization that positions Ontario’s grain farmers as leaders not only in our province but beyond our borders.  We will continue to work within the structure we set in January with the four pillars of Research, Market Development, Production Information and Public Relations/Advocacy but we intend to have a broader mandate than in the past.

This broad vision will ultimately deliver results at home, into the bank accounts of our farmer members.  The strategic plan will require a small increase in license fees to $1.75 per acre, from the originally proposed $1.70 in 2007, but will deliver dividends that will be measured in:

• new market opportunities,
• increased access to information that will add value to your farm business,
• research results that will reduce costs or increase returns and
• better access to all levels of government and industry on issues that affect your business.

As an example of increased value through a broader mandate, Research and Innovation at GFO has partnered with grain farmers across Canada to form a national coalition to access millions of dollars in funding.  Broadly, this coalition will ensure that farmers growing soybeans, winter wheat, corn and other grains will have access to varieties, developed through public/private research partnerships, that will enable them to obtain higher yields with lower production costs and higher quality.  The resulting varieties, developed in partnership with industry, will meet current and future consumer demands and position our grain farmers as solution providers in the value chain.

Another example is our new Market Development initiative that launched June 23 in Guelph where we brought stakeholders from the industry and government together to discuss ways we can work together to bring new business opportunities for grain to Ontario.  There are lots of exciting new products under development and we intend to have that infrastructure built close to our grain producing regions.

All of our work will be supported by the Advocacy pillar and the Ontario grain and oilseed sector is already well positioned in Canadian agriculture as a leader in safety net program design, a powerful voice on issues such as bill C474 and a strong partner in research that benefits the entire value chain.  Our ongoing efforts will focus on building relationships with government and partnering with like-minded organizations throughout Canada to unite farmer voices and ensure the interests of farmers are heard over the noise in Ottawa.

This work cannot be done without the continued support of our farmers and we encourage your input – we will have the strategic plan available for comment later in the summer.  We understand and appreciate the financial and time commitment you make to ensure the success of this organization and, I assure you, the staff keeps the goal of adding value to your business top of mind every day.

Barry Senft, CEO

a busy spring for the Directors and staff here at GFO with early planting and strategic planning competing for attention over the last three months.  The strategic plan is complete but in draft form pending a final Board review and the accompanying budget has been approved by the Board for the fiscal year – June 2010 to May 2011.

About Barry Senft 61 Articles
CEO, Grain Farmers of Ontario