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GOOD IN EVERY GRAIN RECEIVES CAMA RECOGNITION
Grain Farmers of Ontario was honoured to be recognized at the Canadian Agri-Marketing Association (CAMA) Best of CAMA 2015 awards on November 5 in Winnipeg. Good in Every Grain was the recipient of the Social Media award. The campaign’s engagement on social media is directed at urban consumers and includes a blog, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+, all of which can be accessed through the website www.GoodinEveryGrain.ca. Grain Farmers of Ontario was also a finalist in the Integrated Marketing Campaign (over $500,000) category for Good in Every Grain.
Congratulations to all of the winners and nominees at Best of CAMA 2015! •
2015 DELEGATES’ POLICY DAY
Grain Farmers of Ontario is holding its annual Policy Day for delegates on December 10 in Guelph. The meeting will include discussions on the future of farming (2025), inter-generational land transfers, and factors affecting the freedom to farm. Delegates requiring additional information about Polcy day can contact the Grain Farmers of Ontario office at 1-800-265-0550. •
by Philip Shaw
The October 9 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) report confirmed what we have known for quite some time. The U.S. has a huge crop of both corn and soybeans. The USDA pegged the national corn yield at 168 bushels per acre and soybeans came in at 47.2 bushels per acre. This report set the tone for futures prices to drift lower into November. This combined with increased planting in the southern hemisphere has added to the bearish tone.
In Ontario, soybeans were mostly harvested and much of the corn was harvested by the beginning of November. The low futures prices effectively slammed the bin door for farmer selling. This combined with the continued low Canadian dollar has added to surprising basis strength in corn. •
Valerie Gilvesy, member relations
Grain Farmers of Ontario wishes to announce the retirement of Valerie Gilvesy, member relations, effective the end of December 2015. Gilvesy has held this position since its inception shortly after the founding of our organization in 2010. During this time, she brought grassroots issues and the concerns of our farmer-members to the attention of the Board of Directors and senior staff.
As part of her role, Gilvesy provided support to Grain Farmers of Ontario’s 15 districts by facilitating January meetings and district delegate meetings throughout the year. In addition, she led the Grains in Action program to train our future farm leaders with Grain Farmers of Ontario and the broader grain value-chain. The success of this program allowed it to expand into additional programs for alumni and industry.
Gilvesy sat down with Ontario Grain Farmer magazine to discuss her time with Grain Farmers of Ontario and her future plans.
(O.G.F.) How have you seen Grain Farmers of Ontario evolve over the past five years?
(V.G.) In the beginning, the biggest challenge was helping everyone adapt to the merger and work and think collaboratively for the best interests of all grain farmers. I was one of the first employees that didn’t come from a specific founding commodity organization. I think my non-partisan view helped farmer-members consider themselves as part of one cohesive group.
I believe it is important to link the grassroots opinion of our farmer-members with the Board of Directors and our staff. Issues are cyclical; it’s just a matter of what the issue is — whether it is government relations, consumer awareness, or commodity prices. Every agricultural organization needs to be prepared to deal with changing market demands and business challenges. I think the way we keep the values, opinions, and best interests of our farmer-members at the core of all our decisions as an organization makes us prepared to deal with any issue we face.
What stands out for you as a highlight of your work at Grain Farmers of Ontario?
The Grains in Action program has truly been a highlight for me. I was given the opportunity and support to lead a program that is unique among farm organizations in the province. I am proud of how this program has evolved and the success that we have achieved with it. A quarter of the participants have gone on to become active members in our organization as alternates, delegates, and directors for their districts. At any point in a program it is good to step back and let someone else take over. I’m looking forward to seeing how the new member relations representative puts their own stamp on the program with fresh ideas that continue its success.
What will you miss about working with our farmer-members?
I have been very fortunate during my time at Grain Farmers of Ontario to be able to focus on our farmer-members. They have always made me feel welcome in their homes and on their farms. Whether we have chatted around their kitchen table or out in the field, they always greeted me with open arms and have always been willing to talk about their particular situation. I am going to miss seeing our farmer-members at the January district meetings, the AGM and semi-annual meeting, and at farm shows across the province. Hopefully through my work they have seen value in the activities and advocacy that Grain Farmers of Ontario undertakes.
Will you stay involved with Grain Farmers of Ontario after your retirement?
I do plan to stay involved with Grain Farmers of Ontario, possibly on a project basis, and I am willing to help out whenever I am needed. I definitely won’t be too far away as we live on a farm in rural Ontario,
What are you looking forward to in your retirement?
I’m looking forward to more time at home. This position required me to travel across the province — and while I enjoyed that aspect, it definitely is demanding. I’m hoping to have more time to pursue my passions of cycling, golfing, reading, and cooking, and in particular I look forward to spending more time with family and friends.
Do you have any parting thoughts to share about Grain Farmers of Ontario?
I want to thank CEO Barry Senft, the staff, Board of Directors, delegates, and farmer-members for all of their support during my time at Grain Farmers of Ontario. Member relations is an important aspect of the organization and I feel that my success in the position can be attributed to their support and guidance. I think the organization is a fantastic place to work and I wish everyone future success. •