A LETTER FROM BARRY SENFT, CEO
ON BEHALF OF GFO, I am pleased to announce that the Grain Farmers of Ontario organization became an official marketing board in the province on January 1st.
It has been a long road for directors and staff to get to this point including many changes both in the countryside and the office that have challenged everyone to focus on what is important – adding value to grain farm businesses. We are happy to say that we have arrived at the point where we are ready to build a business plan that will put some key deliverables in place to ensure our members get the maximum benefit from their investment in our organization.
GFO will build upon the strength of our farmer members and our heritage organizations. Our organization will be built on four pillars – research and innovation, marketing and market development, production and our public affairs pillar which includes public outreach, policy development and advocacy.
We will start right out of the gate advocating for the provincial government to make RMP a permanent program for grains and oilseeds and working with other farm organizations to get the federal government to support Canadian farmers by putting business risk management back into the AgriFlex program. We are also working on research proposals that will position our sector to receive grants for millions of dollars in project funding. As we continue through our first year, you can expect new programs and services to be developed with the goal of enhancing your businesses. We are excited for the merger process to end and the real work to begin.
Now that we have committed the internal resources to adding value to your business, we can only succeed if there is an ongoing dialogue with you. We want to know the issues you are dealing with so we can best serve your needs. We also need strong leadership from each district, from delegates and directors on GFO committees and grassroots support for our messaging.
It is important for all members to shape and direct the organization by participating in the upcoming January meetings and elections. There will be an opportunity for dialogue with executive staff and to elect the political leaders of GFO at these meetings to ensure the organization is built from the ground up. The January meeting dates for each region are on page 18 and we look forward to seeing you there.
Please contact me directly if you have any questions or ideas. I welcome your input and look forward to working with you. •
Barry Senft, CEO, Grain Farmers of Ontario