IT’S HARD TO believe it has been 10 years since Grain Farmers of Ontario was formed. In some ways it seems like no time at all has passed, but then when you look at all that has taken place, it seems like it can’t just be 10 years we are celebrating. There have been a lot of changes over these years. Technology is playing a bigger role in farming and farms are becoming more productive, planting and growing conditions are changing, the agriculture industry is expanding in areas and contracting in other areas, markets are opening-up and closing, the public interest in agriculture has increased beyond what anyone could have imagined and government agendas are becoming more challenging to navigate. Farmers are facing more uncertainties than when Grain Farmers of Ontario was first formed, and challenges over the last couple of years are a real issue for farmers.
Grain Farmers of Ontario is an organization that we can proudly say has worked like a finely tuned machine to address all that has taken place over the last 10 years and is ready to take on the next 10 because of the farmer-members, the delegates, the board of directors, and the Grain Farmers of Ontario staff. At this point, I just want to say how proud I am of the employees of Grain Farmers of Ontario. As I reflect back on the last 10 years, I want to recognize the professionalism and the expertise of our staff today and those staff who are no longer with the organization.
Together over these 10 years, we have built an organization that has the depth to effectively address complexities of the environment farms operate within. Whether the issue is agronomic, markets and marketing, government relations, reaching out to the public, or all issues combined — Grain Farmers of Ontario is the farmers’ organization to deal with the issues. This organization has the ability to make sense of all the issues and opportunities and churn out the best results. Sometimes just like farming, the results are not always what were we hoping for, but the best outcome is achieved because we have the best machine working on it.
I hear almost everywhere I go, amazement over what Grain Farmers of Ontario is today and what the delegates, board and staff have accomplished for grains and oilseed farmers. There were many who knew we could do it and fought to make that happen.
There are a lot of memories from the birth of Grain Farmers of Ontario until now and I want to thank and congratulate everyone involved in making Grain Farmers of Ontario a success story. I want to give a special recognition and thank you to the farmers who had the foresight and determination about 15 years ago to deliver on their vision to build a strong organization that would truly serve Ontario farmer needs, especially now as we need it the most. •
Hear more from Barry Senft about the past 10 years as CEO of Grain Farmers of Ontario in this episode of the GrainTALK podcast. •