OVER THE PAST two years we have become used to change — changing work environments, changing public health protocols, changing markets and supply chains. We have learned to adapt and as a result we have continued to prosper.
Change is not always a bad thing for an organization like Grain Farmers of Ontario. It creates the opportunity for fresh perspectives and new ideas. The farmers who helped build the foundation of our organization during the initial merger of corn, soybeans, and wheat in 2010 recognized this. That’s why a 12-year term limit was put into place for the Board of Directors.
This is the first year that limit has been reached, and as a result, the Board has seen a significant change in leadership with three directors completing their final term. Markus Haerle, Mark Huston, and Henry Van Ankum have been on the Grain Farmers of Ontario board since the very beginning, guiding the merger and shaping the strong organization we have become.
Markus, Mark, and Henry have dedicated a remarkable amount of time and effort to Grain Farmers of Ontario. The work they have accomplished can not easily be summed up in just a few words. Each in their own way played a key role in building our reputation, leading through a crisis, and navigating regulations and political priorities.
Directors represent our farmer-members beyond our provincial borders. They become the face of our organization and a trusted point of contact at the national and international levels as they advocate for open trade and market access, fight against regulatory issues that could negatively affect us, and share our story of sustainability and quality.
We are only a year into our new Strategic Plan. The direction it provides will ensure consistency in our values and goals as three new directors join the Board. I want to welcome Scott Fife, Steve Lake, and Gus Ternoey and congratulate them on their new roles. The delegates in their districts have selected them to be their voice at the provincial board table and I look forward to their contributions and insights. The rest of our Board remains unchanged — with those in even numbered districts being re-elected to their positions and those in odd-numbered districts continuing their two-year term. This continuity provides a support network for the new directors as they get acclimated to their new roles.
While we are on the topic of change, I also want to acknowledge a significant change to this publication. As you may be aware, Rachel Telford has taken on a new role within Grain Farmers of Ontario as the manager of Member Relations. This March edition of the Ontario Grain Farmer is her last as the managing editor. For nearly 100 issues of the magazine, Rachel has done a great job of ensuring the content reflected the activities and priorities of our organization, stayed current with industry news and events, and highlighted issues that mattered to you. The magazine is highly rated amongst our farmer-members and is an industry award-winning publication. Rachel has always worked quietly in the background to make it happen. I want to wish her well in her new role, which she is already settling into.
And one last final note — I hope to see everyone in person at the 2022 March Classic. It has been a long two years of COVID-19 restrictions and we are glad the lifting of public health restrictions is allowing us to once again come together. Of course, that is subject to change if the pandemic takes a different turn than anticipated, but we are hopeful everything will go according to plan. •