FARMERS ARE ALWAYS making decisions – each year, they set goals and expectations and plan what to plant, when to plant, where to plant, when to spray or fertilize, when to harvest, and when to sell. As circumstances, sometimes out of anyone’s control, like weather, change throughout the season, sometimes those decisions change. All those decisions culminate at harvest when the crops come off, and then it is time to sit back and reflect on the series of decisions that were made and how they impacted the final outcome — and take what was learned to help make decisions the following year.
Grain Farmers of Ontario operates in a similar way. At the beginning of each fiscal year, the Board of Directors and staff make a plan, set goals and objectives, and make decisions that set the course for the organization for the coming year. A reality is that our industry is always changing, and unforeseen events can make a shift in action necessary — for example, no one predicted the war in Ukraine would cause fertilizer shortages and the Canadian government would impose tariffs on previously purchased fertilizer.
For Grain Farmers of Ontario, the opportunity to reflect on how we achieved our goals and objectives — and how our decisions netted results for farmer-members — occurs annually at our annual general meeting in September. This year, we were excited to meet in person in Woodstock on September 13. Our Board, delegates, farmer-members, and staff gathered to review financial statements, hear about the work that was done, and reflect upon the past year. And, the farmer-members got to make some decisions — resolutions adopted at the meeting will be taken back to the Board for discussion and action.
The annual meeting was held in conjunction with Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show, and it was great to walk the show, chat with farmer-members, and visit the vendors to see what’s new and exciting. For many farmers, the opportunity to “kick some tires” or talk to sales reps is part of their decision-making process — will they buy a new piece of equipment? Try a new crop variety? Or perhaps implement some new technology on their farm? The Outdoor Farm Show is the place to go to gather information to help inform those decisions.
We were pleased to see so many farmer-members drop by our booth at the Outdoor Farm Show and, later in September, at the International Plowing Match in Kemptville. It was great to see so many people face-to-face, talk to farmer-members about their concerns, hear their feedback, and connect with industry colleagues after two years of cancellations and virtual meetings and events. Taking some time away from the office to attend these annual events was a great decision! •