WHEN GRAIN FARMERS OF ONTARIO wrapped up the Wheat Marketing program in 2020, the Board was presented with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reinvest in Ontario’s agriculture sector through the creation of a Legacy Fund.
The Grain Farmers of Ontario Legacy Fund is aptly named — the original wheat marketing fund was formed using contributions from the three organizations (Ontario Corn Producers’ Association, Ontario Soybean Growers, and Ontario Wheat Producers’ Marketing Board) that came together to form Grain Farmers of Ontario in 2010. The Legacy Fund gives us the opportunity to “think big” about ways to invest in the agriculture sector and in projects that align with our strategic plan.
In the fall of 2022, the Legacy Fund’s inaugural program was launched, with 10 outstanding Ontario students receiving scholarships. You can read about the scholarship program recipients — and their ambitious goals to help advance the agricultural industry — on page 30. And in January, Grain Farmers of Ontario invested a further $2 million from the Legacy Fund to support the Grain Farmers of Ontario Professorship in Field Crop Pathology at the University of Guelph’s Ridgetown Campus. With goals that include protecting grain crops from costly plant diseases of today and those in the future, the new position will help maintain and build the university’s leading expertise in field crop research and teaching.
Investments in research and knowledge transfer continue to be a priority for Grain Farmers of Ontario, helping us to meet the goals set out in our strategic plan. Through partnerships with government, universities, and industry, we support more than 70 active innovative and transformative research projects addressing our farmer-members’ challenges.
In 2022, we talked a lot about fertilizer — availability, pricing, tariffs, and more — and it was one of the most significant focuses for Grain Farmers of Ontario staff, delegates, and the Board of Directors. We commissioned the report by Josh Linville of StoneX to help frame the ongoing challenges and create a road map to mitigate and solve the challenges in the coming months and further into the future.
The January district meetings were a highlight for me — it was great to meet in person after two years of gathering virtually. Thank you to everyone who attended and to those farmer-members who let their names stand as delegates or directors. Delegates and directors play an important role in the organization, including serving on the committees that provide input and advice, and direct how Grain Farmers of Ontario funds will be invested in the programs, services, and research that will benefit our farmer-members and the agriculture industry. •