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Ontario Grain Farmer Magazine is the flagship publication of Grain Farmers of Ontario and a source of information for our province’s grain farmers. 

Looking back, moving forward

FROM THE CEO'S DESK

Crosby Devitt, CEO, Grain Farmers of Ontario

MAY 1 MARKED A SIGNIFICANT MILESTONE in Ontario agriculture – the 150th anniversary of the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) at the University of Guelph. On this day, Aggies from across Canada (and the world!) celebrated by wearing their OAC jackets and sharing photos on social media. As an OAC ’97 graduate and dad to an OAC ’26 student, my son Clayton and I proudly donned our jackets to commemorate this day.

Over the next eight months, OAC will be hosting a number of events and activities to celebrate its 150-year history. Growing from a small, one-year program to train agriculture students to a world- renowned institution with campuses in Guelph and Ridgetown offering diploma, undergraduate, and graduate degree programs, the OAC is integral to the success of Ontario’s agriculture industry — training the next generation of Ontario farmers, agronomists, researchers, and entrepreneurs, and conducting the research on the most pressing issues that Ontario’s farmers face. You can read more about some of the bright, young graduate students, researchers, and faculty in OAC in this special edition of the Ontario Grain Farmer, Next-Gen Agriculture.

Grain Farmers of Ontario is a proud supporter of OAC and the University of Guelph – we have funded the Grain Farmers of Ontario Wheat Professorship in Wheat Breeding and Genetics, headed by Dr. Helen Booker, and the Grain Farmers of Ontario Professorship in Field Crop Pathology at the Ridgetown Campus (where a search is currently underway for a candidate). We make annual investments — last year, more than $1.85 million — in research projects, many of which are led by OAC researchers. Student groups and projects, campus facilities, and the annual College Royal Open House have all benefited from Grain Farmers of Ontario’s investment.

Supporting OAC is just one of the ways that Grain Farmers of Ontario invests in the ‘next generation’ who will lead the agriculture industry into the future. Our Grain Farmers of Ontario Legacy Fund Scholarships, support of leadership programs like Nuffield Canada and the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program, and investments in developing leaders in the agriculture industry through Grain Farmers of Ontario programs like Grains in Action and the Women’s Grain Symposium are all ways that farmer-member dollars are put to good use to advance the industry. I can attest to the importance of investment in leadership opportunities — I was a Canada Nuffield Scholar in 2012, and the skills, international contacts, and learning that I gained have been instrumental in my work in Ontario agriculture. By travelling around the world and meeting farmers, researchers, and agricultural business leaders, my eyes were opened to new ways of thinking, and I gained an incredible appreciation for how fortunate we are in Ontario to have the opportunity to grow abundant, safe, and reliable grains and oilseeds to supply Canada and the world.

Grain Farmers of Ontario has continued to advocate for risk management programs that help farmers manage the risk on their farms. While these programs are important for all farmers, we know that for younger farmers, whose tolerance for risk may be lower, programs like crop insurance and Ontario’s Risk Management Program are vital. We also continue to advocate on important files such as carbon tax, fertilizer, and programs to support our farmer members.

I’m writing this editorial in early May when ongoing rain has kept many farmers out of the field. By the time you read this in June, I hope that #plant24 is wrapping up and Ontario is well on the way to a great growing season.

In this issue: