Ontario Grain Farmer April/May 2024

THIS WINTER, GRAIN FARMERS OF ONTARIO DIRECTORS, DELEGATES, AND STAFF WERE ON THE ROAD, attending some of the biggest and best winter agricultural shows Ontario has to offer. Our Grain Farmers of Ontario booth was set up at the Chatham Farm Show, the London Farm Show, the East Central Farm Show in Lindsay, and the Ottawa Valley Farm Show. These shows are an important way for us to connect with you, our farmer-members, to share information, discuss important topics, and hear from you directly about the issues that affect you and your farm. In a couple of weeks, we’ll be heading north to the Earlton Farm Show — look for our Grain Farmers of Ontario display and stop by to chat! One of the largest shows in North America is the annual Commodity Classic, this year, held in Houston, Texas. Billed as the largest farmer-led, farmer-focused agricultural and educational experience, the show is jam-packed with educational sessions, speakers, a trade show, and more. For Grain Farmers of Ontario, it is an important opportunity to connect with stakeholders and others in the industry. This year, I attended along with Grain Farmers of Ontario directors Brendan Byrne, District 1 (Essex), Scott Persall, District 5 (Elgin, Norfolk), Josh Boersen, District 9 (Perth), Jeff Harrison, Grain Farmers of Ontario chair and director of District 12 (Durham, Northumberland, Kawartha, Peterborough, Hastings), along with Paul Hoekstra, vice president, strategic development, and Marty Vermey, senior agronomist. While at the Classic, we met with several of our industry counterparts, including the American Soybean Association (ASA), the National Corn Growers Association, and representatives from the Canadian Embassy. While we are happy to compete with our US counterparts for markets, we have a lot of common interests — open trade, strong support for biofuels, and enabling regulations and public support for agriculture and farmers. Sharing and collaborating on these issues makes us all stronger. We also heard from Tom Vilsack, secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where he touched on important trade issues, including the Canada-U.S.-Mexico trade agreement, which is set to renew in 2026. Also attending the Commodity Classic was Kelsey Banks, a delegate from District 13 (Prince Edward, Lennox, Addington, Frontenac, Lanark, Leeds, Grenville, Renfrew, Ottawa), and her partner Billy DeJong. They represented Grain Farmers of Ontario as participants in the American Soybean Association Corteva Agriscience Young Leaders Program. As affiliate members of the ASA, Grain Farmers of Ontario sponsors a participant in this program annually. The leadership skills that farmer-members like Kelsey learn through this program help strengthen the leadership capacity of Grain Farmers of Ontario. Congratulations to Kelsey and Billy for graduating from the program! And I may be biased — but the highlight of the March show season is the Grain Farmers of Ontario March Classic, this year held March 19 at RBC Place in London. This is an event I look forward to all year — it is an opportunity to welcome farmer-members, industry, and government representatives to celebrate the Ontario grain and oilseed industry. I want to extend my sincere thanks to Grain Farmers of Ontario staff who work tirelessly behind the scenes to host such an impressive, high-calibre event with top-notch speakers, entertainment, and hospitality. Now that the busy winter farm meeting and event season is wrapping up, I, like many of you, am gearing up for #plant24. We all have our fingers crossed for a great season — whatever may come our way this year, Grain Farmers of Ontario will work on your behalf to help drive the industry forward and make you and your farm successful.• Crosby Devitt, CEO, Grain Farmers of Ontario 4 From the CEO’s desk The shows go on GRAIN FARMERS OF ONTARIO DIRECTORS AND STAFF MET WITH MEMBERS OF THE ASA AT THE ANNUAL COMMODITY CLASSIC.