Ontario Pork’s first female chair and a number of new directors will lead the organization while a major overhaul of its mandate waits in the wings, pending hog farmers’ appeals.
Previously the director for Zone B (Districts 7-12), Wilma Jeffray of Bruce County was elected last week as chair for a one-year term, replacing Curtiss Littlejohn of Brant County. As well, Mary-Ann Hendrikx of Middlesex was named vice-chair, replacing Jeffray.
“We recognize the challenges that lie ahead and want to work with all our partners to do what is best for producers and the market in general,” Jeffray said in a release Thursday.
Responding to appeals filed by a number of hog farmers, the Ontario government’s Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal last month slapped a continuing stay on last October’s order from the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission (OFPMC) mandatory to optional hog marketing agency.
The tribunal’s stay order put the proposed changes to Ontario Pork on hold until this Friday (April 17) at the absolute earliest, when the tribunal continues its pre-hearing conference on the matter.
OFPMC had issued an order to Ontario Pork that the bulk of the overhaul come into effect “in or about” April this year, in which Ontario Pork must develop an plan to move from a mandatory marketing organization to one offering producers “choices in marketing methods.”
When or if that move happens, Ontario Pork would still have authority to “represent, and collect license fees from, producers of all classes of pigs, including weaners and breeding stock” and to address pork industry issues on hog farmers’ behalf.
But in a deregulated scenario as the OFPMC proposes, Ontario Pork would only be able to review and approve direct-supply contracts for hogs if either a buyer or a seller asks, and would be able to market pigs for producers on a fee-for-service basis.
Jeffray, Hendrikx, Littlejohn and fellow directors Beth Clark of Simcoe County, Oliver Haan of Northumberland-Quinte and Steve Illick of Wellington County will form this year’s Ontario Pork executive.
Former Huron County director Teresa Van Raay takes over Districts 1 through 6 as the new director of Zone A, replacing Clare Schlegel, while Doug Ahrens is the new representative for Perth County (District 4) replacing Phil Anwender.
Amy Cronin of Huron County will now represent District 3, taking over from Teresa Van Raay. Greg Haskett was elected as the new representative for Oxford County (District 5), replacing Jasper Vanderbas. And John Lammers of Lambton County now represents District 1, taking over from Bill Wymenga.