The former head of Quebec’s main farm organization has been elected president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.
Laurent Pellerin, who until now was the CFA’s first vice-president, was elected to the post Wednesday during the CFA’s annual general meeting in Ottawa, defeating Ron Bonnett, the CFA’s second vice-president and a former president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.
Pellerin, who turns 60 this year, was president of Quebec’s politically influential Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA) from 1993 until late 2007, when he was handed a surprise electoral defeat by St-Vallier dairyman Christian Lacasse.
Pellerin, however, continued to represent UPA on the CFA board. In his role as CFA first vice-president, he has served with Bonnett as interim head of the national body since last fall. That’s when then-CFA president Bob Friesen quit the post after nine years to run unsuccessfully for the federal Liberals in Manitoba in the last federal election.
Pellerin and his wife bought a hog farm at Saint-Gregoire de Nicolet, across the St. Lawrence from his birthplace at Trois-Rivieres, in 1972. He became president of Quebec’s hog producer group, la Federation des producteurs de porcs du Quebec, in 1985, joining the UPA council and becoming vice-president of the Canadian Pork Council.
Pellerin was also named to the rank of chevalier in l’Ordre national du Quebec in 2005.
The Ottawa-based CFA is a farmer-funded national umbrella organization representing provincial general farm organizations and national commodity groups, through which it represents over 200,000 Canadian farm families from coast to coast.
The organization was to elect its new first and second vice-president on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.