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Ontario’s fruit and vegetable growers re-elect board leaders

The Chair and Vice Chair of the Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Growers' Association have been re-elected to their positions for another one-year term. The elections were held at a board meeting following the organization's annual general meeting in Niagara Falls this week.

Vegetable grower Shawn Brenn will continue to serve as Chair, supported by Vice Chair Mike Chromczak, an asparagus grower from the Tillsonburg area.

"I truly believe the OFVGA has one of the strongest, most dedicated board and staff teams I've ever seen working on behalf of growers, and I'm proud to have been chosen by my peers to lead this organization for another year," says Brenn. "Issues around labor, grower profitability and competitiveness, and protecting domestic food production will continue to be a focus for our advocacy work with government and other stakeholders."

Brenn is president of Brenn-B Farms Ltd near Waterdown, where the fourth-generation family business grows potatoes, onions, cilantro, and dill, and corn, soybeans, and wheat as rotation crops. He represents the potato sector on the OFVGA board and is also Chair of the Ontario Potato Board. Brenn first became Chair of OFVGA in 2023 after serving one year as Vice Chair.

Chromczak is the owner and operator of M&J Chromczak Farms Inc., growing asparagus, watermelon, and row crops. He is also Vice Chair of the Asparagus Farmers of Ontario and Chair of the OFVGA's Safety Nets Section. He was first elected as the OFVGA Vice Chair in 2023.

Brian Rideout, already ex-officio on the Board as Chair of the Crop Protection Section, becomes the new director representing apple growers, taking over from Cathy McKay.

Other directors on the board are Jan VanderHout (greenhouse), George Gilvesy (greenhouse), Glen Gilvesy (ginseng), Joanne Chechalk (fresh vegetable – other), David Enns (Tender Fruit), Morris Gervais (small fruit/berries), Matthias Oppenlaender (grapes), Tracy Gubbels (processing vegetables) and Quinton Woods (fresh vegetable – muck).

VanderHout is also Chair of the Environment and Conservation Section. Other ex-officio section chairs include Bill George (Labour) and Brian Gilroy (Property, Infrastructure, Energy, and Food Safety).

The OFVGA also welcomed four young growers to its AGM as part of its annual young farmer program designed to encourage the next generation of farm leaders to become involved in the industry. Participants included Jessica Solanki (Grape Growers of Ontario), Evan Smith (Ontario Fresh Grape Growers), Dean Van Raay (Garlic Growers of Ontario), and Brandon Scholten (Holland Marsh Growers Association).

The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers' Association is the voice of Ontario's fruit and vegetable producers on issues affecting the horticulture sector.

For more information:
Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Grower's Association
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