OFA president Crews won’t seek re-election

Ontario Federation of Agriculture President Bette Jean Crews announced this morning she won’t seek re-election to the president’s position in November, citing a need to concentrate her efforts on her family farm. Here’s the text of the message she sent to, among others, agricultural media in Ontario:

Dear friends and colleagues,

By way of this message, I am informing you that I will not be seeking re-election as OFA president.

I am returning to a more active role in the operation of our family farm business. I am announcing this now, because I want to be fair to OFA members who may be considering putting their name forward for an executive position at the OFA AGM November 21-22, 2011. 

I will complete my term as President with the same commitment and energy as I have given since first elected in 2009.  I am proud of the OFA’s accomplishments during the terms in which I have had the privilege and trust to be your President. 

For me, there have been many highlights.  In this past year alone we have accomplished the Risk Management Program and the united voice of OASC. The National Food Strategy,  a proposal initiated by OFA, was presented to Federal and Provincial Ag Ministers. A new market-value based schedule for wildlife damage to livestock. A cervid management plan was created that enables farmer control of problem elk and an elk hunt this fall. Farmers realized a three-year exemption under bobolink preservation regulations and a joint industry-government committee to design protection policy that will work for agriculture. And finally, OFA’s role in the Open for Business consultation has already reduced regulations by nearly 30 per cent and put a new process in place for regulation development, interpretation and enforcement. 

All of this, and more, demonstrates the farm community’s ability to work together. It shows how we can achieve success when we take an active role in designing solutions.  Well-articulated, well-defended positions supported by a unified sector can bring results.

I have enjoyed my years of service to the Ontario farm community as part of the OFA Executive committee for the past 11 years.  I have the immense privilege of meeting hundreds of hard working Ontario farmers and their families.  That is the real joy of the work and memories that I will always treasure.  I have also had the privilege of working with OFA general manager Neil Currie and his staff members who are outstanding and a credit to OFA.  Thank you all.

I will continue to serve the farmers of Ontario on the OFA Board as Zone Director for Northumberland, Hastings, Prince Edward and Lennox and Addington counties.  When elections are held this year I will be past president, and in that portfolio I intend to use the experience of the past 11 years to further advance the issues affecting Ontario agriculture. 

Thank you to Ontario farmers for the years of confidence and support.

Bette Jean Crews,

President and Zone 12 Director

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