Robbins named new processing vegetable growers manager

The new GM will join the organization at a time of change in marketing

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Keith Robbins is the new general manager of the Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers (OPVG).

Robbins, who comes from the Poultry Industry Council to the OPVG, is an experienced employee and manager of agriculture industry associations.

Robbins starts his new role Sept. 17 and takes over from Cathy Lennon who is the new general manager of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.

Robbins has 27 years of experience in management, communications and marketing, mostly in the hog and poultry sectors.

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He comes to the OPVG during a challenging time for the organization which has been targeted for change for the past several years by the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission (OFPMC).

The OFPMC is the arm’s-length commission that sets rules for farm organization on behalf of the provincial government.

A first attempt to reorganize and free up processing vegetable marketing resulted in little change under the previous Liberal government. A second round has been initiated under the current Conservative government, especially relating to processing tomatoes.

The OPVG has unique power to negotiate crop pricing on behalf of growers with processors.

“We welcome Keith to OPVG and look forward to his leadership and guidance as the organization faces changes to how we market Ontario’s diverse range of processing vegetable crops,” says Dave Hope, chair of the OPVG board. “Keith’s experience in other ag sectors will bring a perspective that will benefit our producer members, and we know his level-headed approach will be a tremendous asset to our organization.”

Robbins graduated from Centralia College with an agricultural business management diploma in 1989, graduated from Conestoga College with a certificate in volunteer board management in 1993, attended the University of Waterloo for a bachelor of environmental studies in 1993 and obtained his executive development program from the George Morris Centre in 2005.

Farm gate receipts for processing vegetables totaled almost $100 million in 2018.

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