Keith Currie is back as president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA).
Currie won a fourth one-year term as president at the OFA annual meeting Nov. 18, 2019 in Hamilton.
The Simcoe County farmer won a close election over Peggy Brekveld, who has been an OFA vice president for the past five years.
She is a dairy farmer from northern Ontario and has been a member of the OFA board of directors for eight years.
Currie won 57 per cent of votes, to Brekveld’s 43 per cent.
Before the election, both answered questions from delegates, including multiple questions on relations with Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO), which once held a seat at the board of directors, but no longer does so.
Currie said that GFO has made it clear that it won’t be back as an OFA member, but he says that he continues to have regular and useful conversations with the senior leadership of GFO.
He encouraged OFA members to go back to their local Grain Farmers of Ontario organizations and to continue to encourage them to reach out to the OFA.
“We’d like nothing more than to have them part of our team” he said.
Brekveld encouraged more trust building with organizations like the GFO.
The presidential candidates were questioned about the potential of agriculture to contribute to climate change solutions.
Agriculture, along with forestry, are leaders in carbon sequestration, said Currie.
“We do have the answer, but we need to get the answer across,” he said.
Brekveld says that agriculture is part of the carbon cycle, with cattle eating plants, their waste returned to the land and carbon returning to the air where it them helps plants grow.
“There are such great opportunities for agriculture, but I don’t know that we are always recognized for it. The story sometimes gets stuck on what the cow is doing.”
Other OFA election results
Brekveld and Mark Reusser were re-elected as vice presidents of the organization in a very close vote. OFA board member Crispin Colvin of Middlesex County also stood for election as vice-president. Reusser defeated Colvin by one vote in the election.
There was an active election for the position of OFA director-at-large, with six people vying. Huron County pork and garlic producer Teresa Van Raay won the election, which took several rounds of voting before she emerged with more than 50 per cent of the vote. Other candidates included Erica Miles, Richard Pringle, David Ritchie, Sara Wood and Adrian Wynands.