Ontario’s GFO unites marketing boards Jan. 1

The Ontario government is expected to name an interim board to oversee the new Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) by the time it officially becomes the marketing board for corn, soy and wheat growers on Jan. 1, 2010.

The interim board would oversee GFO’s operations until its first elected board of directors can take office after regional elections, expected to be completed in early February, GFO said in a release Thursday.

An elected board of directors will then be in place by early March and will focus at first on policy development and business planning, the group said.

“For GFO to be successful right out of the gate, it is important for all members to shape and direct the organization by participating in the upcoming January meetings and elections,” GFO said.

Farmers were encouraged to attend, vote and dialogue with GFO’s executive staff “to ensure the organization is built from the ground up.”

GFO replaces the Ontario Corn Producers’ Association, Ontario Soybean Growers and Ontario Wheat Producers’ Marketing Board, after those groups’ farmer members voted in support of the new single organization.

“Getting the planning and regulatory framework right is essential to the successful operation of Grain Farmers of Ontario,” Geri Kamenz, chair of the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission, said in a provincial government release Thursday.

“Now producers can steer their new marketing board to capture market development, research and innovation opportunities.”

GFO will represents five million acres of farmland and $2.6 billion in sales, Ontario Soybean Growers chairman Leo Guilbeault noted in the same release.

Dave Whaley, who chairs the Ontario Wheat Producers’ Marketing Board, added that the membership is “pleased with the retention of marketing powers for wheat. This is an area where GFO can continue to add a lot of value to Ontario’s producers.”

“GFO will ensure our members have a strong voice on provincial and national issues as well as offering  programs and services that add value to their businesses,” GFO CEO Barry Senft said in the new group’s release.

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