Jason Verkaik elected to second term of Board Chair at the OFVGA

AGM Jan and Jason
Jason Verkaik (far left) and Jan VanderHout (far right) will continue their positions as Chair and Vice Chair in 2016.

The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (OFVGA) is welcoming Jason Verkaik to his second elected term of Chair to the OFVGA Board of Directors at the 157th annual general meeting in Niagara Falls on January 12, 2016.

Verkaik is the President of Carron Farms Ltd. located near Bradford, ON in the Holland Marsh. As a third-generation farmer, the Verkaik family has been operating their farm since 1934, growing, packing, and shipping farm fresh vegetables and even operating a community supported agriculture (CSA) business on-site. He got his start at OFVGA in 2010 as a director representing fresh vegetable (muck). Verkaik became the Vice Chair in 2013 and 2014, and served his first term as Chair in 2015. In 2011, Verkaik was named a finalist in Ontario’s Outstanding Young Farmer competition.

“Now more than ever, growers in Ontario are facing significant challenges related to climate change, labour, and crop protection,” Verkaik says. “OFVGA has a unique and important set of goals to be sure that horticulture as a whole is represented on a provincial and federal level. Engaging with our leaders is on this sector’s needs is a role I take very seriously. Over the next year, I hope we can continue bringing these leaders to the industries table.”

At the first board meeting of the year, held February 11, 2016, Jan Vanderhout (greenhouse vegetable) was nominated for a second term as Vice Chair. Joining him on the board of directors are many familiar faces, including John Thwaites (tender fruit), Mac James (potatoes), Norm Charbonneau (small fruit/berries), Kenny Forth (fresh vegetables), Bill George (grapes), and Ken Van Torre (ginseng). Two new board members were added; Mike Chromczak (asparagus) and George Gilvesy (greenhouse), who has been present on the board after the retirement of Don Taylor in October.

Serving as section chairs in 2016 are Charles Stevens (crop protection), Mark Wales (safety nets), Harold Schooley (research), Brian Gilroy (property), Ken Forth (labour), and Adrian Huisman, providing a link to the Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC).

“We have a strong selection of board members from the industry that create a well-rounded group of growers all committed to the lobbying efforts of OFVGA,” Executive Vice President, John Kelly says. “We’re excited to be moving ahead with many projects for 2016.”

The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers' Association (OFVGA) has been advocating for fruit and vegetable farmers for over 150 years as a nationally recognized not-for-profit association. The edible horticulture sector supports 30,000 farm-based, non-family jobs in Ontario, as well as a further 8,700 jobs specific to horticulture and specialty crops. Over 125 different fruit and vegetable crops are grown in Ontario.

For more information and photographs of the award recipient, please contact:
Katie Burt, Communications Specialist, OFVGA
519-763-6160 X125