Source: Beef Farmers of Ontario
This week, delegates attending the Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) 57th Annual General Meeting in Toronto approved an increase ($1.50) to the provincial portion of the beef cattle check-off in Ontario with strong support and a vote of 87 per cent in favour of the increase. BFO will begin the formal process of requesting that the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission amend Regulation 54 of the Beef Cattle Marketing Act. Upon approval, combined with the existing mandatory $1.00 per head federal agency levy, total Ontario check-off per head will be increased from $4.00 to $5.50 per head.
Of the approved increase, $1.25 will be dedicated to support a new joint venture between BFO and the Ontario Cattle Feeders’ Association (OCFA) and the development of a marketing committee that will be focused on increasing market penetration of Ontario-branded beef, both at home and abroad. The committee will provide support and promotion for all Ontario beef brands in regional, domestic and international markets by working with farmers and partners in the processing, retail and foodservice sectors. The remaining $0.25 will be directed to BFO for continued support of producer and consumer engagement activities.
“We thank our membership for recognizing the importance of the increase. While we have a lot of work ahead of us, we believe the more focused efforts and dollars spent on increasing the demand and availability of Ontario beef in the marketplace will begin to improve all of our margins from the cow-calf sector through to the feedlot,” said Joe Hill, BFO President. “As an industry, rather than riding the unpredictable waves of the cattle market, we now have a plan to help change our path and to create more stability in our sector. The increased investment from our membership will benefit many farmers, both existing and beginning, for many years to come.”
At the meeting this week, the Board of Directors of BFO elected their 2019 president and vice president. Joe Hill will continue to lead the association in the year ahead as president with Rob Lipsett continuing his role as vice president.
Joining the BFO Board in 2019 are Don Badour, Mert Schneider and Ron Stevenson who will all serve three-year terms. Badour, who will represent the cow-calf sector on the board, resides in Perth, Ontario where he operates a cow-calf operation with his family. Schneider will serve as feedlot director, and will replace Tom Wilson who completed three terms on the board. Schneider and his family operate a feedlot and cash crop operation in Palmerston, Ontario. Lastly, Ron Stevenson was acclaimed to the position of southern director, and will replace Cory Van Groningen who completed two terms on the board. Ron and his family live in Walton, Ontario and operate a cow-calf and feedlot operation.
Returning to the BFO Board is Dave Cavanagh of Ennismore, Ontario who was elected by voting delegates to represent the eastern region of Ontario, and Dan Darling of Castleton, Ontario was elected to the position of at-large. Darling will replace Kim Sytsma who completed one term on the BFO Board.
BFO Board of Directors and staff welcomed over 400 attendees at this year’s AGM, including a number of Members of Provincial Parliament who attended the evening banquet. BFO was pleased to have the Honourable Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs meet with delegates at the banquet. During Minister Hardeman’s address, he announced changes to the Ontario Feeder Cattle Loan Guarantee Program. The changes will reduce unnecessary and costly credit checks to better align with lender and borrower business practices and expectations. The revisions will also streamline the transfer of ownership of livestock once a loan is paid off, which will directly benefit beef farmers who are members of the program.
“BFO has been working with the province for quite some time to address guidelines within the Ontario Feeder Cattle Loan Guarantee Program that didn’t align with current business practices of the program co-ops,” said Hill. “The changes will address many of the concerns we’ve outlined with respect to the operation of the program, and we appreciate the Minister’s continued efforts to reduce regulatory burden for our farmers.”
Under Regulation 54 of the Beef Cattle Marketing Act, a compulsory check-off on per head sold by cattle farmers is payable to BFO to fund the Association. Packing plant operators, auction market operators and livestock dealers are required to deduct the check-off from the proceeds payable to the seller and remit check-off fees to BFO. Breeding stock, cull dairy cows and beef calves are included. Exemptions only exist for cattle sold for the production of milk and veal.
BFO’s Board of Directors consists of 12 elected officials – three from the cow-calf sector, three from the feedlot sector, one from the backgrounder sector, one each representing the southern, northern and eastern regions of Ontario, and two elected at-large. Directors are elected for three-year terms on a rotating basis, serving a maximum of three consecutive terms.
The Ontario Feeder Cattle Loan Guarantee Program was established in 1990 to provide low-interest loans to beef farmers in the province through 16 local co-operatives. The program is backed by a 25% provincial government guarantee which has never been drawn on in the program’s history, which speaks to the strength of the program. Since its inception, the program has provided young, beginning and expanding farmers a reliable source of credit at affordable rates with favourable repayment terms.
Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) is the leading organization in Ontario working with all beef farmers to develop and support landmark achievements that move Ontario’s beef industry forward sustainably and profitably. BFO is involved in a wide range of issues and initiatives that are important to all stakeholders within Ontario’s beef industry which include industry sustainability, trade, animal health and care, environment and food safety.