Cattlemen Elect New President, Hear from Minister of Agriculture, US Consul General

    GUELPH, ON, Feb. 22 /CNW/ - More than 500 beef farmers from across
Ontario congregated in Toronto this week for the Ontario Cattlemen's
Association (OCA) Annual General Meeting. Guest speakers at the meeting
included Ontario Minister of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs, The
Honourable Leona Dombrowsky and Mr. John Nay, US Consul General to Canada.
Major topics of discussion included the need for longer-term funding to beef
producers who are currently suffering crippling pricing lows. The financial
crisis is due to a number of factors including: changes in government
regulations; impact of the ethanol industry; trade complications, and the
rapid rise of the Canadian dollar.
    This year's AGM also included a special panel discussion entitled
"Meeting Our Challenges". Panelists included Alistair Polson of Wanganui, New
Zealand; Mike Buis, former OCA President and Advisory Councillor from Kent
County; and Jim Oehmke of the George Morris Centre. Given the financial crisis
in the beef industry, they spoke about what they are doing to face challenges
personally, and challenges and opportunities in the global economy.
    Leading the 2008 Board of Directors is President, Gord Hardy of Middlesex
County. Along with his family, Hardy operates a feedlot near Lucan.
    "I'd like to thank the beef producers of this province for their
confidence and faith," says Hardy. "I know that times are tough for all of us.
But, we are in this together and my commitment to all of them is that the 2008
OCA Board will work hard on their behalf with government to create solutions
and help meet our challenges in the immediate future."
    "I look forward to working closely with Gord in meeting the needs of
producers of the next year," says Curtis Royal, Feedlot Director from Simcoe
County, who begins his first term as Vice-President. "I don't expect it will
be easy and I know there are a lot of tough decisions ahead for the OCA Board.
But I also know that OCA's Board is dedicated, and, along with the OCA staff,
we are in a good position to achieve some great things."
    Ian McKillop, former President stepped down this year, as did John
Newman, who was Director for Eastern Ontario.
    Re-elected to the Board was Doug Kaufman representing Feedlot producers.
Doug and his family live and operate their farm in Oxford County. New to the
Board are Rick Hobbs (cow/calf) from Ottawa District, Bill Herron
(backgrounder) from Grey County, and Hank Hiddink (Eastern) from Prince Edward
County. Continuing to serve out their terms are cow/calf producers Kim Sytsma
of Leeds County and Dan Darling of Northumberland; Feedlot Directors, Curtis
Royal of Simcoe County and Paul Sharpe of Wellington County. Gord Hardy of
Middlesex County continues to serve as Director from the South and Jim Martin
of Manitoulin Island as Director from the North. Rounding out the Board of
Directors are Directors-at-Large Bob Gordanier of Wellington County and John
Gillespie of Waterloo County.
    Following a 2003 restructuring of the organization, OCA'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; three
representing geographic regions of Ontario and two elected on an At-Large
basis. Directors are elected for three-year terms on a rotating basis. Each
year, voting delegates to the AGM elect three members to the Board.

    The Ontario Cattlemen's Association represents the interests of 19,000
Ontario beef producers. The complete 2007 OCA annual report can be viewed on
the OCA Web site at after March 7th.

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/

For further information:

For further information: Gord Hardy, OCA President: (519) 227-1113;
Lianne Appleby, OCA Communications Manager: (519) 824-0334; Dave Stewart, OCA
Executive Director: (519) 824-0334

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Ontario Cattlemen's Association

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