FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - February 23, 2009
Dr. John Kelly Hired to Head Erie Agri-Food Innovation Initiative
Expanding the horizons of horticultural crops is objective of four-year posting
GUELPH, ON. – The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (OFVGA) is pleased to announce that Dr. John Kelly has been named
Vice-President, Erie Innovation and Commercialization, with a mandate to diversify the sand plains area of South Central Ontario Region (SCOR).
Through his tenure as Executive Director of MaRS Landing, Dr. Kelly brings many years of experience in the area of agriculture and agri-food innovation and commercialization. He will be starting his position at a Simcoe, Ontario location in early April.
“We knew that our biggest challenge would be to find the right person who possessed all the qualifications needed to fill this position,” says Brenda Lammens, Chair, OFVGA, the lead organization for the initiative.
“Dr. Kelly is extremely qualified and will bring professional credibility to our project and sustainability to our fragile agricultural sector. I am optimistic about the competitive advantage this will bring back to our sector."
The southwestern Ontario sand plains are best known for ginseng, tobacco, asparagus and cucumbers. Tobacco acres, in particular, need to transition to other crops. The intiative is designed to match grower capacity with new opportunities some of which may be in the industrial sector.
“We want to capitalize on the innovative climate in Ontario and the country, growing new crops and looking to harness the bioeconomy,” says Dr. John Kelly. “My first milestone will be to develop a strategic plan by end of 2009.”
Dr. Kelly has a wealth of experience in the private and public sector and has held various positions with start-ups and multinational companies, including KeliRo Company Inc., Land O’ Lakes, Ralston Purina, Rhone-Poulenc Canada Inc. and Aventis CropSciences Inc., as well as the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
Funded by the Agricultural Adaptation Council and several other partners, the Initiative will be governed by a steering committee of interested stakeholders.
For more information, contact:
The OFVGA is dedicated to the advancement of horticulture in the province of Ontario, working proactively through effective lobby
towards the betterment of the industry and its producers as a whole through advocacy, research, education, communication, and marketing. The Association has a clear mandate to be the “voice” for its 7,500 Ontario horticultural producers at governmental affairs,
national and international bodies, and to proactively seek resolution of issues affecting its membership throughout the year.
Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association
355 Elmira Road North • Suite 105 • Guelph, ON • N1K 1S5 Telephone: (519) 763-6160 • Fax: (519) 763-6604