For Immediate Release
Members vote yes to amalgamate OFAC and AGCare
(Guelph) August 31, 2011 – An amalgamation of two Ontario agricultural coalitions will become the first of its kind in Canada, bringing together the crops, horticulture and livestock sectors. The amalgamation will result in the Ontario Farm Animal Council (OFAC) and Agricultural Groups Concerned about Resources and the Environment (AGCare) becoming one new, yet-unnamed organization. This new group will be launched January 1, 2012 after an overwhelming vote of endorsement and support by their memberships at a special meeting on August 26, 2011.
OFAC and AGCare members heard presentations by the boards’ current chairmen, John Maaskant and Paul Wettlaufer, as well as by the organizations’ legal counsel, Stephen Smith of Miller Thomson. Draft bylaws were also presented for review and discussion. Following the vote, Rob McLean of Sociable Communications took the group through a branding exercise that will help prioritize the goals and objectives of the new organization.
John Maaskant, Chair of the Ontario Farm Animal Council, commended the members on the vote and called the decision “an historic day for both organizations”. Said Maaskant, “Just as the founders of both organizations showed leadership in 1987 when they decided to form these groups, you’ve shown the same today. This new organization will be better able to answer consumer questions about food and farming in the years to come.”
“Both OFAC and AGCare were formed as the first coalitions of their kind in North America in 1987. We have worked together in many areas, and have shared office space, staff and projects for several years,” said Paul Wettlaufer, chair of AGCare.
“We began discussing a possible amalgamation two years ago and now look forward to working together on behalf of the whole sector for the future,” he continued.
An interim Board of Directors consisting of representatives from both groups has been elected for a term between January 1, 2012 and the organization’s annual meeting in April of 2012. At that annual meeting, a new board of 12 will be elected by the membership and will consist of four livestock directors, four crop directors and four directors at large. The new organization will also have two advisory councils – one focusing on animal care issues and the other on the environment. Nominations to those councils by members will begin shortly.
In May, a “Name our Name” contest run through Twitter and Facebook attracted 127 entries from across Canada and the United States. Submissions have been narrowed to a short list of finalists with a new name being announced later this fall.
OFAC is the voice for animal agriculture, providing a coordinated effort on issues related to animal agriculture and food production including farm animal care, environment, new technology and food safety. OFAC represents Ontario’s 40,000 livestock and poultry farmers and related agri-businesses.
AGCare, Agricultural Groups Concerned About Resources and the Environment, is a coalition of farm organizations committed to communicating about agriculture and the environment. It serves as the voice of Ontario’s 45,000 farmers who grow fruit, vegetables, and field crops on environmental issues.
For more information:
Crystal Mackay, AGCare and OFAC Executive Director, Phone: 519-837-1326, extension 223