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Members voted overwhelmingly in favour of amalgamating OFAC and AGCare

GUELPH - An amalgamation of two Ontario agricultural coalitions will be 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, as yet unnamed organization. The new group will be launched Jan. 1 after an overwhelming vote of endorsement and support by their memberships at a special meeting in August.

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. 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 set the goals of the new organization.

Maaskant, of the Ontario Farm Animal Council, commended the members on the vote and called the decision “an historic day for both organizations.”

He said, “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.”

Wettlaufer, chairman of AGCare, said, “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.”

“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 Jan. 1 and the organization’s annual meeting in April.

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.


October 7, 2011


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