Junior Farmers Association marks 75 years

GUELPH – Junior Farmers across Ontario are getting ready to celebrate.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Junior Farmers of Ontario (JFAO).

In a recent interview with the Advertiser JFAO general manager Vicki Dickson said part of those celebrations include its annual golf tournament at the Elmira Golf Club on July 26 followed by a 75th anniversary banquet at the Brampton Fairgrounds.

In addition, she said Honda Canada has provided an ATV which will be raffled to provide more funds for the organization.

On Nov. 17 and 18, the JFAO is hosting the Ontario Young Farmers Forum at the Hamilton Convention Centre.

Dickson noted the current president Nic Weber.

Dickson said “for 75 years, the JFAO has been alive and well.”

She noted Junior Farmers dates back even further with the first meeting held in 1914.

Dickson explained that along with various local groups, there is the provincial organization which operates in Guelph.

Junior Farmers exists young people between 15 and 29.

“The focus is really to develop future rural leaders,” Dickson said.

She added JFAO offers various training and development opportunities, conferences, ag education through the Ontario Young Farmers Forum.

Dickson added that at the local level, Junior Farmers give back to the community in ways such as fundraising, roadside cleanups, host charity events and work in local foodbanks.

“There’s a long list of ways local clubs give back to the community.”

Provincially, those same members can attend leadership camps to advance their personal development.

Dickson said the Junior Farmers clubs in Wellington and Waterloo are alive and well. She added “the alumni membership is very large, we’re closing in on 5,000 alumni – farmers over age 29 – who are still actively involved.”

In a letter written by past president Erich Weber noted “we are proud of our continued investment in our members as they are our province’s leaders of today & tomorrow.”

He stated “the mission statement “to build rural leaders through personal growth, travel, experiences and community betterment” guides our strategies and the investment in our membership and our communities. The leadership skills our members gain, throughout the year, are a benefit to each of them personally, as well as the community in which they live and work.”

Weber added “Members of the JFAO have gone on to become successful business leaders, politicians and positive contributing members of their communities.  Hundreds of volunteer hours and thousands of dollars are invested back into our communities each year reflecting the strong commitment our membership has to rural Ontario.”

History of JFAO

Weber wrote “For nearly a century, JFAO members have helped shape rural and urban Ontario.  Politicians, senators, teachers, farmers, medical professionals, representatives of the legal profession, and community leaders represent just a few vocations chosen by JFAO members, past and present.  Our history is rich and our future holds endless opportunities.”

JFAO’s Unique Approach

Weber added “As the only youth organization run by youth for youth, JFAO holds a unique and important role in shaping the future of Ontario. JFAO gives young people the opportunity to develop their leadership skills through hands on experience. Members, encouraged to act on their ideas, are continuously going above and beyond the call of duty.”