The 2023 Junior Farmers’ Association of Ontario (JFAO) March Conference took place in Kitchener from March 24th to 26th, 2023. Under the conference theme of Channel Surfing, members and recent alumni gathered to network, learn, and usher in the new JFAO year.
Annual General MeetingThe weekend began with what might have been JFAO’s fastest Annual General Meeting (AGM). Effective and efficient meetings have been an objective of the 2021 and 2022 JFAO executive committees, and this was evident in the day’s proceedings. From the presentation of reports to the review of the financial statements, and the examination of constitutional changes, the meeting moved at a smooth pace. 2020 JFAO alumni Quintina Cuddihy was appointed as scrutineer to lead the board through the election process. Thank you to Quintina for volunteering her time to support the association and keep the agenda on schedule. Upon election as the 80th President of JFAO Jolande Oudshoorn of Huron Perth Junior Farmers shared, “I’m honoured to be elected as JFAO’s 80th President. I’m looking forward to the upcoming year, supporting clubs and their goals, meeting people and seeing new places. I’m also excited to be on the committee that is bringing back Leadership Camp after four years and look forward to what our executive achieves!”
2023 JFAO Executive Directors and Organization RepresentativesJolande will be joined on the Executive Committee with a contingent of JFAO members from across the province, who were elected following the confirmation of Past President Jamie Schultz of Renfrew County Junior Farmers. Congratulations to the 2023 JFAO Executive Directors and Organization Representatives:
- Executive Director of Finance – Stephanie Mayes, Wellington County Junior Farmers
- Executive Director of Programming – Patrick Sullivan, Carleton County Junior Farmers
- Executive Director of Communications – Tina Wark, Grey County Junior Farmers
- Executive Director of Community and International Programs – Nic Willemsma, Essex-Kent Junior Farmers
- East Zone Director – Marissa Mulligan, Renfrew County Junior Farmers
- Central Zone Director – Alex Isaac, Grey County Junior Farmers
- West Zone Director – Christena Jenkins-Giffen, Middlesex Junior Farmers
- Social Media Representative – Keely Henderson, Renfrew County Junior Farmers
- 4-H Ontario Representative – Dougie Robinson, Stormont-Glengarry Junior Farmers
- Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) Representative – Derrick Leclair, Essex-Kent Junior Farmers*
Post AGM ActivitiesFollowing the AGM, March Conference officially kicked off with networking opportunities for attendees that were tied into the conference theme. A delicious supper was catered by Dial A Dinner and the evening activities were enjoyed offsite at The Break Room, a local billiards hall that welcomed a JFAO take over. Thank you to The Break Room and Dial A Dinner for hosting us! If you find yourself in Waterloo, The Break Room is a must visit. The evening ended with members gathering for spirited games of euchre and Dutch Blitz in the hospitality suite. Saturday started bright and early with conference participants departing on a bus tour of local agriculture operations. Bus tour stops included Chickadee Christmas Trees, Verbinnen’s Nursery Ltd., Rockton World’s Fair, Rock Maple Lodge, and Brantwood Farms. At each location, the hosts provided an overview of the operation, a tour of the facilities, and gave conference attendees invaluable insight into different sectors of the agriculture industry. Thank you to Alison and Joe McCrindle, the Verbinnen family, the Rockton Agricultural Society, Peter and Karen Hamilton, and the Pate family for welcoming the March Conference delegates to visit your operations and providing excellent tours.
2023 JFAO Annual BanquetThe highlight of Saturday evening was the 2023 JFAO Annual Banquet. The theme of the evening was Friends and Alyssa Waldroff of Stormont-Glengarry Junior Farmers and 2022 4-H Ontario Representative acted as the master of ceremonies for the evening. At the Annual Banquet, JFAO members and alumni came together to celebrate the achievements of JFAO clubs and members over the past year, to welcome the new JFAO year, and to fundraise for the 2023 JFAO Provincial Charity; the JFAO Endowment Fund. A silent and live auction facilitated by Will Johnson, auctioneer and member of Middlesex Junior Farmers, raised $1,008 for the JFAO Endowment Fund.
Communications Awards“This year, we received many wonderful entries for the communications awards. The judges and I had a large task at hand and many difficult decisions to make when reviewing these entries. Clubs submitted a fantastic representation of the activities they completed in the last year,” explained 2022 Executive Director of Communications Meghan McLeod as she presented the 2022 JFAO Communication Awards. Congratulations to the 2022 JFAO Communication Award winners.
- Best Social Media Post – Wellington County Junior Farmers
- News Article Competition – Oxford County Junior Farmers
- Best New Member Recruitment Activity – Wellington County Junior Farmers
- Best Collage of Photos – Huron Perth Junior Farmers
- Best New Fundraising Idea – Middlesex Junior Farmers
- Best Club Social Idea – Carleton County Junior Farmers
- Best Youth/JF Activity – Wellington County Junior Farmers
- Best Club Photo – Carleton County Junior Farmers
- Favourite JF Memory in the last 2 years – Kelsey Brekelmans, Huron Perth Junior Farmers
2022 President’s Rose AwardsA highlight of the evening was the presentation of the 2022 President’s Rose Awards. These awards are an opportunity to celebrate and honour JFAO members. As well as recognize their dedication and involved to their local club and at a provincial level. Prior to presenting the awards, 2022 JFAO President Jamie Schultz described the President’s Rose Awards recipients as individuals that clearly demonstrates the JFAO mission to build rural leaders through personal growth, travel, experiences, and community betterment. Congratulations to the 2022 JFAO President’s Rose Awards winners.
- Outstanding Novice Member – Kirsten McIntosh, Huron Perth Junior Farmers
- Outstanding Member – Amelia Judge, Wellington County Junior Farmers and Lauren Bos, Huron Perth Junior Farmers
- Outstanding Retiring Member – Alyssa Waldroff, Stormont-Glengarry Junior Farmers and Meredith Mulligan, Renfrew County Junior Farmers