JFAO provides opportunities for young people age 15-29 of all backgrounds, but especially those in rural Ontario, to take on the challenge of exploring their individual talents and potential to develop personally while being involved in bettering their communities, networking, and having fun. JFAO’s mission is “To Build Future Rural Leaders, Through Self-Help and Community Betterment.”
Self-directed programs and opportunities provided by JFAO and its 15 affiliated clubs help to develop a member’s sense of social and environmental responsibility, the ability to provide effective leadership, and an awareness of good citizenship within the community and world around them.
Members across the province have the opportunity to participate in exchanges with several countries and one province, as well as provincial sport, cultural, and skills competitions.
Leadership Camp, Communications Workshops, March Conference, Director’s Training and the Ontario Young Farmers Forums round out JFAO’s personal development opportunities, not including the many locally organized inter-club challenges and events. JFAO also works with 4-H Ontario, its own alumni and many other partners to further increase the opportunities for youth in Ontario.
Each year JF members collectively donate to charitable projects across the province, along with countless hours of volunteer service. A provincial charity is designated each year, a list of which can be found here on our website. JFAO also operates the Ontario Century Farm recognition program, which began as a centennial project in 1967.
The first JF clubs formed in 1914 in Durham, York, Peel, and Middlesex. JFAO is a charitable organization established in 1944 with the support of the rural extension branch of the Ontario government, with a membership of approximately 10,000 at its peak. Today JFAO is funded solely with the support of members, donors and sponsors.
Back in 2019, I got a message to join Junior Farmers- and I'm so very grateful that I did just that! Being part of the Huron Perth Junior Farmers club, it has been fun to watch it grow and to be involved in all the activities we do, whether within our club, the Zones, or Provincially. I immigrated to Canada from Holland, growing up on a broiler, veal, and cash crop farm with my sheep as a hobby. I currently work at a municipality as Deputy Treasurer, earning my CPA in 2020. I am looking forward to this year, meeting more members across the province and providing my knowledge of both finance and not-for-profit work.
I am Jamie Schultz, a current Renfrew County Junior Farmer member. I have finished up my undergraduate degree in Biology with a Health Science Specialization and completed a post-grad diploma at Humber College in Project Management. I grew up on a dairy farm located in Douglas, Ontario and when our family sold it, I remained a part of Junior Farmers as a means of staying connected to agriculture! I have been a member for the past 8 years! I have held the Director of Programming Position, Eastern Zone Director and this past year was the President! As the Past President and the Chair of the Board, I will run the monthly Executive meetings, along with seeing to the day-to-day operation of the organization. I am excited to work together with the executive team to keep members engaged and support local clubs!
My name is Stephanie Mayes and I am a current a Wellington County Junior Farmer member. I have been involved with Junior Farmers through out the last 10 years in different capacities and positions. I was born and raised on a dairy farm outside of Meaford, ON. I attending the University of Guelph and recieved a degree in Agriculture Science. I currently work in agricuture lending which makes the Financial Director position an natural postion for me to hold. I look forward to spending my last year in JFAO on the executive and helping move the organization forward!
Hey all, I am Patrick. Hailing from Carleton County, I joined my Junior Farmer in 2015 while at school in Waterloo, and have been in Guelph for most on my JF career. This will be my fifth year on the board, and am excited to take on a new challenge with the programming portfolio to help lead the organiztion and make sure that we can have the best JF year possible. Outside of Junior Farmers, I am an Assistant DC Manager for BSG Canada, helping make sure that the beverages we all love can keep flowing. I look forward to working with this year’s Executive, Board of Directors, and the whole JF membership to make us the best JFAO we can be.
My name is Kelsey Brekelmans, I started my agriculture journey milking cows but currently I work on a broiler breeder farm, and am going on 5 years there. I joined Huron Perth junior farmers in 2020 and have spent the last year and a half getting truly involved not only within my club but also provincially. Junior farmers is constantly pushing me out of my comfort zone with amazing people to support me and has provided me with amazing opportunities including connecting with like minded people around the world. I am excited to take on this new challenge, joining exec as director of communications for the remainder of this year.
Hi everyone, my name is Nic Willemsma. I am excited to serve as the Director of Community and International Programs this year! In 2018, I was able to travel on exchange to Germany and met lots of new friends and learned a new culture and perspective on agriculture. I joined JF in 2015 when I helped get the Essex Kent club running again and have been very active in JFAO, serving my club as President, Vice-President, Treasurer, and PD. At the provincial level, I was on the executive as the west zone director last year. I have sat on and chaired many of our committees. Although I don't live on a farm, I have been involved in agriculture for as long as I can remember. I was a 4-H member for 15 years and was a 4-H ambassador in 2015. I have volunteered at two local fairs. I have worked many agriculture-related jobs and currently work on an apple orchard.
Hi, my name is Marissa Mulligan. It was back in 2012 when I was asked to join Renfrew County Junior Farmers, at the time a small club. Over the years I got to watch it grow not just in members but as an integral part of the community. Throughout the years I have stood in the roles such as President, Vice-President and Provincial Director. I finally decided it was time to take on a bigger role in the organization and am excited to stand as the East Zone Director. I grew up originally on a small dairy farm which we later transitioned to beef/horses to start a family business on the side, “Mulligan Custom Fencing.” Growing up in Cobden, ON I took part in community events and volunteered when I lived there because I loved my small town. I had to say goodbye though to attend Algonquin College for Police Foundations where I graduated as one of the top students. Upon completing my schooling, I worked in the security industry to gain experience before attempting the police examination. I made a bit of a career change for the time being where I now work in Construction as a Laborer/Heavy Equipment Operator while also doing Security part-time. I am looking forward to what this year has in store for us all!
Hi all, my name is Alex Isaac. I grew up on a farm in a small town called Singhampton just 20 minutes from the Blue Mountains. This is my second year being a part of Junior Farmers and so far, I have loved every second of it. From my first year I became assistant provincial director for my club, and for this year I am very excited to be taking on the role of Central Zone Director for our organization and get to know a little more about our central clubs and different activities they will be up to this year. A little more about myself. After high school I received a diploma in general agriculture at the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campas near Chatham-Kent. About four years ago I started a summer job with Holmes Agro where I was a plant laborer and crop scout. Now I have moved into a new position of being an operator and agronomy assistant. I can’t wait to see what else comes along. I look forward to being a part of the executive team and can’t wait to see where this year takes us!
Hello all, my name is Christena and I am part of the Middlesex County Junior Farmers. I am excited to be the new West Zone Director. This is my first executive position and I look forward to this new role, getting more involved provincially and connecting with lots of great people. A bit of my background, I graduated from Ridgetown College in 2015 with an Associate Diploma in Horticulture and in 2016 with an Associate Diploma in Agriculture. I then went on to the University of Guelph and graduated in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Degree. I joined Junior Farmers shortly after graduating and wished I joined when I was 15! I currently work at Beechwood Agri Services, a food grade soybean processing plant, where I am the Location Manager. I am involved in 4-H as a one of the leaders for the Middlesex Go for the Gold club and the Ilderton Sheep club this year. I can’t wait to see what adventures are in store for 2023!
Hi everyone, my name is Keely Henderson, and I am currently a member of the Renfrew County Junior Farmers. This is my second year as a Junior Farmers member, and I wish I had joined when I was younger! What I have liked about the Junior Farmers is how much the group gives back and volunteers within the communities in the county. I have also really enjoyed meeting other junior farmers from across the province! A little bit about myself: I graduated in the spring from Nipissing University with a double major in Biology and Computer Science. In the fall, I plan to return to school for a post-graduate programme in Cyber Security! Even though I am going to school for technology, I also love to work on my family's farm in Renfrew, where we grow corn and soybeans. I am looking forward to what this year has in store!
My name is Carson Wagner, and I am your new OFA Rep for the upcoming season! My role is being able to attend meetings between JFAO and OFA and work alongside OFA and JFAO to help promote Agricultural Activities within each organization. I am from New Hamburg (which is technically in Waterloo County), but I am a member of the Oxford County Junior Farmers! I have been a member for about 6 years but time flies by when you’re having fun each year. I help run my family dairy farm with my parents where we are milking around 60 cows with a robot, alongside I run a custom bale wrapping business. Fun fact about me: I have worked at the Canada Outdoor Farm show for 7 years helping with setup and some teardown, during that time I have met a lot of fun people from all around the country. I am looking forward to working with everyone throughout JFAO and am excited to have the opportunity to represent Junior Farmers. If anyone has any questions or concerns I would be happy to talk to you about it.