On Monday the Ontario Farmland Trust hosted its Annual General Meeting. The meeting was held hybrid this year, with members and friends joining both virtually and in person! Thank you to the Grand River Agricultural Society for covering the costs of the space, and providing AV.

The meeting was overseen by Board Chair Bernard Pope, Secretary Megan Mills, and Treasurer Bethanee Jensen. Following greetings, Bernard began the meeting by acknowledging the vital role that members, volunteers, and staff play in the protection of Ontario’s farmland. Bernard also focused on the strides that OFT has made in its mission of permanently protecting farmland forever, and looks forward to the exciting prospects for farmland protection in the coming year including OFT’s first farmland donation!

Megan Mills highlighted the achievements of our 2022 Annual Report, followed by a brief financial report from Bethanee Jensen. Executive Director Martin Straathof revealed the new Ontario Farmland Trust Strategic Plan for 2024-2029, a document that has been in the works since Martin started with OFT one year ago. Thank you to all the members, staff and volunteers who offered their thoughts and feedback throughout the process.

We would also like to extend our thanks to Bernard Pope, who has concluded his term as Chair of the Board of Directors. We are incredibly grateful for the hard work, expertise and steady presence Bernard has provided over the past few years! Thank you as well to outgoing board member Suzanne Lawrence for her service this past year.

After the AGM elections, OFT’s new Board of Directors consists of returning board members Bernard Pope, Bethanee Jensen, Mike Douglas, Mark Reusser, Peter Peeters, Spencer McDonald, Margaret Walton, Megan Mills, Matthew Colley, and Collette Aeschlimann.

We welcomed Sara Epp to the board, Assistant Professor in Rural Planning & Development at the University of Guelph and a long-time supporter of OFT. You will likely remember her as one the facilitators and panelists at this year’s farmland forum, as well as virtual MC for the event in 2022. Welcome as well to Judy Coward, a retired Agriculture and Rural Economic Development Advisor for OMAFRA in the Peterborough area. Her policy and economic development background will be another welcome addition to the board.

Thank you to everyone who attended, we look forward to seeing you next year!