Photo of Staff and Board 2022/23 (left to right): Bernard Pope, Margaret Walton, Megan Mills, Mark Reusser, Bethanee Jensen, Collette Aeschlimann, Mike Douglas, and Peter Peeters.

If you are interested in joining our Board of Directors, please contact us

Bernard Pope: Chair

Bernard is the Executive Director of Ontario Farmland Preservation, and the former Vice President of the Simcoe County Federation of Agriculture. He has been surrounded by agriculture his entire life. His passion for protecting farmland stems from his childhood, growing up on and working on his parent’s farm, where he built a strong connection to the land. 

Read more about Bernard’s connection to farmland here.

Margaret Walton: Vice Chair, Chair of the Policy and Education Committee

Margaret is a partner in PLANSCAPE, a planning firm that specializes in planning for rural and recreational lands and small communities. Margaret is considered a leading expert in agricultural planning, with over 30 years of practice in developing planning policies to support the agricultural sector, specifically in areas subject to urban growth pressures. Margaret has worked for all of the Regions, and a number of municipalities, in the GGH developing policies to sustain their agricultural communities. She is a proponent of a comprehensive systems-based approach to planning for agriculture that recognizes the need for flexibility and economic success for the sector to flourish. She is a member of the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) and Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI).

Peter Peeters: Vice Chair

Peter owns and operates his family beef farm in Omemee. His cattle, Pinzgauers, are a novelty in the area with their distinctive markings and docile nature. Peter is also a Board Director of the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario, and serves on the Victoria Soil and Crop Improvement Association, Victoria Beef Producers, and Peterborough ALUS.

Megan Mills: Secretary, Chair of the Land Committee, Chair of the Governance Sub-Committee

With a background in ecology and as a member of the Law Society of Ontario, Megan has practiced law with a focus on property and boundary issues and has also worked as a policy advisory to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.  She joined the OFT board in 2017 and has enjoyed working on a range of projects from land stewardship to governance.  Currently, Megan is based out of Guelph Ontario where she works as a legal researcher and writer and is an avid hiker and gardener.

Bethanee Jensen: Treasurer, Chair of the Fundraising Committee

Bethanee is an accountant and a semi-retired sheep farmer near Brussels. She grew up in a farming family and always knew she wanted to be a farmer. She is a breeder of purebred Dorsets, sells freezer lamb, sheep skins and wool blankets, and also raises egg and meat hens. She is also on the board of the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario and the Huron District Christian Farmers Association.

Suzanne Lawrence: Vice Chair of the Fundraising Committee

Suzanne grew up on a farm in Wellington County and now lives in the countryside of Mulmur Township with her husband and two dogs. She works as a country real estate agent with Royal LePage. She appreciates the natural beauty and the bounty of the local farms in her township.

Spencer McDonald: Director

Spencer is a professional land use planner with an interest in agricultural communities, urban centres and the natural environment. He has worked in both municipal planning departments as well as for the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority.  Currently completing his Master of Public Administration degree, Spencer is passionate about life-long learning, and seeks to find ways to improve local and provincial policy in order to better protect farmland, while also allowing communities to grow and prosper.

Matthew Colley: Director, Vice Chair of the Policy and Education Committee

Matthew is a Development Planner with the Region of Waterloo. His passions are focused on community planning while ensuring the long-term protection of our agricultural resources. Matthew has been volunteering with OFT in varying capacities over the past several years.

Collette Aeschlimann: Director

Collette and her family immigrated to Canada to pursue dairy farming, so agriculture has been a fortunate constant in her life. She feels that naturally, those limbs branch out to growing an appreciation for nature and conservation. She is an avid hiker and enjoys the outdoors. Somedays, if the weather permits, Collette enjoys the smells and winds of the countryside on two wheels. When she’s done having fun, she enjoys working as a realtor, and living in a City deeply rooted with a conservation mentality.

Mike Douglas: Director

Mike manages a small farm in Ramara Township, Simcoe County and is actively involved with many environmentally minded groups and organizations. He has experience in the nuclear industry as a shift control technician with Ontario Power Generation, teaching and training adults with Georgian College, geophysical survey work in remote locations with MPH Consulting, chemical industry with Domtar Chemicals and alloy steel industry with Kubota Metal Corp, formerly Fahramet in Orillia.

Mark Reusser: Director

Mark is a farmer in Wilmot Township in Waterloo Region where he grows turkey, grains and hay. He is currently vice-president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and is passionate about how good urban and rural planning can help preserve both farmland and the natural landscape. In his spare time, Mark tends a large garden where he grows heritage tomatoes, watermelon and other assorted vegetables and also finds time to collect glass and porcelain insulators.