A new era has been initiated at the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA). Andrew Graham will be taking over as Executive Director, while Harold Rudy will move into a new position as Executive Officer, Research and Business Development. Rudy’s new position is designed to increase collaboration with the research community, starting with the University of Guelph. At the core of Rudy’s position is to develop, maintain and identify new partnerships with closer linkages to establish and leverage research funds for applied, on-farm research within the mandate of OSCIA.

“The Executive Committee of the OSCIA Board has been in discussions for over a year about ways that our Association can better collaborate with the large investment in research. Producers understand and support good science but if it doesn’t have practical application on our farms, these efforts may miss the mark or there may be lost opportunities,” says Allan Mol, President of OSCIA. “Rudy’s position will build on the excellent working relationship OSCIA has had for many years with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) extension staff, as well as a number of researchers at the University of Guelph, where there has been excellent collaboration for on-farm applied research. These new efforts should strengthen the OSCIA/OMAFRA partnership.”

“Our goal,” says Rudy, “is to delve deeper into the scientific community to not only leverage their resources and expertise, but also to help key scientists leverage resources that may be available to OSCIA, one of which may be access to on-farm collaboration. I am excited about these new challenges, but also very pleased and confident that Andy will be taking on the role of Executive Director. Andy has exceptional administrative qualities and experience so this will be a smooth transition for OSCIA.”

“Harold Rudy is a graduate of the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) and the University of Guelph, and is a true leader in our industry. He is focused on proactive and effective farm-level solutions for soil and crop challenges,” shares Dr. Robert Gordon, Dean of the Ontario Agricultural College at the University of Guelph. “I look forward, through Rudy’s leadership, to an enhanced relationship between OSCIA, the University and the research that we conduct throughout all of Ontario.”

Graham has worked for the Association for more than 23 years, engaged in all phases of project development, delivery and management, with an emphasis over that time on environmental programs. In the new role of Executive Director, he says “the responsibilities have been refocused to accommodate a broader suite of management activities that include day-to-day operations in the Guelph office, and working effectively with the Regional Directors, Executive Board and staff to keep OSCIA moving forward as a pivotal farm organization with clear vision and purpose.”

Rudy will continue his role as Secretary Manager with the Ontario Seed Growers’ Association and will be working out of offices at both the University of Guelph and at OSCIA’s facility at 1 Stone Rd., in Guelph.

OSCIA, founded in 1939, is a unique non-profit farm organization. The dedicated membership represents virtually all commodity groups across the province. OSCIA’s mission is to ‘Facilitate responsible economic management of soil, water, air and crops through development and communication of innovative farming practices’. OSCIA has affiliations in all counties/Districts across Ontario and is governed with eleven regions, each providing a director to the provincial board.

When OSCIA was formed in 1939, it was primarily at the request of researchers from the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) and the (then) Department of Agriculture wanting to have a network of farmers with which to collaborate for applied, practical, on-farm research and adoption. Strengthening the relationship with research is a logical progression of OSCIA’s purpose and vision.

OSCIA has also had the opportunity to deliver many educational workshops, cost-share programs and collaborative projects, one of which is Growing Forward 2, a comprehensive federal-provincial-territorial framework aimed at encouraging innovation, competitiveness and market development in Canada’s agri-food and agri-products sector.

For more information, please contact:

Allan Mol, President – allan.mol@ontariosoilcrop.org

Andrew Graham, Executive Director – andrew.graham@ontariosoilcrop.org

Harold Rudy, Executive Officer, Research and Business Development – harold.rudy@ontariosoilcrop

Dr. Rob Gordon, Dean, Ontario Agricultural College – rjgordon@uoguelph.ca

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