OSCIA Board & RCC updates


Table of Contents


2020 OSCIA Board of Directors

Back row (L-to-R): Harold Rudy, Paul Hagey, Andy van Niekerk, John Poel, Deanna Nemeth (OMAFRA), Mark Burnham, Steve Sickle, Stefan Szeder, Phil Oegema
Front Row (L-to-R): Birgit Martin, Chad Anderson, Warren Schneckenburger, Stuart Wright, Les Nichols, Andrew Graham, Eleanor Renaud

2020 Board of Directors Contact by Region

All of our Provincial Directors can be reached by email: name@ontariosoilcrop.org 

East Central
Paul Hagey
phagey@
  Heartland
John Poel
jpoel@
  Quinte
Mark Burnham
mburnahm@
Eastern Valley
Warren Schneckenburger
wschneckenburger@
  North Eastern Ont.
Birgit Martin
bmartin@
  St. Clair
Chad Anderson
canderson@
Georgian Central
Andy van Niekerk
avanniekerk@
  North Western Ont.
Stefan Szeder
sszeder@
  Thames Valley
Phil Oegema
poegema@
Golden Horseshoe
Steve Sickle
ssickle@
  Ottawa Rideau 
Eleanor Renaud
erenaud@
   
OMAFRA Representative – Deanna Nemeth
University of Guelph Representative – Dr. Robert Corry, OAC

 

OSCIA Director Committee Reports

OSCIA RESEARCH COMMITTEES


OSCIA STANDING COMMITTEES


OSCIA RESEARCH COMMITTEES

Agricultural Wildlife Conflict Working Group – Birgit Martin

The AWCWG held only one meeting in 2020.  It’s April meeting was cancelled due to COVID-19, but the September meeting was held virtually on September 24, 2020.

Bree Walpole and Maureen Anderson from MNRF & OMAFRA presented about the spread of wild pigs in Ontario and efforts to eradicate them before they become established.

Minoli Brandigampola from OMAFRA provided an overview of the livestock loss compensation program claims statistics for the 2019/20 year.  Total number of claims were down, but the percentage approved was up slightly.

Significant highlights from the working group members were as follows:

Ontario Federation of Agriculture:
Ben LeFort from OFA presented results of the survey of producers about crop damage from across the province summarizing the impacts on all major crops and major pests.  Crop losses tend to range from 3-8% of some of our major field crops and 1-13% of some fruit and vegetable crops.  Deer, Canada Geese, raccoons and Sandhill Cranes caused the most damage depending upon crop and region.  Total crop losses from wildlife damage in Ontario are estimated to be in excess of $265,000,000.  Full details of the survey results will be posted on the OFA’s website.

The OFA continues to work on crop damage data making it an annual survey: evidence continues to be a work in progress. The second survey was targeted to go out November 2020, with a report in early 2021.

Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association:
The OSCIA has helped fund the Canadian Wildlife Service’s Sandhill Crane project and the lead researcher, Chris Sharp, has made an interim report available.  This report plus images of the banded cranes’ winter locations can be found Here: SACR Interim Report-ECCC

Sandhill Crane winter location map

Sandhill Crane winter location 1

Sandhill Crane winter location 2 map

Sandhill Crane winter location 2


Canadian Corn & Pest Coalition – Andy van Niekerk

The CCPC is a working group comprised of representatives across Canada from the seed corn industry, grower associations, regulatory agencies, academic institutions and extension and research staff from both provincial and federal governments. Members are committed to the common goal of responsible deployment of management technologies for corn insect pests in Canada to support the continued effectiveness of the technologies.  The CCPC values its success at maintaining an informal yet constructive environment where the exchange of information and consensus on issues pertaining to pest management technologies can take place amongst industry, regulatory, government extension and researchers.

The CCPC had a very active year in 2020, with 3 “formal” meetings with all in attendance.  There was recognition of the emerging Corn Rootworm problem discovered in the mid-southwest Ontario corn growing region where there is a concentration of the livestock producers. The committee’s efforts culminated in the recommendations to continuous corn growers to rotate out of corn for several years and to focus on a regular and disciplined rotation in an attempted to control the yield loss effects of corn borer. There were several electronic reports posted as well as the alternative crop options for livestock.  After the recommendations were developed there was a campaign to get the news out to producers by liaising with the CCA-ON group of consultants and retailers, as well as the major seed companies to host Zoom meetings.

https://fieldcropnews.com/2020/10/mitigation-measures-for-bt-resistant-corn-rootworm/

https://fieldcropnews.com/2020/10/non-corn-options-for-livestock-producers-to-manage-bt-resistant-corn-rootworm/

I look forward to continued participation on this committee.


Ontario Cereal Crops Committee – Stuart Wright

The Ontario Cereal Crop Committee had a challenging year in 2020 as did everyone. However they still managed to do their work effectively.

On Jan 20 2021 they gathered for their winter meeting. They supported for registration 6 new winter wheat varieties, 4 feed barley varieties, 1 malting barley variety and 3 oat varieties plus extended support on 4 feed barley varieties. They had discussions on changing testing methods. There will be 4 reps for winter wheat trials, 3 for spring wheat and 3 for octagonal trials. They received good news when Grain Farmers of Ontario supplied funding to continue straw yield testing.

Some interesting input from groups that are part of the committee include the Canadian Grain Commission saying they are implementing technology so they will no longer need to have physical samples sent to them. The Canadian Seed Trade Association announced that 2 “pilot” varieties of seed cereals will be sold that include a variety use charge that will offset the effect of on farm saved seed. They also announced CSTA will become part of the SEEDS Canada. The Ontario Seed Growers decided they would not. OMAFRA announced they would be doing a pilot project with 10-15 cereal growers with a Yield Enhancement program much like the one in the U.K. The University of Guelph now has Helen Booker as their wheat breeder.


Ontario Corn Committee – Steve Sickle

The Ontario Corn Committee had another successful year of delivering the Ontario corn performance trials.  With a few hiccups at some site locations with cold spring conditions and heavy rains and a wind storm at one site the committee was able to gather pertinent data for the trials.  Being new to this committee I am learning how many long hours are done to get these trials to a conclusion. DON testing was also done this year but the environmental conditions were not favourable this year for the disease which most growers experienced in their corn samples this past fall.  Onward and upward for 2021.


Ontario Pulse Crops Committee – Phil Oegema

The Ontario Pulse Crops Committee (OPCC) met for their annual meeting on February 12, 2020 in Ridgetown Ontario.  The meeting began with the variety sub-committee which evaluates the research done on new variety entrants and recommends them for registration.  It was reiterated to the committee by industry stakeholders that the local data derived from the work of the OPCC is important for the Ontario Bean industry, but there needs to be agility and flexibility to respond to market needs.

Industry stakeholders gave their reports regarding their activities over the past year.  The 2019 yields were generally above average, with some areas breaking records for high yields while others breaking records for lows due to drought conditions.  Harvest started in 2019 with ideal conditions but ended with wet conditions and higher than normal pick.  However, even with adverse conditions late in the season the overall crop was above average.   In addition to production reports, the committee also heard from the Canadian Seed Trade Association, one of the most active agricultural lobby organizations in Ottawa.  CTSA continues to advocate for favorable conditions for research and innovation in Canadian agriculture.


Ontario Soybean & Canola Committee – Phil Oegema

The OSACC met on January 23, 2020 in London Ontario.  The meeting started with Meghan Moran giving a report on Canola in Ontario.  One line of Canola was recommended for support: Mercedes.  This is the first Canola variety to be registered in Ontario for many years.  Verbal reports were given by all the voting members of the committee on the activities of their respective organizations. 

The committee discussed various logistical aspects of running the soybean and canola plots in order to streamline seed timely seed delivery in the spring to all the sites across Ontario.  It was also decided that since the testing fee for each line had been changed for 15 years that the fee would increase to $525 per line to phased in by 2021. 

A plot field day was set for the week of September 21st 2020, the day to be determined closer to September.

Albert Tenuta was reaffirmed as chair of the OSACC.

Next meeting to be held Friday January 22, 2021.


Ontario Soil Management Research & Services Committee – Chad Anderson

  • Soil & Water Quality Sub-committee
  • Waste & Utilization Sub-committee
  • Field Crops Sub-committee

This committee & the subsequent Sub-committees were in-active in 2020


Ontario Weed Committee – Warren Schneckenburger

This committee was in-active in 2020


OSCIA STANDING COMMITTEES

Canadian Certified Crop Advisors Association – Stuart Wright

The Certified Crop Advisors had a good year in 2020, despite the obvious challenges, connecting with their clients, supporting OSCIA by delivering Farm Health Check Ups and collaborating with other farm groups and initiatives.

At their fall meeting in November the board heard reports from contributing members, the most interesting of which was the OMAFRA talk on the corn rootworm resistance issue that has been a prominent topic at meetings this winter. The CCA’s of course had seen it in their clients fields and a good discussion followed.

The board was brought up to date on International CCA news as well. There are 13,552 CCA’s in North America including a Mexican group. There are hopes for a start up in Brazil.

There were 11 people in Ontario that took the International exam and 42 that attempted the provincial exam. Two attempted the Nutrient Management specialty and the same tried the 4R specialty. There is hope to make the provincial exam more Ontario focused. Right now it’s very difficult.

The CEU committee reported that, surprisingly, CCA’s were having no significant issues getting opportunities for their necessary credits.

The Standards and Ethics committee reported no complaints or violations.

The Research committee announced an Innovation Award for CCA’s doing excellent research work.

The board then heard presentations from Croplife on tank mix policy changes, AgScape on agricultural education initiatives in schools and from Field to Market Canada on sustainability developments and opportunities.

Of significant interest to OSCIA, out going president Deb Campbell then reported on the CCA’s involvement with the Soil Action Group and the Soil Health Working Group.

The CCA Virtual AGM was held in January and was a great success with excellent speakers. At this event Jeff Jaques was confirmed as the new president. Congratulations Jeff!


Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show (COFS) – Steve Sickle

Well, we had good intentions for our demonstration site at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show for 2020. But, like many events last year, show organizers made the decision to go virtual rather than shut down completely. With help and financial support from all corners of OSCIA and OMAFRA, we were able to put together a virtual trade show exhibit and host four live round-table sessions to showcase our association, our program delivery and our partnerships with OMAFRA.

All of our videos, recorded sessions and content from all exhibitors will be available for viewing until March of 2021, so please take some time to check it all out at www.outdoorfarmshow.com! There are plenty of demonstration videos, virtual plot tours and educational sessions to take in. Thanks to everyone who dedicated time and resources to make the event as good as it could be. We will have to see what 2021 has in store for us in planning, but fingers crossed.


Farm & Food Care Ontario – Eleanor Renaud

2020 Farm & Food Care Ontario Year in Review

By: Madeline Rodrigue, Communications Manager,
Farm & Food Care Ontario

As COVID-19 realities landed early in 2020, Farm & Food Care Ontario (FFCO) was faced with some challenging but necessary decisions to cancel all planned physical events for the year. Fortunately, the organization leveraged its online programming, large social media following and partnerships to shift strategies and activate several meaningful virtual programs that made this a remarkably successful year.

FFCO appreciates the support shown by its membership, including silver member Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA). This support is key to the organization’s success and the success of agricultural outreach generally.

COMMUNICATIONS & OUTREACH

  • The 2020 edition of The Real Dirt on Farming highlights careers in agriculture and includes explanations of 4R Nutrient Stewardship, Environmental Farm Plans, conservation tillage, cover crops and much more. A new, interactive website (RealDirtonFarming.ca) will provide opportunities for digital learning and content sharing. A supplementary Teachers’ Guide created in partnership with Agriculture in the Classroom Canada will be distributed in 2021 to educators across Canada.
  • The addition of three new beef, chicken and turkey farm tours capped off a tremendous year for FarmFood360°. This immersive technology allows Canadians to tour farms and food processing facilities using virtual reality (VR) headsets, and mobile and desktop devices. The website (FarmFood360.ca) welcomed over 835,000 users and 2.95 million page views in 2020 with the adoption of online learning.
  • FFCO partnered with the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, Farm & Food Care Saskatchewan and PEI to connect with 250 food writers, bloggers, Registered Dietitians, culinary artists and professional home economists for a virtual version of the annual Food & Nutrition Forum. Three keynote speakers and a farmer discussion panel were well received, inspiring an online national speakers’ series to begin in March 2021.
  • FFCO and AgScape partnered to offer a series of live farm tours, named Farm to Facebook that allowed viewers to connect with farmers in real-time. A total of 17 tours hosted by farmers, researchers and agri-businesses attracted upwards of 93,429 views.
  • Faces Behind Food continues to highlight the diversity of people and career opportunities within the Canadian agri-food system. 134 people were profiled in 2020 for a growing audience @FacesBehindFood. The campaign received recognition at the Best of CAMA awards in the category “Social Media Campaign Directed at the General Public”.

ENVIRONMENT INITIATIVES

  • With funding from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership program, FFCO has been working on an ambitious Soil Health Project to develop a 12-part video series on soil health attributes, how it is measured, and important practices, such as erosion management and compaction reduction. In addition, a six-part video series on the economics, logistics, technology and environmental benefits of strip-tillage systems was created.
  • The Timing Matters Working Group is an FFCO-administered coalition of farm organizations, including OSCIA, focused on promoting good manure management and planning. The development of seven infographics and a video animation, nine published articles and a growing social media presence were part of a multimedia communications strategy. The Peer to Peer Network is a subgroup that raises awareness about runoff when nutrient application is made to frozen fields, and identifies practical alternatives for farmers to reduce the environmental impact of this practice.

MEMBERSHIP

  • Three Farm Environment Care Advisory Council meetings provided a valuable space for cross-commodity dialogue, especially as COVID-19 began to impact the agri-food sector. These meetings, currently virtual, provide FFCO’s Platinum, Gold and Silver level members an open forum for dialogue, ideas and proactive thinking on farm environmental issues and shapes the work of FFCO.
  • FFCO supports member groups, farmers and the broader agricultural industry through a variety of speaker services, training and workshops, including 36 presentations and 15 virtual Speak Up and media training Training helps participants effectively engage with the public (in-person and online) and speak with the media about issues impacting their industry.

LOOKING AHEAD

As we plan for 2021 and another year of uncertainty, we are confident in the new and re-imagined programs and initiatives that will allow FFCO to connect meaningfully and safely with our target audiences.

TO LEARN MORE

To learn more about all of FFCO’s outreach, animal care and environment initiatives, visit www.FarmFoodCareON.org or contact info@farmfoodcare.org.  


AgScape – John Poel

AgScape’s vision is a world where the agri-food sector is recognized as a vehicle for positive social, economic, and environmental impact and its mission is to empower Ontario students with impartial and accurate information to increase awareness of the agri-food system and ignite interest in related careers. Because there is a lack of consumer awareness about food and farming practices with almost no agriculture in the Ontario curriculum, AgScape works to dispel myths and increase interest and connection to food. Ontario’s AgScape is one of the ten provincial members of Agriculture in the Classroom Canada (AITC-C) which is a cross-country team that strives to deliver programs, resources, and initiatives that engage, empower, and inspire with accurate, balanced, and current information that is based on science.

AgScape, like many charities, has adapted to the challenges of 2020. Pivoting, and embracing the opportunity for innovation, AgScape launched the organizations first-ever virtual annual general meeting and developed an extensive online library of activities that parents, children and teachers could take part in at home with the shift in education this past spring. Part of adapting to the new normal of 2020 involved AgScape updating and expanding their flagship program, the Teacher Ambassador Program to accommodate virtual delivery, ensuring they continue to bring Ontario certified teachers into classrooms to teach free lessons about food and agriculture as well as lessons to enhance student knowledge of climate change and environmental impact through the lens of agriculture. Virtual delivery of the Teacher Ambassador lessons means more students, in more areas, now understand the innovation that drives modern agriculture in Ontario including northern areas of the province. AgScape has recently adapted their programs to support e-Learning; through the launch of a Virtual Camp Experience. In it’s latest posting, AgScape reached 750,037 students delivering 607 teacher ambassador lessons – a 166% increase from the previous year and a 72% increase in resources distributed – 36,625 resources in total.

AgScape partnered with students in several departments of the University of Guelph to develop The Haven Project – an audio drama podcast. The Haven Project uses the power of storytelling to bring the challenges of food insecurity to life. By incorporating creative online collaborative tools, the accompanying lesson plan aims to keep students and teachers engaged and connected as they attempt to build a better future while exploring themes of social justice and political activism. It is designed to make serious issues of Sustainability and Food Security accessible and fun for high school aged students and integrate into the provincial educational curriculum. AgScape has also partnered with Brescia University College Food and Nutrition Masters students. Students from Brescia’s Community Nutrition & Program Planning class developed lesson plans on a variety of topics and created an interactive event concept for high school students. The activities developed by the Masters students will continue to be delivered through AgScape’s programs including ThinkAg Career Competitions and in virtual classroom environments.

AgScape’s first fully virtual Annual General Meeting was held this past May. Vanessa White, Chief Human Resources Officer at Maple Lodge Farms Ltd. joined the meeting as the guest speaker to provide insight on how agriculture can attract the next generation of workers. In her experience, we need to provide them with purpose, transparency, and sustainability. In October, Taylor Selig, the Development Manager with AgScape moved to the position of Executive Director – a position vacated by Glenna Banda earlier in 2020.


Ontario Forage Council – Birgit Martin

The Ontario Forage Council (OFC) had another active year. 

Profitable Pastures 2020 was held on March 10 in Mount Forest, with remote locations in Thunder Bay, Earlton, Cochrane and Bruce Mines. The presentations from the day can be found archived on the Ontario Forage Council’s website. http://www.ontarioforagecouncil.com/programs/profitable-pastures

Over the summer, the OFC directors contributed ideas to a project to create an Ontario version of the Western Canadian Forage U-Pick Tool. It is a digital tool to help select forage species. The Ontario team gave input on what species to add for the ON version and what growing zones/regions to incorporate. The Western Canadian tool can be found at https://upick.beefresearch.ca/

In September, the OFC participated in the Canada’s Digital Farm Show with a virtual booth that can still be viewed at https://dfs.app.swapcard.com/event/canadas-digital-farm-show/exhibitor/RXhoaWJpdG9yXzE2OTcxOA%3D%3D

The OFC is a partner in the Canadian Forage and Grasslands Association (CFGA) which held a jam packed virtual annual conference on November 18 and 19, 2020.  https://canadianfga.com/2020/

The OFC’s annual Forage Focus was held as a series of webinars on December 1, 2 and 3, 2020.  OMAFRA’s Christine O’Reilly summarized the event as follows:

Forage Focus 2020 – Wrap It Up: Harvest, Storage & Recycling

Purpose

The purpose of the Forage Focus conference is to bring fresh ideas and new research results to Ontario forage producers across the ruminant livestock and commercial hay sectors. The event is a joint effort between the Ontario Forage Council and OMAFRA, with conference partner Dairy Farmers of Ontario.

 Due to COVID-19 the 2020 Forage Focus conference was an online-only event. Instead of the usual one-day format, the decision was made to hold one 45-minute talk per day from Tuesday, December 1 through Thursday, December 3.

Attendees registered for each webinar separately.  Recordings of the live webinars are available on the Ontario Forage Council’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmmHCjj6bbtsFcc49KYW7Qg

Event Content

  • Baleage, Fail-age, and Garbage by Kendall Guither, farmer (Walnut, Illinois).
  • Post-Plastic Forage Storage Panel featuring Kim Timmer (Cleanfarms), Lynn Leavitt (U-Pac Agri Service), and Dr. Erica Pensini (University of Guelph).
  • Hitting the Bulls-eye on Forage Quality by John Winchell (Alltech).

The OFC published its regular newsletter THINKGREEN! this fall.  Past issues are archived at http://www.ontarioforagecouncil.com/about-us/forage-information-downloads

Last but certainly not least … the OFC co-sponsored two Pasture Awards in 2020.  The 2020 Ontario Beef Pasture Award winner was Jeff Pollard of Pollard Farms, from the Rainy River district.  https://www.beefproducer.ca/rainy-river-district-beef-farmer-wins-2020-ontario-mapleseed-pasture-award/

The 2020 Ontario Sheep Pasture Award winners were Mathew Fleguel and Liz Johnston of Waupoos Island Sheep Farm, from Prince Edward county. http://www.ontarioforagecouncil.com/images/OFC_-MAPLESEED-_Sheep_Pasture_Award_Press_Release_-Oct_2020.pdf


Ontario Soil Network – Warren Schneckenburger

2020 was a year to show us the incredible force of the social networks within and surrounding the Ontario Soil Network.  While one could reasonably expect significant challenges to founding a social network-focused organization in a pandemic; we found precisely the opposite.  The goodwill and support of our stakeholders, sponsors, partners, and volunteers has allowed us to build an incredible amount.  We are ready for 2021.

Over the last 3 years, the OSN has evolved into an organization with a vision and a defined niche in the agricultural sector. In that time, 70 participants have been engaged and supported to increase their network centrality, develop trust, and enhance their leadership skills. In turn, they have engaged hundreds of farmers in thousands of contact points through hundreds of on-farm events, Let’s Talk Soil Chats and winter conference presentations. Participants’ connections with industry representatives, other organizations, academia, and government have also been improved, furthering the impact that the OSN’s partners and stakeholders have on soil health in Ontario.

At the beginning of this year, the twelve Strategic Advisory Group members who steered the OSN as a project, conducted a 3-stage facilitated generative discussion.  This discussion addressed limitations to impact and governance, to make a stakeholder-informed decision to incorporate as a non-profit.  Since then, we have successfully incorporated, established a multi-stakeholder framework approach to governance and begun establishing the partnerships that will bring us forward in 2021.

This multi-stakeholder framework consists of three committees to guide OSN policy.  Along with the OSN board of directors, these committees have developed key policies.  Developing our constitution, financial and administrative management and values and conducts policies with our collaborating partners involved, has set us on track to continue to be highly innovative and collaborative.

In addition to making significant progress on establishing this organization, the OSN has assembled, trained, and coordinated a volunteer base with which to secure our operational capacity.  This year alone, the passion and dedication of our volunteers benefitted stakeholders with 10 virtual events and over 1,000 volunteer hours towards communications and outreach activities.

The OSN has re-branded our flagship program “the leadership challenge” to “The Network Challenge”, focusing on community-building skills with our participants to ensure a variety of appropriate access points to knowledge, people, and support for soil health at the regional-level.  We are continuing to establish the basis for program evaluation in our work with the “Social Networks for Healthy Soils” research project with OSCIA, EFAO and the University of Guelph Sociology Department.

In addition to this next cohort of The Network Challenge, funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs, the OSN will be engaged in multiple other partnerships and activities.  We will engage stakeholders in opportunities to improve their networks and knowledge, as well as alumni in continuing their activities and impacts.

Over the next 5 years we will amplify our participants’ profiles, build community, expand our networks’ reach, and advance on-farm research in best management practices for soil health.  Through our proven network-driven communications approach we will continue to work with our growing network to contribute to the province-wide dialogue on how to build soil health.


Ontario Professional Agri-Contractors Association – Chad Anderson

OPACA is a young organization which is a membership association consisting of custom operators from planting, spraying, harvesting to nutrient applicators. The website is very informative and can be found at www.opaca.net. OSCIA was invited this past year to sit on their board, and I have had the privilege of representing our organization.

As with everyone the pandemic caused considerable disruption in their activities. OPACA is a very network-oriented group, in the past they have had road shows and shop meetings as well as gatherings at various farm shows. Mel Luymes, the executive director, worked hard to co-ordinate multiple virtual workshops. I particularly enjoyed the workshop on digital platforms because they brought in a couple European companies to discuss their software. There were and to be others like one on hay harvesting equipment, and another on February 12th about off target pesticide drift to mention a couple.

OPACA also sits on the Peer-to-Peer working group under the Timing Matters Imitative. I sit here for OSCIA. Having a custom applicators perspective when discussing manure has been very valuable to the working group.

If you are looking for contractor to help on your farm, I would point you to the website, it is very well laid out. Also, if you are a custom operator, consider joining, there are many benefits to being a part of OPACA and their network of members.


Ontario Virtual Ag Conference – Phil Oegema

This year posed many unique challenges for the South West Ag Conference steering committee.  Without the ability to meet in large numbers in person, the committee decided to offer the conference virtually.  Since the Golden Horseshoe, Heartland, and Eastern Ontario Crop Conference also found themselves in the same position the committee invited those regions to present a combined virtual conference called the ONTARIO Agricultural Conference.  For several months this fall the steering committee met bi-weekly to provide feedback and direction to the conference organizers.  What resulted from the hard work of the organizing committee was an impressive two day Live online conference, with forty additional workshops available for three months after the initial conference dates.  Congratulations and thanks are in order to all those involved in making the SWAC/OAgC21 such a resounding success.


Soil Conservation Council of Canada – Steve Sickle

Soil Conservation Council of Canada (SCC)’s vision for 2020 was perfect on soil health but that vision became overshadowed with Covid-19.  Soil conservation week was April 19-25 2020 with an emphasis on soil health and to “bury your undies” for the summer months to learn about Canadian soils.  Soils as a whole are being degraded and paved over which costs Canadian agriculture millions of dollars.  Thanks to all farmers and others in the ag industry that have engaged in soil conservation practices for many years.


Eastern Valley – Tracy Myers

The Eastern Valley Soil and Crop Improvement Association is comprised of five counties: Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry, Prescott and Russell. Currently these counties have a combined membership of approximately 380 which includes those individuals who receive the quarterly newsletter The Innovator. While each of the five counties actively participate in their own activities there has been increased interest in moving forward with more regional activities which would ultimately involve a larger number of the membership. Our business sponsors are also actively engaged in regional and local activities.

Although Eastern Valley had originally planned to have their annual workshop in March of 2020, COVID-19 hit and changed our plans. This communication-based strategy presented challenges of its own. However, members were delighted to still receive their quarterly newsletters, either electronically or via hard-copy. As the regional and local associations navigated the world of virtual workshops and communication we discovered that most members were very supportive of this type of engagement. For some it is the new “normal” way of doing things.

Moving forward, in 2021, Eastern Valley will be implementing communication strategies, using the Zoom platform, and will be inviting all local associations to participate in one common meeting. Our Regional annual meeting, in 2021, will be the first event to offer this, with one common guest speaker and common reports delivered to the group. We look forward to this type of engagement!

Eastern Valley directors are continually working closely with our OMAFRA Specialists, who are an important part of our regional team and support us in many ways. Our Provincial Director, Warren Schneckenburger, is a great asset to our region and provides us with much support as well.

During 2020, as Regional Communication Coordinator, I was also involved in the following:

  • Communicating with the directorship of EVSCIA, to overview the past year’s successes and to continue with our mandate of creating a more visible regional association that will continue to work with the five counties.
  • Promoted county annual meetings, and offered assistance to the local associations, where required and requested. This was valuable to aid in future planning.
  • Supported our new provincial newsletter, The Innovator, by writing articles of interest to the general membership.
  • Assisted with recruitment of membership as well as maintaining a master membership list from information provided by the local associations.
  • Attended 2020 Provincial Annual meeting as well as the Regional Communication Coordinator (RCC) training session.
  • Participated in conference calls and other various training, provided by OSCIA.
  • Worked closely with our regional EFP/GYFP coordinator to ensure that membership of Eastern Valley were aware of upcoming workshops.
  • Investigated new sponsorship potential.

Goals for 2021:

  1. Further assist in strengthening the local associations within EVSCIA
  2. Actively engage in the enhanced direction that the RCC role will be taking
  3. Continue with regional events that would encompass membership within the five counties
  4. Participate in additional local, regional and provincial activities and projects

On behalf of the Eastern Valley Soil and Crop Improvement Association I would like to express my gratitude to the staff and directors of OSCIA and to OMAFRA staff who have assisted our region with their valuable input and support. We look forward to the ongoing communication in 2021.

Tracy Myers
Regional Communication Coordinator
Eastern Valley Soil and Crop Improvement Association
Phone: 613-363-4119(cell)     Email: tracy.myers@live.com


Ottawa-Rideau – Shirley Munro

The Ottawa-Rideau Soil and Crop Improvement Association is comprised of six counties: Frontenac, Grenville, Lanark, Leeds, Ottawa-Carleton and Renfrew. 

Accomplishments in 2020:

  • Produced one quality newsletter, the Ottawa Rideau Soil and Crop News and our January Update, promoting local, regional and provincial activities.
  • Developed the Ottawa Rideau Regional SCIA website to promote local, regional and provincial activities.
  • Encouraged members to sign up for delivery of the newsletters via email.
  • Worked with local associations to ensure the provincial database was up to date and included all members, to ensure everyone received The Innovator.
  • Promoted the Ottawa Valley Farm Show – one of Eastern Ontario’s agricultural traditions; Eastern Ontario Crop Conference, held in February and the Eastern Ontario Crop Diagnostic Day held in July.
  • Promoted safe planning of activities due to the Covid 19 regulations.
  • Attended training opportunities provided by the Provincial office regarding the establishment of new provincial newsletter, The Innovator and the new membership platform.
  • Participated in Conference calls hosted by the Association Development Coordinator.
  • Coordinated articles for provincial newsletter, The Innovator.
  • Established a Zoom account for use by the Regional and local associations, assisting with Annual General Meetings.

 Goals for 2021:

  • Coordinate and increase sponsorship of regional events.
  • Encourage greater participation in local and regional events.
  • Continue to assist with expanding membership base.
  • Continue to promote and participate in local and regional events,
  • Continue to promote EFP and GYFP workshops and the cost share programs,
  • Increase awareness of OSCIA through internet media, organizations, and publications.
  • Continue to explore opportunities to partner with other organizations and programs to promote OSCIA and the ORRSCIA.
  • Explore possible projects that can be conducted on a local and regional basis.
  • Continue to work with the Provincial RCC’s to support provincial activities and goals.
  • Assist with development of Provincial Newsletter.

Shirley Munro
Regional Communication Coordinator
Ottawa-Rideau Soil and Crop Improvement Association
Phone: 613-267-6362     Email: c-s-munro@live.com


Quinte – Tracie Westington

I was asked to join the Quinte SCIA as RCC in March of 2020; I was excited to get involved, meet new people, share stories with the grass roots producers in the Quinte region and with others from around the province.  I am probably not the first to suggest that from March forward, 2020 did not go as most of us expected it would.

On March 11, 2020, QSCIA partnered with OMAFRA in hosting a “Regional Soil Health Event” in Cobourg.  Speakers discussed soil health on many levels, from microbiology, to drainage, to manure use to soil compaction and much more.  The event was very well attended, very informative and very likely the last large event many of us attended in 2020, as two days later our province was put into a lockdown. 

The remainder of the year looked very different.  The annual summer barbeque hosted by the Northumberland chapter had to be cancelled and all official meetings, including our AGM were done virtually.  Despite the drawbacks that this year has brought, the Quinte association has pushed forward, now having 3 active chapters: Northumberland, Prince Edward County and Hastings Lennox & Addington.  Continuing to grow our membership, is a region wide goal.

Even though we have not had much opportunity for face-to-face interaction, Quinte has still been very busy working for its members. The most significant accomplishment was the creation of the Quinte Farm Research and Stewardship Collaborative, a network of farmers, researchers and conservation authorities focused on modern agricultural practices in relation to soil health, water quality and new technologies. A major objective of QFRSC is to enhance engagement opportunities with partners and farmers for better sharing of information.

In late spring, Lindsay Nash was hired on as the coordinator of the QFRSC.  Having mounted a highly successful media campaign which gained our region widespread attention across the province this summer, Lindsay is a farm girl at heart who is employing all her skills as a trained environmental scientist. Her efforts to organize, promote, and manage relations within this group continues to prioritize initiatives which are nearest and dearest to our interests as farmers.  We look forward to growing this collaborative and providing our members with information and solutions that are specific to our area.

In September, Quinte was sad to hear that Mark Burnham was stepping down as our provincial director.  We have not yet filled the role but are excited to have four interested candidates to choose from.  Mark will continue to be a member that we can call on for his help and experience.

2020 also marked the third and final year of Northumberland’s Tier 2 bean/wheat relay program.  The results of this program will be published in the March edition of the “Innovator”.

As we move into 2021, Quinte will continue to build on the hard-won successes of 2020 and strive to offer as much value as possible to our members in the year ahead.


East Central – Neil Moore

The ECSCIA began about 1964 and now includes Durham Region + Hope Township from Northumberland County, Peterborough, and Victoria (City of Kawartha Lakes) and Haliburton Counties, and York Region was added in 2001.

The 40th Annual East Central Farm Show was held March 4-5, 2020 in the Commonwell Exhibition Building, Lindsay fairgrounds. About 2800 paid $5, or free with SCIA membership, to see 180 exhibitors. The 2021 East Central Farm Show is cancelled in March by covid.

The County Soil & Crop Improvement Association memberships were promoted, and 175 County memberships sold – up 4 from 2019. 

ECSCIA uses some of the Farm Show proceeds to provide $1000 Scholarships – starting 2020 for up to 12 recipients each year (6 for 2014, 2015, 2016, 3 for 2017, 9 for 2018, 6 for 2019), and up to $1100 for County SCIA and 4-H clubs in the East Central area to assist with projects. In 2020 projects were cancelled.

4 newsletters were sent to 397 ECSCIA members, (370 in 2019, 441 in 2018, 448 in 2017, 442 in 2016, 435 in 2015, 457 in 2014, 441 in 2013, 434 in 2012, 437 in 2011, 407 in 2010, 416 in 2009, 363 in 2008, 335 in 2007, 335 in 2006, 295 in 2005, 282 in 2004, 346 in 2003, 377 in 2002, 328 members in 2001). The 78% via email vs 75% 2019 and 2018, 72% in 2017, 64% in 2016, 63% in 2015, 56% in 2014, 55% in 2013 and 2012, 51% in 2011, 47% in 2010, 2009 and 2008, 46% in 2007, 45% in 2006 and 42% in 2005.

Twenty-One newsletter sponsors are contributing $100/ yr each and this covers postage and extra costs as the printed copy is all colour now. The East Central SCIA web site hosts newsletters, coming events, project information, and links updated to new information.

Provincial Soil and Crop Conferences, Diagnostic Days, and Outdoor Farm Show information is included in coming events online https://regionalscia.org/areaevents-html/.

Calculated the weather data from 17 co-operators in the member counties including some from Quinte Region. Presented the data in newsletters and online https://regionalscia.org/weather-html/.

Attended County annual meetings, presented updates.

Neil Moore
Secretary-Treasurer and Regional Communication Coordinator
East Central Region Soil & Crop Improvement Association
Phone: 705-324-2594     Email: nmoore361@gmail.com


North Eastern Ontario – Emily Potter & Cameron Ford

The North Eastern Soil and Crop Improvement Association is comprised of eight counties: Algoma, Cochrane, Manitoulin, Muskoka, Nipissing, Parry Sound, Sudbury, and Temiskaming.

NOFIA has acted as the RCC for Northeastern Ontario since 2015.  In this capacity, NOFIA has worked to improve awareness and access to OSCIA funding and modernize the development and release of Breaking Ground (and now The Innovator through the provincial office). 

Activities:

  • Assist in producing 4 issues of The Innovator and regional content for the Northeast landing page, meeting all applicable deadlines; issues included agricultural innovation and technology transfer, per OMAFRA/OSCIA agreement
  • Managed Nipissing & Sudbury Districts’ Tier 2 project to assess impacts of inoculant on soil & yields in potatoes and cereals
  • Worked with local associations to develop Tier 1 projects & build local capacity
  • Held the Northern Ontario Ag Conference in February 2020 with support from local SCIAs to facilitate technology transfer, networking, and overall development of these associations within the Northeast (plans for a scaled-down virtual format are currently in the works for 2021)
  • Attended some events across the region, including AGM’s and crop tours that occurred despite the pandemic, and assisted with virtual events as well
  • Maintained membership & mailing lists, updating upon receipt of district lists

During 2020, data was collected and compiled from the mycorrhizal inoculant plots. Preparations are underway for the final report of this project and farmers are interested to see the results. NOFIA and NEOSCIA thank OSCIA for providing funding to support this project. 

NOFIA and the NEOSCIA are looking forward to another year in 2021, further improving our membership databases, building and strengthening agricultural communities within Northern Ontario through the Northern Ontario Ag Conference, and providing tech transfer and educational opportunities to farmers in the north. Despite the challenges that 2020 presented, it has been a pleasure to work with the various associations over the last year and we look forward to 2021!

Emily Potter, NOFIA
Regional Communication Coordinator
North Eastern Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association
Phone: 705-647-4782     Email: info@nofia-agri.com


North Western Ontario – Rachel Kehoe

The North Western Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association is comprised of three districts: Rainy River, Thunder Bay and Kenora. 

The three boards in the NWSCIA had a quiet year in 2020 with most events, activities and in-person meetings cancelled for the year.

In early March, planning was well underway for the TBSCIA’s annual Spring Farm Conference when COVID-19 restrictions brought those plans to a halt. Unfortunately, the 2021 in-person event is likely to be cancelled as well, but the planning committee is looking at other virtual conference opportunities to be able to share with its members.   

With new restrictions in place, both Lakehead University Agriculture Research Station (LUARS) and Ontario Crops Research Centre (OCRC) – Emo (formally EARS) adapted their crop tours for the year. LUARS hosted well attended small group crop tours throughout the area, while OCRC-Emo created videos of their plots with content that resembled what a typical site visit would contain and posted them on their website for members to view. These videos are still available if any are interested in viewing them.

The RCC position was posted, and interviews were conducted. Rachel Kehoe was hired to fill the RCC role in late September.

NWSCIA is grateful for the communication grant that allowed the purchase of a zoom membership to conduct meetings going forward for the foreseeable future.

At the beginning of December, Thunder Bay and Rainy River held their annual meetings via Zoom. Thunder Bay’s meeting was a business only meeting that was attended by just over 20 members. Rainy River had Sebastian Belliard, Soil Specialist with OMAFRA, speak on Soil Health and Regeneration. Kenora has not held their annual meeting for 2020 yet.

The region is looking forward to developing new events and activities that fit around the new restrictions in place. We look forward to developing our online landing page to circulate via e-mail to our members to continue outreach and communication with them.

Rachel Kehoe,
Regional Communication Coordinator
North West Region Soil and Crop Improvement Association
Email: northwest.scia@gmail.com


Georgian Central – Lorie Smith

In 2020, Ray Robertson stepped down as the RCC for the Georgian SCIA Region. Ray held this position for many years. The region would like to thank him for his leadership. Grey Ag Services, who assisted Ray in that role, will continue in the RCC position for the Georgian Central Region Soil & Crop Improvement Association which is composed of five counties including Bruce, Grey, Dufferin, North Simcoe and South Simcoe. Of note, the South Simcoe Association has been less active in the last few years, and steps will be taken in 2021 to address the needs of their existing membership.

2020 started in the same manner as the last 54 years with Grey Bruce Farmers Week taking place from January 3 to 9. Crops Day, with content directed by the Grey and Bruce SCIAs, was enjoyed by attendees in Elmwood, and those that live streamed the event.  Little did attendees know that this would be one of the few in-person conferences held in 2020.

The global pandemic shuttered most of the plans for 2020, and committees had to adapt to a new way of gathering. Zoom became the regions new way to connect. The region would like to thank OSCIA for creating the Special Communications Enhancement Grant which covered the costs of the Zoom platform. All the counties continued to meet regularly using this platform. This allowed the work to continue, and perhaps more importantly, allowed the people within those organizations to see each other and catch-up.

Resilience and adaptation became key words for everyone in 2020.  Grey SCIA certainly took those words to heart and created 4 regional virtual Crop Walks. In June, July, August, and September, the Crop Walk committee stepped outside of the box to create four virtual educational opportunities. The “walks” were a mixture of in-field tours, pre-recorded videos, and live presentations.  There was ample time set aside for questions, and a mingle time was always worked into the agenda. Members from across the region benefitted from the ingenuity of the Grey SCIA members.

Communication and outreach continue to be particularly important for the Georgian Central Region.  OSCIA launched the Innovator e-newsletter in the summer of 2020. The electronic newsletter has allowed members to access information from across the province. Without the physical constraints of a defined number of pages, the Georgian landing page has been able to deliver more information than the physical version could contain.  Some members reported not receiving the new quarterly newsletter, and we are working with the Guelph office to investigate and resolve all related issues.  A paper version of the Innovator, and a Georgian bulletin were mailed to about 100 members in the region who have indicated that they cannot access an on-line publication.  Georgian Central would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the eight sponsors who have supported our region for many years. Their sponsorship is acknowledged on our landing page and in our paper bulletins.  

December saw the first regional Zoom annual meetings in North Simcoe and Grey Counties. Bruce County will hold theirs in January 2021, followed by the Dufferin AGM in February 2021.  This online meeting option has been noted to have some perks, but there is a consensus that members miss seeing other producers in-person, and really miss the food! The region is looking forward to planning events and activities for 2021. There is concern that without in-person events, membership renewals will be suppressed. Each county will need to address this concern to ensure that membership is not negatively impacted during the pandemic. Continuing with the ingenuity shown by Grey County in 2020, we know that our members will have many virtual educational opportunities across the region. We all look forward to returning to in-person events when it is safe to do so, but in the meantime, we will make every effort to ensure that members stay engaged and educated!

Lorie Smith
Regional Communication Coordinator
Georgian Central Soil and Crop Improvement Association
Phone: 519-986-3756     Email: lorie@greyagservices.ca


Golden Horseshoe – Janice Janiec

The Golden Horseshoe Regional Soil and Crop Improvement Association (GHSCIA) is a large region, comprised of the counties/municipalities of Brant, Haldimand, Halton, Niagara North, Niagara South, Norfolk, Peel and Hamilton-Wentworth. It is an active region, representing about 500 members. 

The GHSCIA Regional Board is a large group, comprised of 18 members representing the local counties and agriculture businesses in the region. In 2020, Brad Nimijohn of Hamilton-Wentworth served as regional President, Matt Beischlag, Haldimand, as 1st Vice President and Cathy Vitucci, Niagara North, as 2nd Vice President.  Meaghan Richardson, Halton farmer and GHSCIA Secretary-Treasurer, unfortunately stepped down because of an increase in her responsibilities in other roles and at the farm, due to the pandemic. The Board thanked her for her significant contributions during her time. Peter Lambrick was appointed Treasurer in 2020 and the Board welcomed him and has significantly benefitted from Peter’s financial and governance expertise.

The region wrapped up the soil health project, Seek-Test-Adopt, funded by Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, this year. The project was focused on advancing farmer knowledge about soil health in the Greenbelt area and beyond. Plans changed due to the pandemic, and the project culminated with a strip-till virtual event featuring regional farmers sharing their knowledge and experience using strip-till in some of the challenging soil types across the region.  

January 2020 brought another round of successful farmer engagement at FarmSmart20 and CerealSmart. A resolution at the OSCIA 2020 AGM from Halton SCIA requested help from OSCIA to resolve governance issues with the event, as it had largely outgrown its original structure. GHSCIA and Heartland region worked with OSCIA to support the set up of proper governance and accountability process for the FarmSmart events, without success. As a result, GHSCIA and Heartland, with support from OSCIA, are looking into new events and opportunities in the local area to share knowledge with farmers. GHSCIA played a role in organizing the virtual Ontario Agricultural Conference and there are lots of successes from that event to build upon as well.

All eight local associations held successful annual meetings before the pandemic shut things down in 2020. Attendance and member engagement was high, and some events used Tier 1 grants to offset the cost of delivering educational information to the local membership. Agribusiness sponsorship of annual meetings and local events in the Golden Horseshoe remains strong and continues to be a critical factor in allowing counties to run such events. Many local counties struggled with the lack of in person events in 2020 but participation by local members in virtual events is growing.

The Region enjoys great support from OMAFRA representatives Christine Brown and Jake Munroe, particularly at the local county level.  Steve Sickle continues to do a fantastic job in the role of Provincial Director on behalf of the region and will continue in this role in 2021.  It is with the support and input of these dedicated folks, along with the hard work and commitment of our volunteer Board and Executive, that the Golden Horseshoe Region continues to accomplish great things, even when faced with a global pandemic.

Janice M. Janiec, CCA-ON
Regional Communications Coordinator
Golden Horseshoe Soil Crop Improvement Association
Phone: 519-856-2591     Email: ghscia@hotmail.com
Website: www.ghscia.me     Twitter: @GHSCIA


Heartland – Mary Feldskov

When the Heartland Region Soil and Crop Improvement Association board of directors met in January 2020 for their annual general meeting, they had no idea that a global pandemic would shut down our communities and halt in-person agriculture events and gatherings for the rest of the year and into 2021. However, the four county associations that make up Heartland Region – Huron, Perth, Waterloo, and Wellington – did not let the pandemic stop them from continuing to serve members and live out the OSCIA mission to facilitate responsible economic management of soil, water, air and crops through development and communication of innovative farming practices.

At the AGM, Kaye McLagan (Perth) was elected as president, and Jeff Strenske (Waterloo) as vice-president. John Poel (Perth) was elected as provincial director, replacing Stuart Wright (Wellington) who had held the position for the past several years. Stuart led OSCIA as president in 2020. Horst Bohner and Joanna Follings continued as OMAFRA reps supporting our local associations and the region.

The Heartland Spring Meeting was held in March. Hosted by Wellington SCIA, more than 80 members gathered at the Listowel Agricultural Hall to hear from Gary Zimmer, the Biological Farmer, Peter Johnson, and a panel of local farmers. Thankfully, this event was able to be held before the provincial lockdown that happened only a few weeks later.

With the usual summer field days and twilight tours canceled, the county associations got creative in finding ways to reach out members and provide educational opportunities. Perth County SCIA recorded a series of videos highlighting the work at their Demo Farm outside of Brodhagen; Huron County SCIA continued work at their Huronview demonstration site, erecting new signage that explained to visitors more about their innovative approaches to soil and water conservation practices; and Waterloo SCIA embarked an a consumer education program, erecting information signs in high-profile fields across the region. Wellington County SCIA kicked off the annual general meetings in the region in December, hosting an excellent virtual AGM featuring several guest speakers, followed by Huron’s AGM later in the month. Perth and Waterloo’s AGMs are planned for January 2021.

OSCIA launched the Innovator e-newletter in 2020, which meant that the long-standing Heartland newsletter ceased production. The majority of members now receive their newsletters from the province and the region electronically, saving printing and postage costs and increasing the diversity of information shared from across the province.

Heartland Region is also wrapping up the third year of the three-year Tier Two grant project, Maximizing Cereal Rye Cover Crop Management for Multiple Benefits, led by OMAFRA staff member Jake Munroe. Watch for the final report for the project in early 2021.

With the cancellation of many of the usual winter educational events, Heartland Region SCIA partnered with Golden Horsehoe Region SCIA, SouthWest Ag Conference and the Eastern Crop Conference to host the virtual Ontario Agricultural Conference on January 6 and 7, 2021. Looking forward to 2022, a committee of Heartland and Golden Horsehoe members has been struck to host a new conference offering (hopefully in person).

As we plan for 2021, much is still unknown about what events and activities will look like. However, through the ingenuity and hard work of Heartland SCIA members, we will continue to educate and inform our members whether virtually or in-person.

Mary Feldskov
Regional Communication Coordinator
Heartland Soil and Crop Improvement Association
Phone: 519-669-5608     Email: heartland.scia@gmail.com


Thames Valley – Cathy Dibble

While working our way through 2020, Oxford, Middlesex and Elgin counties continued to engage members virtually as best we could through online events and information meetings. Members from across the region participated in various field research trials, both county and regionally based, and with OMAFRA Field Crop Staff projects.

Regional updates were published throughout the year, including information about local activities, field trial results and updated rainfall and heat unit data from each county, distributed alongside the OSCIA Innovator newsletter both in electronic and paper formats as needed. Working towards improved member engagement in new and successful methods is a challenge we strive to meet.

The regional website continues to be a popular source of information for coming local events, rain and heat unit data, local project reports, plot data and tour photos.  @TVRSCIA ‘s Twitter handle appears to be a popular method of sharing event details, timely weather and pest updates, yields, pictures from the field and much more.

One director representing each county association and one from the regional board sit on the Southwest Ag Conference steering committee, meeting several times over the past year to determine the best approach for the 2021 Ontario Agricultural Conference virtual event in conjunction with the Eastern Crops Conference and the Golden Horseshoe/Heartland Region events.

Our Tier 1 Project Application will support a virtual joint annual meeting of all three counties, including feature speakers, plot results and breakout sessions for local association business. We have wrapped up our second 3-year Tier 2 project #RootsNotIron Phase 2 and have seen some positive results after six years of planting green. Look for these reports as they become available.

Cathy Dibble
Regional Communication Coordinator
Thames Valley Soil and Crop Improvement Association
Phone: 519-788-0985     Email: cdibble@ontariosoilcrop.org
Website: http://tvrscia.wordpress.com     Twitter: @TVRSCIA 


St. Clair – Krista Gladstone

The St. Clair Region Soil and Crop Improvement Association covers the southernmost part of Ontario and is comprised of Chatham‐Kent, Essex and Lambton Counties which currently has a combined membership of approximately 250 people.

The Regional Communication Coordinator (RCC) for the St. Clair Region is Krista Gladstone, Program Coordinator with the Ag Business Centre at the University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus located in Ridgetown, Ontario. During 2020, some of the regional communication activities/accomplishments included the following:

  • Timely publishing and distribution of 4 quality newsletters including the newly launched OSCIA ‘The Innovator – News from the Grassroots’ starting in June 2020. This new e‐newsletter format included an area for local content on the St.Clair Landing Page, which also was updated throughout the year. This change in format was a big learning curve for all involved and as such, St. Clair’s RCC was a member of the Newsteam for numerous editions of the newsletter and participated in a number of planning and training sessions;
  • Annual promotion of newsletter sponsorship to help offset some of the rising costs associated with publishing and creating the quarterly newsletters;
  • Distribution of extra newsletters to agribusinesses and other interested parties to promote our grassroots soil and crop organization;
  • Providing Secretary‐Treasurer duties to the St. Clair Region Executive Board and assisting the 3 local associations as required;
  • Sending out various mailers and e‐blasts to notify groups of upcoming events and also assisted in the membership renewal process and organization/promotion/planning of Local Events/Tours/AGMs/etc.;
  • Prior to the pandemic, attended Provincial and Regional Annual Meetings in person assisting with registrations, taking pictures and notetaking for upcoming newsletter articles, etc. During the pandemic, met virtually with Regional Board on an as required basis;
  • Taking a very active role in the organization of key regional events that partner with OSCIA including the Ontario Agricultural Conference which was held virtually in January 2021 and had over 1,600 people registered;
  • Participation with regular RCC correspondence, conference calls, training sessions, and meetings to support OSCIA goals and activities;
  • Assist and prepare OSCIA grant submissions, claims, invoicing and paperwork for St. Clair Region including Regional Communication Grants, Tier One Grants, Enhanced Communication Grant and Tier Two Grants;
  • Promotion and support of the St. Clair Region Twitter account;
  • Organized, promoted, setup and hosted St. Clair Region’s Combined Local Virtual AGM’s which were held via Zoom on December 3rd, 2020 and had over 80 people in attendance;
  • Work with and support the regions’ local membership mailing lists using webbased membership software programs and also used this program for electronic distribution of newsletters and to notify members in a timely fashion of upcoming events, etc.;
  • For the sixth year in a row, St. Clair Region was pleased to continue its partnership with our local Conservation Authorities (Essex Region Conservation Authority, Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority and St. Clair Conservation Authority) to publish a regular ‘Crops & Conservation’ article in our quarterly newsletters. This provides an excellent opportunity for the exchange of information and sharing of ideas between the two organizations.

Once again, it has been a pleasure working with the St. Clair Region Soil and Crop Improvement Association in 2020. Even though 2020 was a challenging and stressful year, I am proud that we were able to meet our organization’s business goals and continue to keep our members informed of local, regional and provincial soil and crop activities.
I look forward to working with the St. Clair Region Directors and the other RCC’s in 2021
as we work towards another successful year with OSCIA!

Krista Gladstone
Regional Communication Coordinator
St. Clair Region Soil and Crop Improvement Association
Phone:519‐674‐1500, ext. 63597     Email: kgladsto@uoguelph.ca



Regional Associations & Boundary Map

 
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