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Grain Farmers of Ontario name new execs

Board members with the Grain Farmers of Ontario have named their second-ever chairman.

The organization’s new board held its first meeting this week and named Henry Van Ankum, a corn, soybean and wheat grower at Alma, about 30 km northwest of Guelph, as its new chairman.

Van Ankum replaces Ottawa-area grower Don Kenny, who had been elected in early 2010 as the new organization’s first-ever chairman.

"I am excited about the challenge ahead to build upon the solid foundation laid in the first two years of our organization," Van Ankum said in a release Thursday.

"Don was an effective leader, representing GFO well, and I look forward to continuing his work to provide strong representation for our members provincially and nationally."

Van Ankum, GFO’s director for District 10 (Grey, Bruce, Wellington), is a relative newcomer to farming, setting up with his family on what’s now a 1,200-acre operation in 1989, after graduating from the University of Guelph with an associate diploma in ag.

Van Ankum had sat on the Ontario Wheat Producers’ Marketing Board as a director since 2005 and as its vice-chair since 2008, then became GFO’s vice-chair in 2010 after the wheat growers’ group merged into the new body.

District 2 director Mark Huston of Thamesville replaces Van Ankum as vice-chair, while Stratford-area grower Mark Brock (District 9) becomes second vice-chair. Leo Guilbeault (District 1) of St. Joachim joins them on the executive committee as "executive member."

New GFO board members this year include Kevin Armstrong (District 7, Waterloo, Oxford) and Colin Elliot (District 11, Dufferin, Simcoe, Halton, Peel, York).

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