Drew Spoelstra elected Ontario Federation of Agriculture president

OFA president Drew Spoelstra

Drew Spoelstra, a dairy and crop farmer from Binbrook, Ont., has been elected as the new president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA).

Spoelstra was chosen to the lead the provincial farm lobby at an executive meeting following the conclusion of the organization’s annual convention in Toronto this week. He has served on the OFA board as the director representing farmers from Halton, Hamilton/Wentworth and Niagara since 2013 and has most recently held the role of vice president.

Spoelstra takes over the president’s responsibilities from Peggy Brekveld. She was elected president in 2020 and steps down after leading the organization for the past three years.

“I’m honoured to serve Ontario farmers as the president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and I appreciate the trust that my fellow board members have placed in me to lead this organization,” says Spoelstra. “Agriculture, as one of the largest sectors in the provincial economy, plays a key role in issues that matter to all Ontarians, from food security and climate change to housing and healthcare, making it critical that our voice is heard by decision makers.”

Joining Spoelstra on the OFA executive are vice presidents Sara Wood and Paul Vickers, and executive member Ethan Wallace.

In an interview with RealAgriculture’s Bernard Tobin, Spoelstra shares his thoughts on the top issues he and his team will likely have to tackle as the calendar turns to 2024.

“Certainly land use here in Ontario is a huge issue and one that we’ve been very active on over the course of the last few years,” says Spoelstra. “There’s a lot of pressure on farmland out there. And it’s great to see some of the recent changes that the Government of Ontario has been making towards preserving more farmland. And we hope that we can continue those conversations and keep that momentum going.”

The OFA will also be focused on affordability on farms and the impact of interest rates and the rising cost of inputs and cost of production. Spoelstra also expects to be fully engaged in climate change discussions and its impact on the farm, animal welfare challenges and a host of other issues.

In the interview, Spoelstra discusses how OFA and other Ontario farm organizations can collaborate at a provincial level to work more effectively with the Ford government. He also talks about the need for farm organizations to address national issues such as tariffs collected on Russian fertilizer imports, the carbon tax and Bill C-234, and gaining more traction and support from the Trudeau Liberals. (Listen to the interview below.)

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