Veal Farmers of Ontario announces new leadership for 2020

Guelph, Ontario, April 22, 2020 – Veal Farmers of Ontario (VFO) is pleased to announce the election of Pascal Bouilly (Cambridge) as Chair and Middlesex County veal producer Phil Kroesbergen as Vice Chair, at a recent meeting of the Board of Directors.

Bouilly, the Dairy Calf Supply Chain Manager with Grober Nutrition, was appointed to the VFO Board of Directors in 2015 and has served as Vice Chair for the past two years. Bouilly is responsible for the started dairy calves program, providing on-farm management and technical support for their sales team.

“Driving demand for Ontario veal is a top priority for the VFO Board of Directors,” says Bouilly. “As Chair, I look forward to working with my fellow directors in the year ahead as we focus our attention on the issues, initiatives and projects that will best support our members and our industry. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is widespread and primary producers need a financial backstop like the Risk Management Program to navigate these uncertain times. We will continue collaborating with our industry partners to advocate for the needs of veal farmers in this time of crisis.”

Kroesbergen, who joined the Board in 2017, farms full-time with his father and brother near Strathroy. Their family operation, Creekside Acres, has been producing veal exclusively for over 30 years.

“As Vice Chair, I look forward to strategically addressing issues directly impacting dairy calf and veal producers with my fellow directors,” says Kroesbergen. “We will continue to focus on the core priorities that will benefit us all.”

Brian Keunen and Sid Atkinson were acclaimed to the VFO Board at the 2020 Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Producer Education Day in Stratford, on March 11, and will serve two and three year terms, respectively. Keunen is Past Chair of VFO (2015 to 2017), and raises veal cattle in the Palmerston area; he also owns and operates Mapleview Agri Ltd.

Atkinson, a dairy and cash crop producer from Northumberland County, brings extensive board experience to his role and fills one of three vacant seats on the board. Rita Maciukiewicz completed her second term and did not seek re-election, while both Past Chair Tom Kroesbergen and Joyce Feenstra have stepped down mid-term.

“On behalf of the VFO Board of Directors, I would like to thank Tom for his leadership, as well our other retiring directors for their service to the Ontario veal industry,” says Bouilly. “We welcome Sid to the board and look forward to adding his fresh perspective to our discussions.”

Returning to the eight member VFO Board of Directors are Judy Dirksen and Cameron Knip. Two seats remain vacant and will be filled by one-year appointments, approved by the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission, that will end at the 2021 AGM.

Veal Farmers of Ontario is a producer-run organization that represents the interests of Ontario’s veal farmers, providing leadership to promote industry growth and viability through collaboration, innovation, marketing and education.

View the full release here.

VFO STATEMENT: Update on COVID-19

Due to the recent coronavirus outbreak, Veal Farmers of Ontario (VFO), like so many other businesses and organizations, is committed to doing our part in the shared and unprecedented battle against COVID-19. The health and safety of our staff, our board members, our members and all our families is of paramount importance. Please be advised that effective immediately, our office is now closed until further notice and staff are working remotely from home.

We will do our best to maintain services to our members and have put in place protocols and procedures for our organization’s continuity. We will continue to communicate and work with industry partners to ensure our sector remains uninterrupted in these new and uncertain times. By implementing this strategy, we hope to be able to do our part by practicing social distancing with the goal of limiting the spread of COVID-19.

As well, VFO will be postponing—until further notice—our popular consumer campaign and contest “Ontario’s Best Veal Sandwich” which was due to start later this week. With the changes in the foodservice sector, this is the right thing to do and we will find alternate ways in which we can support our foodservice partners and family businesses in these new and trying times, and in the days ahead.

For more information about managing COVID-19 in the agriculture industry, the risk to the work environment and employee health and safety, read the special briefing provided by the Canadian Agricultural Human Resources Council (CAHRC).

and we will respond as soon as possible.

Thank you to all of our members for your support and understanding during this challenging time. Please be safe and stay healthy.

View the full statement here.

Annual VFO Board of Director’s Award winner announced

Recognizing dedication and service to the veal cattle industry

Guelph, Ontario, 26 March 2020 – Veal Farmers of Ontario (VFO) was pleased to announce this year’s VFO Board of Director’s Award winner at its recent Annual General Meeting and Producer Education Day held at the Arden Park Hotel in Stratford on March 11, 2020.

The VFO Board of Director’s Award is presented to individuals or groups who have helped the VFO Board achieve its mandate. This year, Mr. Tom Kroesbergen Sr. was recognized for his leadership and vision for the veal cattle industry. He recently completed the maximum nine-year term as a Director, and most recently as Chair, with the Toronto Stockyards Land Development Board (TSYLDB), representing the veal sector.

“During Tom’s time with the TSYLDB, the board was able to clarify its mandate and build expertise in order to not only preserve the original distribution for its members, but look at ways to diversify and grow the funds for future generations,” says Jennifer Haley, Executive Director, VFO.

With Kroesgbergen Sr.’s leadership as Chair for the past six years, the TSYLDB continued to ensure good management of the properties, including lease renewals and ongoing relationships with major retail tenants. As well, the board engaged in a number of strategic planning exercises with a look to the future to ensure that the board stays up to date on land use planning in a constantly evolving area of the City of Toronto.

“We thank Tom for his dedication and service to the veal sector, the livestock sector as a whole and for his leadership on the TSYLDB. It was an honour to present this award to my father in recognition of his commitment to our industry,” says Tom Kroesbergen, Chair, VFO.

View the full statement here.

VFO enters into agreements with the Canadian Beef Check-Off Agency

Partnership strengthens the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off program

The Veal Farmers of Ontario (VFO) and the Canadian Beef Check-Off Agency (the Agency) are pleased to announce they have entered into agreements to strengthen Canadian veal marketing as a part of the larger Canadian beef and veal marketing initiative.

“This agreement between our two organizations ensures that VFO is meeting its obligations while at the same time providing value to both organizations with respect to programs and initiatives that will benefit our members and strengthen the overall Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off program,” said Tom Kroesbergen, VFO Chair.

“For our VFO members, it is very important to understand that there is no change to the licence fee rates or the amount being deducted from each head of veal cattle sold,” said Jennifer Haley, VFO Executive Director. VFO will be internally allocating a portion of its licence fees to be remitted to the Agency and will have full control over how these funds are allocated to veal specific programs.

Haley also explains that one of the additional benefits of the agreements will be the ability of the Agency to collect and remit to VFO licence fees on Ontario veal cattle that are processed outside of Ontario.

The Agreements will provide the opportunity for additional investments to be made into veal programming and marketing activities both domestically and in high-value global markets.

“As part of our overall strategic vision, VFO believes it is important to leverage the excellent marketing resources and infrastructure that are already in place with Canada Beef and we look forward to partnering with them to promote Canadian Veal both domestically and in export markets,” added Haley.

Agency Chair Chad Ross is confident the new Service and Collection Agreements will set up both organizations for success.

“We have worked hard to structure the Agreements in a way that ensures we can work together to bring more value for veal producers in Canada,” said Ross. “We continue to be committed to measurable returns for the check-off and import levy that are invested in our country, and that includes our veal producers as well.”

“Adding a member to the Agency’s Marketing Committee whose focus is veal marketing adds value to the skill set of our committee as a whole,” said Melinda German, General Manager of the Agency.

The Agreements between the Agency and VFO create consistency and aligned processes after the separation of VFO from the Beef Farmers of Ontario in 2015.

View the full statement here.

VFO STATEMENT: Veal carcass weight limit increase 

Veal Farmers of Ontario (VFO) is very pleased to share some great news with our members and industry stakeholders concerning an issue we have worked very diligently on–obtaining an increase to the veal carcass weight limit. As of January 15, 2020, the weight limit for a veal carcass has been increased from 180 kg to 190 kg. The VFO, through our collaboration with the Canadian Veal Association (CVA), worked very hard over a very long period of time to make this amendment a reality. Please review this news release from the CVA for more details. It is up to our industry now to use this tool wisely.

What you need to know and why this matters:

  • This amendment now brings the maximum weight limit for a veal carcass from 180 kg to 190 kg and came into effect January 15, 2020.
  • The purpose of the amendment is to provide the Canadian veal industry with the flexibility and opportunity to manage veal carcass weights throughout the supply chain.
  • The extra 10 kg provides a ‘sleeve’ to give both producers and processors some breathing room. If properly managed by everyone, the sleeve can reduce the number of overweight carcasses; and reduce the losses for both the producer and the processor.
  • It is very important that all veal producers target their maximum shipping weights for 180 kg so that there remains some flexibility within the system to manage the veal carcass weights.
  • Veal carcasses that go over the maximum weight limit of 190 kg are deemed ungraded beef carcasses.
  • Processors need to send the appropriate market signals with purchasing ‘right-weighted’ veal cattle.
  • The sleeve is an important tool to help producers and processors manage risk and ensure there is some tolerance in the supply chain if properly managed.