Robert Vanden Hengel replaces Ethan Wallace
By Diego Flammini
The Huron County Federation of Agriculture has a new leader.
Organization members elected Robert Vanden Hengel, a dairy and cash crop producer from Seaforth, Ont., as president at its annual general meeting on Oct. 23.
Vanden Hengel replaces Ethan Wallace as the federation’s president.
“I’ve been on the board for about seven years so I kind of figured my time was coming to be president,” Vanden Hengel told Farms.com.
Vanden Hengel assumes the presidency as the industry and society overall continue to manage life amid COVID-19.
Until the virus is no longer the news of the day, it will likely be a primary discussion topic in the industry, the new president said.
“Everything is so focused on COVID-19 and it probably will be for a long time,” he said. “But what COVID-19 has done is highlighted areas of our society that need improvement.”
One item, for example, is rural Internet connectivity.
This month, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture will meet for its annual general meeting in a virtual format.
This one-day event will provide insight into what areas of the province have or need better broadband access, Vanden Hengel said.
“We’re really getting to see the gaps in rural broadband access,” he said. “If anything, we can use this meeting to determine where investments might be needed to ensure rural Ontarians have good and reliable Internet.”
The coronavirus hasn’t been all bad for the ag sector.
Commodity prices, for example, are up, which doesn’t usually happen around harvest, Vanden Hengel said.
“For whatever reason, prices are high for corn and soybeans,” he said. “That’s not usually the case when we take our crops off the field. I know for myself, I’m not going to sit and wait to see if the prices are going to go higher.”
Soybean prices are around US$10.64 (C$14.01) per bushel and corn prices are around US$4.00 (C$5.27) per bushel as of 2:10 p.m. EST, the Chicago Board of Trade says.
Robert Vanden Hengel/Twitter photo