Amy Cronin began her role as chair of the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission on May 7
By Jackie Clark
Ernie Hardeman, minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs, has appointed new leadership to Ontario’s farm commodity marketing regulatory agency. Amy Cronin took on the role of chair of the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission for a two-year term, starting May 7, said a May 8 OMAFRA statement.
“Her broad agricultural knowledge and extensive expertise in the livestock industry, along with her considerable experience working with groups at both the provincial and the national level, make her an outstanding choice as the new chair,” said Hardeman in the statement.
Cronin has held and holds leadership positions in several agricultural groups, including Ontario Pork, the Ontario Agricultural Sustainability Council, President’s Council, the University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization, Outstanding Young Farmers Executive, and the National Program Advisory Committee, working with government to develop business risk management programs.
“Being involved in agricultural leadership pretty intensely for the last 10-12 years, it’s given me the opportunity to learn about my strengths and my weaknesses, to learn about what’s important to me in terms of leadership and how to get teams together and get teams rowing in the same direction,” Cronin told Farms.com.
“I’ve met a lot of fantastic individuals in the agriculture industry in Ontario,” she said. “I’ve had the opportunity to learn from some really great people in the industry.”
As she steps into this new role as chair of the commission, Cronin has reflected on past successes and challenges in the industry.
“For the last couple of months, I’ve been thinking about how I effectively take all of that learning experience and put it into this new role so I’m able to benefit agriculture in Ontario,” she said.
The current challenges facing agriculture as a result of COVID-19 “put a focus on making sure that we’re building good relationships with our stakeholders” including boards that the commission governs, value chain members, and government partners, explained Cronin.
“It’s not something that any of us expected and it’s been quite devastating for a number of individuals, businesses and industry in agriculture,” she added.
Commission leaders can learn a lot from this experience through open communication “and then take that information and figure out what our role is as a regulatory body that can help us to aid industry in recovery. My goal would be to work with industry to recover from COVID-19 and create a platform that allows the industry to thrive in the future,” Cronin said.
Cronin has experience as a producer, operating and growing Cronin Family Farms with her husband for over 20 years. When working to address challenges on the farm level, strong relationships with leaders in industry were building blocks to solutions, she said.
She hopes to begin that relationship-building process immediately.
“Because I’m new in this role, this is an opportunity for me to really listen,” she said.
In this uncertain time “I think what we can do is really come together as a commission and provide strong leadership, exemplary leadership, and work closely with the boards that we do govern and build those strong relationships so that we’re prepared to help them deal with unforeseen challenges in the future,” Cronin said.
“I really want to focus on taking the time to build those relationships, to understand the industry, to listen to different parts of the value chain and to make sure that we are a commission that will continue to innovate and provide strong guidance and assistance to agriculture in Ontario,” she added.
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