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OPC gears up for next year’s event

OPC gears up for next year’s event

The congress chose its new executive and presented industry awards at the annual meeting last night

By Kate Ayers
Staff Writer

The Ontario Pork Congress (OPC) chose a new executive for 2019 and presented awards at its annual meeting last night in Stratford.

Kirk McLean is OPC’s new president. He has been involved with the congress for many years and has held such positions as chair of the exhibits committee and vice-president. The other members of the congress executive include:

  • Chris Crump (past president)
  • Henry Groenestege (recording secretary)
  • Meghan Kirkpatrick (1st vice-president)
  • Kristy Perrin (director)
  • Tom Murray (treasurer)
  • Francisco Trejo (2nd vice-president)
  • Kevin Varley (director)

For the next event, congress organizers aim to “improve the numbers for the show – always keeping the number of exhibitors up – keeping it interesting and keeping the social aspect of the show up as well,” McLean said to yesterday.

The educational aspect of the congress is also important as is giving industry stakeholders an event through which to connect and network.

The OPC executive wants to continue the tradition of having “a venue where there is business and socializing going on … under one roof,” McLean said.  

He looks forward to expanding on OPC’s past work and “keeping things fresh and exciting going forward.”

Scott Dingwell of Hometown Pork in P.E.I. was a guest speaker at last night’s meeting. He is a life-long eighth-generation hog farmer.

He spoke about promoting involvement in the ag industry and recruiting new leaders.

“When we talk about leadership, it can’t just be the president or the chairman. It is everyone who is involved” in the industry, Dingwell said to yesterday.

“We’ve lost so many farmers while maintaining our production. The pool of potential leaders is dramatically shrinking.”

Those in the industry must actively invite, engage, empower and then respect potential leaders, he said.

“Inviting means finding them and bringing them into the (industry) circle. Then we have to engage them. We have to ask them to be involved, we have to listen to what they say … especially the younger generations,” Dingwell said.

“Empowerment is giving permission – it’s saying, ‘we need you, we want you’ and … the last R is respect. It goes back to industry member and leaders, knowing they are truly being respected and when they are truly being listened to.”

In addition, the OPC presented its Industry Leadership Award to Joe Dwyer.

And the OPC exec presented the Hog Jog cheque to the Local Community Food Centre in Stratford. The cheque was for $54,000.

Over the past 13 years, the Hog Jog has raised over $476,000 for multiple charities.

Save the dates for next year’s show, which will be held on June 19 and 20, 2019.

Top photo
Back Row L-R: Henry Groenestege, Tom Murray, Francisco Trejo
Front Row L-R: Kevin Varley, Meghan Kirkpatrick, Kirk McLean, Chris Crump, Kristy Perrin
Glenn Ruegg photo


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