Speaker Bios

OFVC 2024 Speakers

Speakers are listed alphabetically by last name. Speaking times, room locations and a presentation overview are listed for each speaker. Please note all speakers are subject to change.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Brenna Aegerter

Brenna has been a Farm Advisor with the University of California Cooperative Extension since 2005. She works closely with vegetable growers in the northern San Joaquin Valley and the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta on various aspects of vegetable production and conducts on-farm research projects addressing challenges in plant health, nutrient, and irrigation management. Her goal is to use research-based information to solve local production problems to improve the economic sustainability of farms and minimize environmental impacts. She has a PhD in Plant Pathology from the University of California, Davis and specializes in the diagnosis and management of diseases of warm-season vegetables. Major vegetable crops in the region include tomatoes, potatoes, and cucurbits. California produces over half of U.S.-grown vegetables, with 920,800 acres of vegetables in 2021.

Wednesday 9:30 am, Room 201-202, Sweet Corn & Cucurbits
Cucurbit Casualties – Soil Borne Pathogens and How to Manage Them

Cucurbits crops are susceptible to a number of soil borne pathogens, the primary ones being Phytophthora crown and root rot and Fusarium wilt. This presentation will discuss the factors that promote these diseases and integrated disease management approaches that we might take to reduce the losses they can cause.

Thursday 10:00 am, Room 201-202, Frequent Felons of Fruiting Vegetables
Fusarium Diseases in Fruiting Vegetables

There are multiple Fusarium diseases affecting tomatoes. Fusarium wilt, Fusarium crown and root rot and a newly emerging disease with a proposed name of Fusarium stem rot and decline. This presentation will discuss field diagnosis and currents efforts to improve lab-based diagnosis of these four Fusarium species. Factors that contribute to disease severity will be discussed and management strategies, including cultural and chemical strategies.

Benjamin Aigner

Dr. Aigner is a Postdoctoral Research Associate working with Dr. Tom Kuhar in the Vegetable Entomology Lab at Virginia Tech. Ben received his Masters of Science in Entomology from Virginia Tech and his PhD in Entomology from University of Georgia. His graduate research focused on the biology and spatial dynamics of heteropteran pests of agricultural crops and has published several papers on the topic. He has extensive experience with sampling and managing insect pests of vegetable and field crops.

Thursday 10:40 am, Room 201-202, Frequent Felons of Fruiting Vegetables
An Interactive Exchange on Insect Issues

Interactive grower's choice discussion of important pests of fruiting vegetables.

Lukasz Aleksandrowicz

Lukasz manages the Weston Family Foundation's Homegrown Innovation Challenge. Prior to joining the Foundation, Lukasz was a senior manager at the Wellcome Trust, a UK-based global foundation, developing strategy and funding programs at the intersection of climate and environmental change, and health. He has worked on the Indian Million Death Study, leading development of new tools for tracking health in low-resource settings, as well as on a number of global health and nutrition projects with Médecins Sans Frontières, the World Health Organization, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and the Global Panel on Agricultural and Food Systems for Nutrition. Lukasz completed a PhD in sustainable food systems from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (UK).

Wednesday 2:30 pm, Ballroom C, Berries
Homegrown Innovation Challenge: Future-proofing Canadian Food Production

In a climate-changing world, Canada’s dependence on imported produce makes it vulnerable to food systems disruption. The Weston Family Foundation recently launched the $33-million Homegrown Innovation Challenge, seeking to support technologies that can reliably, sustainably and competitively produce berries out of season and at scale in Canada. The Challenge has recently funded 11 teams focusing on various innovations within controlled environmental agriculture. This presentation will showcase the teams and the innovative solutions they are developing.

Melanie Anderson

Melanie is all about markets! She has over 10 years in market management in Ottawa and beyond and is passionate about working with producers and creating opportunities for the community to engage with local makers. Having studied Environmental Studies at the University of Northern British Columbia, her main focus was in local food systems and food security. Melanie is the Eastern Region Representative on the Board for Farmers’ Markets Ontario as well as a recent speaker at the InTents: International Farmers Market Conference.

Thursday 11:30 am, Ballroom A, Farmers' Markets Ontario
7 Strategies for Better Markets

In a climate-changing world, Canada’s dependence on imported produce makes it vulnerable to food systems disruption. The Weston Family Foundation recently launched the $33-million Homegrown Innovation Challenge, seeking to support technologies that can reliably, sustainably and competitively produce berries out of season and at scale in Canada. The Challenge has recently funded 11 teams focusing on various innovations within controlled environmental agriculture. This presentation will showcase the teams and the innovative solutions they are developing.

Cathy Bartolic

Cathy has a long and varied history in agriculture. Currently she is the Chief Petal Pusher at Perennial Petals, a boutique flower farm located in Stouffville, where she grows specialty cut field flowers and garlic with her husband. In 2000, Cathy started going to the Newmarket Farmers’ Market (NFM) with her products and has been a vendor ever since. She has been on the NFM Board for 4 years and the president for 2 years. Over that time, she has watched the NFM grow into a vibrant hub in the community.

Katy Bennett

Katy is known as a dedicated farmers’ market supporter and patron in the community. Coming from a background in the health food industry, organics and part time farm work, she developed a passion for farmers’ markets and local healthy food. In 2018 Katy joined the Newmarket Farmers’ Market as a vendor, selling fresh local vegetables, becoming involved with the community and fellow vendors. Katy became the Manager of the Newmarket Farmers’ Market in 2021. The organizational skills and enthusiasm she brings to the market has allowed it to grow into exciting Saturdays from May – October.

Richard Blair

With degrees in economics and agricultural economics and a long career in real estate and with a long time love of wine, in 1998 he planted 8 acres of vinifera grapes at our Stonehedge Vineyards and in 2007 another 25 acres at his Richard J Vineyards. In 2010 they opened their gravity flow in Kutztown, PA. With a lifetime of a passion for pinots, vineyards were planted mostly with pinot noir, different clones, rootstocks, and many experiments. Bugs, weather and herbicide drift has made for a long and interesting journey.

Wednesday 9:30 am, Room 205, Spotted Lanternfly: What Grape Growers Need to Know
10 Years with the Spotted Lanternfly

Since the SLF was discovered in 2014 in my Stonehedge Vineyard there has been 10 years of frustration, destruction, education and the realization that the SLF will be a vineyard pest forever. Lessons learned!

Lori Brunetta

Lori is a former high-performance athlete who was the recipient of the 1982 Ontario Achievement Award for excellence in sports. She went on to pursue post-secondary education at Laurentian University, Durham College, Georgian College and most recently the University of Toronto. She obtained her Certified Risk Manager designation in 2015 and her FMO’s Ontario Market Manager Certification in 2020. For the past 12 years, she has held the role of Manager of Recreation and Cultural Services at the City of St. Catharines (her hometown). Her portfolio has oversight of the St. Catharines Farmers Market.

Thursday 9:30 am, Ballroom A, Farmers' Markets Ontario
Safe Place & Code of Conduct at Markets

Keeping staff, vendors, and customers safe is paramount for a successful market. This session will explore risk management strategies and provide you with tools to help manage behaviour expectations and mitigate incidents. Learn to foster an inclusive safe space culture while implementing an effective and respectful code of conduct.

David Bryla

Dr. Bryla is a research horticulturist with the USDA ARS Horticultural Crops Production and Genetic Research Unit in Corvallis, Oregon, USA. He is recognized internationally for his research on irrigation and nutrient management of tree fruit, vegetable, and small fruit crops. Ongoing projects in his laboratory include designing efficient fertigation systems, developing drought-resistant irrigation strategies, addressing heat damage in berries through irrigation, and exploring the benefits of soil amendments such as humic acids and biochar. Dr. Bryla has authored more than 150 scientific publications and compiled the most complete work on fertigation of blueberries and other small fruit crops to date. He is serves as an associate editor on several academic journals, including HortScience, Irrigation Science, and Frontiers in Plant Science, and is a fellow of the American Society for Horticultural Science.

Wednesday 10:00 am, Ballroom C, Berries
Fertigation and Nutrient Management of Blueberries: Tips for Fruitful Production

Previously, we determined that fertigation with nitrogen fertilizers produced more growth and higher yields than conventional granular fertilizers in highbush blueberry. We also discovered that fertigation with humic substances (ie. humic and fulvic acids) nearly doubled root production. Currently, we are evaluating fertigation with other nutrients, including potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and boron. Results from this research provide useful information on how to best use fertilizers and soil amendments to increase blueberry production and fruit quality.

Kathryn Carter

Kathryn Carter is the Fruit Specialist (Tender fruit and Grape) for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). Kathryn has worked with OMAFRA for the past 21 years, where she has been involved in research projects focusing on the use of cover crops in vineyards and the use of chemical thinners in peaches. Kathryn has a MSc in Environmental Biology from University of Guelph, and a BSc from Brock University.

Thursday 9:30 am, Room 203, Farming Basics for New Growers: Part II
Crop Overviews: Fruit Crops

Michela Centinari

Michela is an Associate Professor of viticulture at Penn State University. She received her BSc and PhD in horticulture at the University of Bologna, Italy, and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Cornell University. At Penn State, Michela works with a multidisciplinary research and extension team and the Pennsylvania grape and wine industry to solve vineyard management issues and optimize crop production practices. Her program investigates the effects of environmental factors, cultural practices, and biotic stressors, such as the spotted lanternfly, on grapevine physiology, production, and fruit and wine quality.

Wednesday 10:00 am, Room 205, Spotted Lanternfly: What Grape Growers Need to Know
Spotted Lanternflies in Vineyards: Research Findings and Management Scenarios

The spotted lanternfly (SLF) is sap-feeding insect invasive to the Eastern US. Since its first detection in Pennsylvania in 2014, large infestations and economic damage (eg. decreased yield, vine decline, greater pesticide use) have been reported in an increasing number of vineyards, threatening their sustainability. In this session, Michela will review potential impacts of SLF sap-feeding on grapevine physiology, fruit production, juice, and wine composition as well as management options.

Wednesday 3:00 pm, Room 207-208, Grapes
Mechanized Fruit-zone Leaf Removal: Fundamentals and Research Trials

Fruit-zone leaf removal is commonly used in cool climate grape-growing regions to improve fruit-zone microclimate and spray coverage and to decrease disease pressure. Traditionally implemented by hand, mechanization of this practice is becoming a more popular option. In this session, we will review pros and cons of mechanizing leaf removal and discuss results from research trials and growers’ perspectives.

Tejendra Chapagain

Dr. Chapagain is Soil Fertility Specialist in Horticulture with OMAFRA. He deals with soil fertility related issues in horticultural crops including development of soil fertility and nutrition guidelines and reports, as well as soil fertility management practices in Ontario’s horticultural crops. He is also coordinating OMAFRA’s soil lab accreditation program. He received his MSc in Horticulture and PhD in Plant Science/Agronomy with a focus on intercrop experiments. He subsequently worked as a post doctoral research agronomist at the University of Alberta and most recently as a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph focusing on cover crops, complex cropping systems, precision agronomy and agroecology.

Wednesday 11:00 am, Room 203, Farming Basics for New Growers: Part I
Nutrients in Horticultural Crops: The Basics

This presentation talks about the essential soil nutrients for the crop plants, their movement in the soil, determination of the crop needs, and the 4Rs focusing on the sources, methods, and timing of fertilizer application.

Dario Chavez

Dr. Chavez is an Associate Professor in Peach Research and Extension in the Department of Horticulture at the University of Georgia. His main area of interest is peach research and extension with focus on orchard management, tree longevity, irrigation practices, root interaction with tree health, production, and plant breeding and genetics. His main objective is to study the plant production based on the plant’s genetic potential, orchard management practices, growing environment, and their interactions. His aim is to identify the optimal interaction of the plant and the environment, having the highest potential of plant production and profit for the growers and the industry.

Wednesday 10:30 am, Room 206, Tender Fruit
Irrigation and Fertilization in Peaches

Results from different long term trials in both irrigation and fertilization in peaches will be presented. Results have led to update current guidelines and provide growers with new tools for irrigation management.

John Cline

Dr. Cline is a professor in the Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph where he teaches undergraduate and graduate students and conducts research in tree fruit pomology. He also provides outreach in various capacities to the tree fruit industry. The primary objective of Prof. Cline’s research is to investigate factors that determine yield and fruit quality of tree fruit crops. Projects include investigating the use of new, size-controlling apple, peach and cherry rootstocks, research on European apple cultivars and red-fleshed crab apples for hard cider, irrigation scheduling, and studying horticultural technologies to reduce labour inputs in a movement toward greater orchard automation. Additionally, his research spans the investigation of plant bioregulators to regulate flowering, plant growth, improve fruit quality and reduce pre-harvest fruit drop. His orchard and lab research is carried out at the University of Guelph, Simcoe Research Station and on commercial orchards across Ontario. John holds a BSc in soil science (Univ. of Guelph), MSc in horticulture (Michigan State University), and a PhD in Horticulture (University of London, UK).

Wednesday 2:00 pm, Ballroom B, Apples
Expert Thinning Panel

An overview of thinning apples with metamitron and 1-ACCacters: Metamitron and 1-ACC, new chemical thinning compounds that have been in development for a number of years. In this presentation, their modes of action, and efficacy will be reviewed, based on several years of research in Ontario. Since 2024 is the first growing season that 1-ACC (Accede™, Valent BioSciences) will be available for thinning apples in Canada thinning in Canada, particular focus will be made on its use pattern.

David Cohlmeyer

David founded and managed an 80-acre organic market garden for over 22 years. Acclaimed quality and consistency made him a favoured supplier for Toronto’s leading restaurants and hotels. His good work was recognized with awards for both Ontario and Canada Supplier of the Year and a Governor General’s Award for Stewardship and Sustainability. After selling the business in 2011, he began sharing his expertise by consulting with many types of farmers throughout Ontario (and beyond). He soon learned that most producers know how to grow excellent crops; but many need help with the business side of farming. David has become an expert at teaching about branding for effective marketing at higher prices, and good recordkeeping practices to enable profitable business decisions.

Thursday 2:00 pm, Room 204, Cost of Production
Collecting Data to Calculate Costs of Production

David will describe the best recordkeeping practices to have the data needed to calculate the Full Costs of Production for each crop you produce. Accurately knowing these costs will identify the floor prices needed to contribute toward profits. If you can’t get these prices, start concentrating on the crops that do pay fairly.

Lisa Cooper

Lisa is a co-owner of a 7th generation family farm, in Zephyr ON, Coopers CSA Farm. Along with her husband, son and daughter-in-law, they provide food boxes (farm raised meat, veggies and fruit, and assorted farm products) for their members throughout the year. They also provide an agri-entertainment experience with their annual fall 10 acre corn maze. In 2010 Lisa and Steve won the prestigious Outstanding Young Farmers award provincially and nationally. Lisa started the Uxbridge farmers market in 2000, and been the manager for 23 years. It won market of the year in 2019. She is also a board member of FMO, in the treasurer position and sits on the Newmarket FM board as Vice President.

Wednesday 3:30 pm, Ballroom A, Farmers' Markets Ontario
2023 Snapshot and Annual General Meeting

Presentation to membership including financials.

Travis Cranmer

Travis Cranmer is a Vegetable Crop Specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Travis works with growers, consultants, industry, and researchers to improve production and pest management strategies for Alliums, Brassicas and leafy greens. Trials with a garlic focus include work on cultivar performance, fusarium management, planting dates, virus-freed clean seed, leek moth and nematode management as well as intercropping. Travis received his BSc in Biology and MSc in Plant Production Systems with an emphasis on plant pathology from the University of Guelph.

Thursday 2:00 pm, Room 201-202, Garlic
Improving Production Practices

A look at various case studies on how intercropping, planting date, and the use of irrigation can improve yields and quality.

Thursday 2:30 pm, Room 201-202, Garlic
Major Pests of 2023 and How to Manage Them in 2024

An overview of various garlic pests and pathogens and what management strategies are available to growers in 2024.

Thursday 3:30 pm, Room 201-202, Garlic
Incorporating Clean Seed Into Your Farm

A deep dive into virus-freed clean seed, the benefits, and how it can fit into your farm in the future.

Christina Crowley-Arklie

Christina is an Ontario raised dairy farmer’s daughter and strategic marketing and communications entrepreneur, who is on a mission to transform how we communicate about agriculture-food and beyond. Christina is the founder of Crowley + Arklie Strategy & Co., providing communications and digital marketing services and strategy, corporate training and one-on-one coaching in agriculture and food to help elevate brands, businesses and leaders in communicating their why. Her professional and personal experiences have led her to manage the communications efforts in the political, corporate, academic and non-for-profit sectors.

Thursday 10:30 am, Room 206, Ontario Produce Marketing Association
Storytelling that Sells: How Sharing Your Story Sells Your Business & #OntAg

Our consumers are at the heart of why we get grow our food. Understanding our customers and how we speak to them through storytelling tactics, is becoming a business driver our farmers didn’t have to think about a short decade ago. Join Christina as she shares tactical how-to’s to build and leverage your farm business brand from a social media, digital marketing and media standpoint. Our farm stories – the people, the produce and the purpose of why we farm – are the best kept secret to sell agriculture and food.

Cameron Dale

Dale is the manager of the Kitchener Market, one of Ontario’s oldest and largest Public Markets. With a background in participatory community development and placemaking work, Cameron focuses on the use of food as a tool for building community, and the role that public markets can play in creating healthy, vibrant, and equitable neighborhoods.

Wednesday 11:00 am, Ballroom A, Farmers' Markets Ontario
Community Food Partnerships: Public Markets as Tools for Food Security

Discover in this session how The Food Bank of Waterloo Region and The Kitchener Market worked together to implement a Market Dollar pilot, providing crucial support to households experiencing food insecurity. Using an asset-based approach to program development, this conversation will highlight the benefits of this approach, share key insights, and guide you on replicating this innovative initiative in your own community!

Alison DeMarree

Alison is one of the owners of Donald DeMarree Fruit Farm, Inc. along with her husband Tom and daughter, Kristen. She retired from the Cornell Cooperative Extension Lake Ontario Fruit Program over 8 years ago as the Production Economist and Farm Business Management Area Specialist.

Thursday 2:00 pm, Ballroom C, Apples
Calculating the Costs of Spraying Apples including Labour and Machinery Costs

Labour costs continued to increase year after year. Many growers in WNY are looking at different ways to manage costs and become more efficient while still spraying in a timely manner. Alison will look at the costs of using Over The Row sprayers as compared to Tower Sprayers and the costs per acre, including average spray material costs for the past growing season.

Jason Deveau

Dr. Deveau (@spray_guy) is OMAFRA's Application Technology Specialist. Jason studied biology and psychology at Mount Allison University, plant cell physiology at York University and plant cell electrophysiology at the University of Guelph. Based in Ontario’s Simcoe Resource Centre since 2008, he researches and develops practical methods to optimize productivity, spray effectiveness and reduce waste. Founder and co-author of “Airblast101 – Your Guide to Effective and Efficient Spraying”, he also founded and co-administers www.sprayers101.com.

Thursday 2:00 pm, Room 203, Drone Spraying in Canada
The Importance of Calibrating a RPAAS

The technological evolution of Remote Piloted Arial Application Systems (RPAAS) and agriculture's rate of adoption continue to grow exponentially. A relatively low cost combined with out-of-the-box functionality and oft-exaggerated claims of efficacy and productivity offer mass appeal and provide little if any barrier to adoption; This can lead to unintentional misuse. Drones are unlike any other method of spray application and require a unique approach to calibration to ensure they function as safely, effectively, and efficiently as possible. This presentation will provide an overview of the key variables that influence RPAAS spraying and describe best practices in calibration.

Amanda DeVries

Amanda, RGD, is the principal and creative director of Eye Candy Design, a boutique branding and packaging design firm that creates fresh, iconic work for food and beverage companies. She has nearly 20 years experience as a brand consultant, art director and graphic designer. Amanda spent 10 years in Ottawa, where governmental agencies kept her busy but not terribly inspired. In 2010, her family moved to southwestern Ontario to start an organic vegetable farm and this presented her with the opportunity to work directly with entrepreneurs and business owners. She also enjoys sharing her knowledge through various teaching gigs and mentoring younger designers. She is the mother of 3 children who share her love of good food, vintage shopping and travel.

Wednesday 9:30 am, Ballroom B, Cider
Designing a Brand in the Alcohol Space

If you are an alcohol producer in Ontario looking to engage with the local market with little or no marketing team, this seminar is for you. You will learn: The importance of a compelling story; What your customers care about and why you should care too; Why understanding your competition is crucial and; Tools agencies use to develop a compelling brand in a crowded marketplace.

Amanda Doughty

Amanda is a strategic HR professional with over 20 years of working experience in HR and operations in the retail and agricultural industries. She is the Human Resources Manager for Sandy Shore Farms in Port Burwell and is also a Contractor/Consultant for HR Professionals for Business (HRP4B) supporting small to medium sized businesses with their human resources needs. Amanda has a passion for propelling teams to deliver outcomes that meet or exceed expectations through continuous improvements to staffing processes, succession planning, and workplace management. She has extensive knowledge in performance management, HR policies and programs, training and development, employment law, strategic planning, LMIA applications and processes as well a solid understanding of the various TFW programs, and navigating ESA standards as they apply to agriculture. Amanda has received her CHRP designation and is an active member of the Halton Chapter of the Human Resources Professional Association.

Thursday 9:30 am, Ballroom B, General Labour
Navigating TFWP/SAWP Paperwork: LMIAs and Work Permits

Navigation of the AgStream LMIA compared to SAWP.

Anne Durst

Anne and her husband own Bry-Anne Farms, Home of the Great Pumpkin Patch, in Fenwick, Ontario. She graduated from the University of Guelph, BSc (Agr) Honours and went on to earn her BEd from Brock University. She taught full time for 7 years and has maintained an Occasional Teaching Position with the District School Board of Niagara since coming home to raise her family and contribute more fully to the operation of the Farm. Anne is a past director of FMO. She has held positions of director, secretary, vice chair and currently is the Chair of the Pelham Farmers' Market. At her church, she is the Chair of Christian Education and holds a position on the Church Council. Anne attends 5 Farmers' Markets in the Niagara Region and her teaching experience is a valuable asset when thousands of children visit the farm during October.

Thursday 2:00 pm, Ballroom A, Farmes' Markets Ontario
Farm Labour, Food Security and Farmers' Markets

The purpose of the presentation is to speak about why it is so important as a grower to have migrant workers helping on the farm. How would you manage without them or could you? Food security-integrity and quality of your food coming from your farm and how does selling at farmers' markets provide security for you and your family. Could you survive if farmers' market were not available to you?

Evan Elford

Evan is the New Crop Development Specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) based in Simcoe, Ontario. He works on developing information related to specialty crop production for a range of crops including non-traditional fruits, vegetables, grains, and other crops such as hops. Evan grew up on a hog farm in Cannington, Ontario and prior to joining OMAFRA, he completed a BSc and MSc at the University of Guelph in Plant Agriculture, worked for industry associations, a horticultural farm operation, and as a field technician with the University of Guelph.

Thursday 9:30 am, Room 203, Farming Basics for New Growers: Part II
Crop Overview: Specialty Crops

This presentation will cover the opportunities and challenges when considering growing a specialty horticulture crop in Ontario. Some examples of different specialty crops will be provided.

Brian Ettkin

Thursday 9:30 am, Room 206, Ontario Produce Marketing Association
A Fresh View on Branding: Insights for the Produce Industry

Amid ongoing inflation, price remains a major concern for Canadian consumers, but produce growers can turn to other strategies, including branding, emphasizing the importance of local products, and building trust with consumers, to differentiate their products. Join Brian for this hour-long session to better understand the preferences, attitudes, and purchase behaviour of verified Ontario produce buyers and strategies for retaining or gaining their loyalty in today’s challenging macroeconomic environment.

Melanie Filotas

Melanie is a Horticulture Pest Management Specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs in Simcoe, Ontario. She works with growers, industry, researchers and ministry colleagues to identify pests and pest management solutions for specialty crops in Ontario. Her current areas of focus include tree nuts (eg. hazelnuts), hops, sweet potatoes, haskap, herbs and ginseng. Melanie has a PhD in Entomology from Cornell University where she studied biological control of forest insects. Prior to joining OMAFRA, she worked as a researcher with the US Department of Agriculture, looking at use of biopesticides, natural enemies and other reduced risk products to control insects in commercial greenhouses.

Wednesday 11:30 am, Room 203, Farming Basics for New Growers: Part I
Pest and Weed Management 101

Insect, disease and weed pests affect all crops but can be challenging to control. This presentation will provide an overview of integrated pest management for new farmers, including why they should be concerned about pests, basic principles of management and where to find information about pests on their crop.

Allison Findlay

Allison took an interest in plant biology after completing her Bachelor of Science, and used it to fuel her passion for Ontario viticulture after falling in love with the art, science and beauty that is Ontario wine. She completed the Niagara College Winery & Viticulture Technician program in 2014, and began traveling and honing her skills as a winemaker. She has now been working in the Ontario wine industry for over a decade, and currently the Head Winemaker at a one of a kind teaching winery at Niagara College. This new role not only allows her to utilize her skills in the cellar, but also share her passion, experience and knowledge with future winemakers, viticulturalists and wine enthusiasts alike. Allison also manages cider operations for the college and works with her team to create traditional and experimental ferments to showcase the diversity of Ontario cider production.

Wednesday 10:00 am, Ballroom B, Cider
Cidermaking from a Fermentation Perspective

Looking at the history, agriculture, science, and sensory analysis of turning apples into cider though the art of fermentation.

Thomas Forge

Tom is a research nematologist at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Summerland Research and Development Centre in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. His research program addresses the ecology and management of plant-parasitic nematodes in relation to climate change and adoption of alternative soil and nutrient management practices. Foci of his recent and ongoing research activities include: 1) effects of nematodes on susceptibility of apple and cherry to abiotic stresses associated with climate change; 2) influences of alternative alleyway cover crops and organic soil amendments on nematode populations and replant disease complexes of perennial fruit crops; and 3) efficacy of novel nematicides on nematode populations in vineyards and orchards. Tom also functions as Test Site Manager for the Minor Use Pesticide Program at the Summerland Research Centre.

Wednesday 3:00 pm, Room 203, Long-Term Soil Pathogen
Managing the Impacts of Plant-parasitic Nematodes in Horticultural Crops

The presentation will first briefly review the nematode species of concern to fruit and vegetable production, and research on emerging nematicides and biocontrol agents. The presentation will then describe recent research on the efficacy of various organic amendments and nematode-antagonistic cover crops as alternatives to fumigants for management of nematodes and replant disease complexes of perennial fruit crops, with reference to their applicability to annual vegetable cropping systems.

Thursday 10:30 am, Ballroom C, Apples
Non-fumigant Approaches to Management of Nematodes and Apple Replant Disease

Dr. Forge’s presentation will first briefly review the etiology of the apple replant disease complex and the role of plant-parasitic nematodes in tree fruit production more generally, including differential susceptibility of common apple rootstocks. Then, he will describe recent research on the efficacy of various organic amendments and amendment-based treatments as alternatives to fumigation for management of nematodes and the replant disease complex. This description of alternative treatments will include comparison of the longer-term benefits for overall soil health and ancillary production benefits associated with improved soil health.

Sofia Franzluebbers

Sofia graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor's degree in horticulture. She is currently pursuing her MSc degree in plant agriculture at the University of Guelph under Dr. John Cline, and her research is on stone fruit physiology, focusing on thinning peaches and plums.

Wednesday 2:30 pm, Room 206, Tender Fruit
Use of 1-ACC to Thin Peaches and Plums for Improved Labour Efficiencies

This research investigates the use of a new chemical thinner for stone fruit: 1-aminocyclopropane 1-carboxylic acid (1-ACC). There is currently no registered chemical thinner for stone fruit in Ontario. 1-ACC is the direct precursor to the ripening and abscission hormone ethylene. The natural hormone has prospective use as a chemical thinner for peaches and plums in Canada.

Hannah Fraser

Hannah is the Entomologist - Horticulture with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Her work is focused on emerging insect pest issues across horticulture sectors to support preparedness and coordinated response planning. Hannah networks with other levels of government, industry partners, researchers, and extension professionals from other jurisdictions to develop best management practices for pests of concern to the horticulture sector. She is a member of the national Spotted Lanternfly Technical Advisory Committee and associated sub-working groups.

Wednesday 11:00 am, Room 205, Spotted Lanternfly: What Grape Growers Need to Know
Spotting Opportunities to Stomp Lanternfly

Spotted lanternfly is an emerging pest of grapevines in the Unites States. Learn about best management practices under development for vineyards, including tools available to producers in Canada, as the industry prepares for the arrival of this invasive pest.

Steve Frecon

Steven, an owner and manager of Frecon Farms, Fruit Farm and Cidery, graduated from West Chester University in 2002 with a BA in Communications. Throughout college, Steve remained active in his family’s business working in both the orchard and retail store. After college, Steve worked for SAVVIS Inc. in Manhattan for The Financial Industry. During his tenure at SAVVIS, Steve remained active in the family business beginning the generational business transition and diversification of the business into new ventures such as local wholesale distribution, farmers markets, hard cider, u-pick, and a bakery. Steve returned to the family business fulltime in 2013 to run the orchard and retail business. His current responsibilities include management of orchard, packing and wholesale operations, oversight of retail business, and wholesale sales.

Wednesday 11:00 am, Room 206, Tender Fruit
Planting Peach Orchards for the Future: High Density Grower Panel

Peach growers will provide their perspective on growing high density peaches.

Jesslyn Froese

Jesslyn is a dedicated and compassionate Outreach Registered Nurse at Quest Community Health Centre, where she has been serving in the Seasonal Agricultural Worker’s Health Program since 2018. Jesslyn's areas of expertise include health assessments, phlebotomy, disease prevention, client care coordination and outreach. Her work involves reaching out to the Seasonal Agricultural Worker communities, assessing their health needs, and providing necessary care and support. In addition to her nursing career, Jesslyn is a Certified Yoga Teacher and a Certified Comprehensive Pilates Teacher. These certifications highlight her commitment to promoting holistic health and wellness. She also has a certification in phlebotomy, further expanding her skill set in the medical field.

Wednesday 10:00 am, Room 206, Tender Fruit
Quest’s Seasonal Agricultural Worker's Health Program

This presentation will outline the health care services and coordination provided to Seasonal Agricultural Workers in the Niagara Region by the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Health Program. As well, we will discuss how our program and services benefit and assist employers of Seasonal Agricultural Workers.

Rob Gamble

Rob is currently the Principal of Agri-Metrics Consulting, an agricultural economic consulting and research organization based in Guelph, Ontario. He has spent his entire forty-year career in the agricultural industry. Rob grew up on a dairy farm in eastern Ontario. He holds a Diploma and Degree in Agriculture (BSc (Agr)) from the University of Guelph and a Master of Taxation (MTax) from the University of Waterloo. Rob started his extensive career with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, including roles in crop and livestock extension, farm business management, taxation, farm business succession, policy development, economic analysis, and as an analyst and manager of the Ontario Farm Products Marketing. During his time at the Commission, he chaired the grape price negotiations. Prior to establishing Agri-Metrics Consulting he served as the Chief Economist for the Grain Farmers of Ontario where a major focus was on the development of provincial and national business risk management programs, carbon tax analysis, and economic impacts of government policy.

Thursday 3:00 pm, Room 207-208 Grapes
2023 Ontario Grape Varietal Study

The session will report on the result of the 2023 Ontario Grape Varietal Study completed in December 2023. The purpose of the study was study is to access the current Ontario grape production, the current varieties, industry directions, and need for any change in varieties.

Elizabeth Garofalo

Elizabeth traces her love for agriculture back to her childhood where she experienced seasons in the orchard near her home. From airblast sprayers in spring to climbing apple trees in fall, her early connection to land and seasonal agricultural tasks left an indelible mark on her. Garofalo earned her associate's degree in Sustainable Food and Farming from Stockbridge School of Agriculture, a bachelor's degree in Plant, Soil, and Insect Sciences at UMass and continued to a master's degree in Plant and Soil Sciences, specializing in plant pathology with a focus on apple scab at Cold Spring Orchard. Currently an Extension Educator at UMass Amherst, Garofalo’s work involves developing educational programs, conducting applied research, and providing insights to fruit growers statewide. Her interests lie in IPM, cider, cider apple production and sustainable agriculture, offering expertise in plant disease and insect management, pest risk forecast models, and outreach.

Wednesday 10:30 am, Ballroom B, Cider
What Makes a Bad Cider Apple

A discussion of various apple rot and infestation issues in cider production.

Thursday 11:00 am, Ballroom C, Apples
Adventures in Cider Apple Growing

Growing regionally appropriate cider apples.

Katie Goldenhar

Katie is the pathologist for horticulture crops with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs based in Guelph, Ontario. She works to strengthen the province's horticultural sectors through extension education and applied research on improved disease identification, monitoring and management. Katie received her Master of Science at Michigan State University in plant pathology.

Thursday 9:30 am, Room 201-202, Frequent Felons of Fruiting Vegetables
Adapting to Aggressive Anthracnose in Peppers

An emerging species of colletotrichum in Ontario peppers is capable of causing severe anthracnose. Recent research on fungicides and cultivars has provided some insight on the disease; management of anthracnose in peppers needs to be adapted.

Deirdre Griffin LaHue

Deirdre is an Assistant Professor of Soil Quality and Sustainable Soil Management at WSU’s Northwest Washington Research & Extension Center (NWREC) in Mount Vernon. Her research and extension program focuses on the impacts of agricultural practices on soil health, microbial communities, and the functions they provide. She takes a systems approach to understanding dynamics of soil organic matter, microbes, and nutrients in agriculture to help improve the resilience of cropping systems. Deirdre received her MS and PhD in Soils & Biogeochemistry from UC Davis, where she studied the effects of soil amendments and irrigation management on soil carbon and nitrogen dynamics, soil health, and system productivity and profitability.

Thursday 2:00 pm, Room 207-208, Grapes
Soil Health in Vineyards

This talk will focus on vineyard soil health assessments and management options in different regions and climates. We will discuss the unique goals and challenges in vineyards and research done on soil management to improve soil functionsl

Jenny Groenheide

As a family the Groenheide’s own Tarrymore Farms in northwestern Ontario. They operate a mid sized beef farm and do some cash cropping. Farm products are sold mostly at their local farmers’ market. Being an active part of the community is very important to them. Currently Jenny sits on the Board of Directors for the local market, the Thunder Bay Country Market. She also represents the North with Farmers Markets' Ontario.

Wednesday 2:00 pm, Ballroom A, Farmers’ Markets Ontario
Growth Through Governance Workshop

The intent for this session is to engage discussion with farmers' market boards about the challenges and experiences associated with operating a farmers' market. There will be dialogue on high-level governance training including surveying the audience for future training opportunities for farmers' markets members and its vendors.

Alexandra Grygorczyk

Alexandra is a Research Scientist at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre. In her more than ten years at Vineland, she has been leading diverse grant funded research projects and providing contract services to support the food and horticulture industries. Her areas of research include investigating opportunities for creating value-added products from horticulture waste streams, providing sustainability-related market intelligence for the food and agriculture industries, and examining drivers of consumer preferences for fruits, vegetables and ornamental plants.

Wednesday 10:00 am, Room 204, Sustainability
OFVGA Survey Results: Grower Adoption of Sustainable Practices

In 2023 the OFVGA commissioned Vineland Research and Innovation Centre to collect baseline data for Ontario fruit and vegetable growers’ adoption of environmentally sustainable on-farm practices. The study gathered survey responses from a total of 161 growers (27 greenhouse, 134 outdoor farms) to estimate the percentage of growers that have adopted sustainable practices related to soil health, water quality, crop inputs, air quality, and waste management. The presentation will highlight key findings from these surveys.

Colleen Haskins

Colleen is the Food Safety Program Lead with OMAFRA and has been with the Ministry since 2011. Much of her work is focused on assisting farmers with navigating the food safety landscape and helping them understand how to minimize the food safety risks when producing food. Before OMAFRA, she worked as a Quality Assurance/Control Manager in a fresh produce packing facility.

Wednesday 9:30 am, Room 203, Farming Basics for New Growers: Part 1
Food Safety Basics

An overview of food safety on the farm, identifying common areas of food safety risk, and associated mitigation strategies. Part of the presentation will also provide available resources farmers can access and utilize to assist with implementation of food safety best practices and food safety programs at their farm.

Wednesday 3:30 pm, Room 204, Tree Nuts
Food Safety Considerations for Tree Nuts

An overview of food safety on the farm, as well food safety considerations for tree nut production and harvest. The presentation will identify common areas of food safety risk, and associated mitigation strategies. Part of the presentation will also provide available resources farmers can access and utilize to assist with implementation of food safety best practices at their farm.

Cindy Haughton

Cindy is a Civil Aviation Safety Inspector with Transport Canada and has been for over 24 years. She held a regulatory role in RPAS/Drone oversight since 2010. Her previous industry experience has been in traditional manned aviation. She has instructed and held Chief Flight Instructor positions and still holds a Class 1 Instructor rating. Cindy has also flown in industry in Part 702 air work and Parts 703, 704, 705; air taxi, commuter and airline operations. She left Canadian Regional Airlines in 2000 during the Air Canada merger to come to Transport Canada and currently pilots Transport Canada's Citation 550. She also holds a RPAS Advanced Pilot Certificate with a Flight Reviewer rating.

Thursday 2:30 pm, Room 203, Drone Spraying in Canada
RPAS/Drone Regulations in Canada

The presentation will cover the progress of RPAS integration into the Canadian aviation regulatory structure. The content will detail the current and proposed future rules for various types of RPAS operations.

Zachary Hayden

Dr. Hayden is an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in the Department of Horticulture at Michigan State University. His research and extension program focuses on soil and nutrient management for vegetable cropping systems. His team investigates strategies to help growers both manage nutrients profitably in the short term and improve the health and fertility of their soils over the long term. Focus areas include nitrogen management, organic and integrated fertility management, cover crop integration, soil health impacts, and remote sensing-based decision support.

Wednesday 10:30 am, Room 201-202, Sweet Corn & Cucurbits
Can you Build Organic Matter on Sandy Soils?

Learn key principles and strategies for building organic matter and promoting soil health for vegetable crops grown on sandy soils. We’ll discuss practical examples from multiple cropping systems as well as results from long term research.

Wednesday 2:00 pm, Room 201-202, Vegetables
Carrot Nitrogen Management and Remote Sensing

We will discuss research evaluating the impacts of nitrogen fertilizer management (rate and timing) on processing carrot yields and quality, and the potential (and challenges) of drone-based remote sensing for improving adaptive N management.

Friedhelm Hoffmann

Friedhelm Hoffmann, BSc Hons(agr) Agronomist Precision Ag and Fertigation Lakeside Grain & Feed Limited originating from Germany. Achieved bachelor’s degree in Ag Science at the University of Nuertingen, Germany. Worked on a variety of livestock and vegetable farms abroad. Immigrated to Canada in 1998, working at large-scale greenhouses as grower and Manager for Tomatoes, Peppers for 7+ years. Additionally, 12 years as General Operating Manager at a large 2000+ acre operation in Huron County growing various fresh market vegetables and cash crops. Successfully produced a variety of high-quality product, over his 25-year+ Canadian work experience. At Lakeside, Friedhelm works closely with field and vegetable crop fertility to improve plant health and yield. In collaboration, developed a fertigation program for farm operations. Implementing precision orientated agriculture for high value crops, including practical injection equipment, SAP/tissue analysis, soil sampling and water quality analysis. Since 2017, and currently with Lakeside’s Hort/Orch team as Agronomist working with farmers to develop Fertility and spray programs. Friedhelm, with his team travel across Ontario consulting with the goal of making “Good Farmers great”.

Thursday 10:00 am, Room 204, Soil Health
On-Farm Soil Mapping and Technology to Improve Site-Specific Management (PANEL)

Achieving optimum plant health is essential for big quality yields and less costs. Soil health, fertility, availability of nutrients at the proper time are key to ensure demands of plants are being met. Precise soil and in season plant analytical data help to provide insight into the plants’ needs during the ever-changing environment in growing season. This information along with crop yield goals will be converted into specific in season fertilizer applications to reach goals.

Kendra Holliday-Bryant

Kendra is a Project Director at the WSIB. She joined the WSIB 18 years ago, beginning as a consolidated adjudicator before quickly moving on to managing a variety of case management teams in the Kitchener office for most of her career. In January 2020, Kendra moved into the role of Stakeholder Relations Manager, working closely with stakeholders in many sectors, including Agriculture, Mining, and the Federal Government to address systemic and global issues along with providing proactive engagements. In December 2023, Kendra took on the role of project director overseeing the Foreign Agricultural Worker Review. Kendra has a Bachelor of Commerce Degree in Public Management and a Masters of Arts Degree in Public Policy and Administration from the University of Guelph.

Thursday 10:30 am, Ballroom B, General Labour
WSIB 101: Forms, Recovery and Return to Work

When an injury or illness happens at the workplace, WSIB is here to help. This session will focus on next steps following an injury or illness, including an overview of pertinent forms and associated timelines. Participants will explore how the WSIB supports injured/ill people and their employers with recovery and return to work. This session will also include information on coverage for Foreign Agricultural Workers participating in the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program.

Michael Holzworth

Mike is a graduate from University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus with a diploma in Agriculture and Horticulture. As well as being a research Agronomist at C & M Seeds, He is the third generation to live on his family farm with his wife Tiffany outside of Palmerston Ontario. On their farm, they have 60 beef cows and crop 400 acres, including 9 acres of fresh market sweet corn. They have been growing sweet corn for over 40 years and can’t imagine a summer without the hustle and bustle of a busy August morning.

Wednesday 10:00 am, Room 201-202, Sweet Corn & Cucurbits
The Art of Growing a High Quality Sweet Corn Crop

The Holzworth family has been growing fresh market sweet corn outside of Palmerston for over 40 years. They supply 3 grocery stores and several roadside stands and farmers markets. This presentation will touch on the numerous things that they have learned from when they started and touch on where they want to go in the future. Topics to be discussed will be variety selection, planting strategies, labour experiences and marketing strategies.

Julie Hornick-Martyk

Julie has been the Food Assistance Outreach Coordinator at the Food Bank of Waterloo Region for two years. Her role is to assist community members with locating community resources and offering support to over 120 agencies within the Community Food Assistance Network.

Wednesday 11:00 am, Ballroom A, Farmers' Markets Ontario
Community Food Partnerships: Public Markets as Tools for Food Security

Discover in this session how The Food Bank of Waterloo Region and The Kitchener Market worked together to implement a Market Dollar pilot, providing crucial support to households experiencing food insecurity. Using an asset-based approach to program development, this conversation will highlight the benefits of this approach, share key insights, and guide you on replicating this innovative initiative in your own community!

Danny Jefferies

Danny is the Soil Management Specialist with the Horticulture Tech Unit at OMAFRA. Through field days, plot demonstrations, and presentations he shares information with producers on soil health, precision ag and best management practices for managing soils. Danny is a Certified Crop Advisor and holds a master's degree in environmental sciences from the University of Guelph. He has a background in field crop agriculture in Ontario as an agronomy and precision ag consultant over past 10 years.

Wednesday 10:30 am, Room 203, Farming Basics for New Growers: Part I
Soil Matters

Explore the fundamental elements of soil science in this concise presentation. Delve into soil composition, texture, and structure, understanding drainage and field variability. Learn how to leverage AgMaps to access valuable local soil data. Uncover effective strategies for soil health management, examining the roles of tillage and cover cropping in building resilient soils. Join us on a journey to cultivate a base level understanding of soils, empowering you to enhance your farm and agricultural practices.

Thursday 10:00 am, Room 204, Soil Health & Fertility
On-Farm Soil Mapping and Technology to Improve Site-specific Management

Embark on a journey into on-farm soil mapping and site-specific technology with our insightful panel presentation. Gain invaluable insights from three seasoned farmers and a knowledgeable consultant who have successfully applied technology in practical applications for soil and fertility management. Explore technologies including intensive soil sampling, soil scanning, remote sensing, and fertigation. Each panelist will share their unique journey harnessing these innovations, fostering an engaging discussion that promises to elevate your understanding of site-specific management and enhance agricultural practices.

Peter Jones

Pete is a Sonoma County native with a career spanning commerce, payments, SaaS, adult bev, and is also the co-founder of aesthete wines. In his role at Shopify he works with some of the world’s largest suppliers, distributors, retailers, and the largest firms that deliver on their business requirements. Pete is passionate about helping businesses leverage best-in-class technology that empowers companies of all sizes to thrive in the ever-changing and hyper competitive alcohol industry.

Wednesday 11:00 am, Room 207-208, Oenology
Reshaping the Direct-to-Consumer Experience

Thomas Kuhar

Dr. Kuhar is a Professor in the Department of Entomology at Virginia Tech, where his research and Extension efforts focus on the biology of agricultural pests and developing and evaluating sound integrated pest management solutions on vegetable crops. He has published over 140 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles, 7 book chapters and over 250 non-peer reviewed trade journal and Extension publications geared around insect pest management. He routinely presents pest management talks at 25 to 30 Extension/grower meetings throughout the eastern US each year and contributes to updating the insect control sections in two regional commercial vegetable recommendations guides. He has advised over 30 graduate students during his 22-year tenure as a professor and currently has eight graduate students, a postdoc, and two technicians. Dr. Kuhar has also served as President of the Eastern Branch of the Entomological Society of America and has been an associate editor for three entomology journals Journal of Integrated Pest Management, Plant Health Progress, and Arthropod Management Tests.

Thursday 10:40 am, Room 201-202, Frequent Felons of Fruiting Vegetables
Growers Choice – An Interactive Exchange on Insect Issues

Interactive grower's choice discussion of important pests of fruiting vegetables.

Todd Leuty

Todd is recently retired as an Ontario provincial Crop Advisor specializing in tree nut horticulture, maple syrup production, forestry and various tree related farm practices. Bridging the sciences of tree-based horticulture and traditional forestry to benefit farming and the environment was the primary objective. Previously, Todd specialized in commercial tree fruit orchards, berries and vineyard management with a significant focus on developing and delivering integrated pest management with a team of specialists. Todd's recent family background includes apple farming in the Meaford area and working with commercial tree fruit industries in Niagara. Early Mennonite farming in Markham, dairy herd performance and northern forest industries broadly describes Todd’s historical family background. Todd completed a BSc in Orchard Horticulture (1984) and MSc (1988) in Viticulture Pest Management from the University of Guelph.

Wednesday 2:30 pm, Room 204, Tree Nuts
Producing Walnut, Butternut and Birch Tree Syrup

Similar to traditional maple syrup, maturing trees of walnut, butternut and birch can also be tapped in late winter to harvest sweet sap. The fresh sap is cooked and reduced using modern maple processing equipment to create a finished syrup having unique qualities. Recent research has focused on developing sustainable tapping practices to maintain tree health, increasing crop yield of walnut sap sugar and, refining cooking and processing techniques which can be specific to each tree species.

Sarah Marshall

As Manager of the Ontario Tender Fruit Growers and Fresh Grape Growers, Sarah represents growers of tender fruit and table grapes across Ontario. She reports to a board of directors for each organization and leads initiatives on research, marketing and promotion and works with stakeholders on government advocacy efforts on behalf of growers.

Wednesday 3:00 pm, Room 206, Tender Fruit
New Tender Fruit and Fresh Grape Variety Development

Information will be provided on promising new green and red seedless grapes and efforts to register plant growth regulators to support their high-quality production. New tender fruit varieties recently released and promising selections will be discussed.

Phyllis MacCallum

Phyllis is the Senior Program Manager of AgriLMI and AgriDiversity at the Canadian Agriculture Human Resource Council. She was raised on a commercial cow/calf operation in eastern Ontario. Phyllis has a passion for agriculture, horses and business. She pursued a Diploma in Equine from Kemptville College and then finished her degree at the University of Lethbridge in Agriculture Studies – Economics. Phyllis and her partner now raise purebred Herefords west of Ottawa.

Thursday 11 am, Ballroom B, General Labour
Labour Market Information Session

This session will discuss the current agriculture labor market situation which illustrates the impact of growing workforce challenges and will examine the impact of shortages and what employers are doing to recruit and retain workers. It will also examine the future outlook and set the stage for ongoing work in the agriculture sector.

Margaret May

Margaret works with OSCIA supporting Ontario Agriculture with workshops, webinars and cost share initiatives. She is keen to help growers find a fit with the programs delivered.

Wednesday 11:15 am, Room 204, Sustainability
Accessing Program $$ for Hort Growers

Join us as Margaret leads us through the programs available and points out opportunities for hort growers!

Jo-ann McArthur

Jo-Ann has spent a career building brands with consumers and retailers at Molson, Procter and Gamble, Unilever and Cadillac Fairview. As a divisional President of Molson Coors, and a member of its North America Management Board, Jo-Ann led the charge to sell more beer more profitably. As the owner and President of Nourish Food Marketing, Jo-Ann now builds powerful brands for food and beverage products in Canada, the US and Europe, creating marketing strategies that help move products off the shelves, into the consumer’s shopping basket, onto their plates and into their hearts. She currently appears in the international TV documentary series "Eat Me (or try not to)" airing on Curiosity Stream as a food marketing expert.

Thursday 11:00 am, Ballroom D, Farm Fresh Ontario
What Does the Year Ahead Hold? And How Can You Capitalize?

Join Jo-Ann as she outlines trends that need to be on your radar and what you can do to be ready to leverage them. The next few years will be bubbling with opportunities for food growers.

Melinda McArthur

Melinda is a passionate entrepreneur at Heatherlea Farm Shoppe, a foodie destination in the rolling hills of Caledon, ON. Renowned for its outstanding meats and butchery, this family-run farm, co-owned with her in-laws Pat and Gord and husband Don, boasts a unique on-farm butcher shop and dry aging vault. The shoppe, a centrepiece for local delicacies, meats, and house-made meals, underscores their commitment to local producers and culinary excellence. Recently, the acquisition of Damn Good Dips has broadened their culinary scope, introducing artisan dips like Kale Edamame, Dressed Labneh, and Lemon Sesame Hummus, further elevating their status in the gourmet food industry.

Wednesday 11:00 am, Ballroom D, Agritourism: Farm Fresh Ontario
Diversifying Your Business To Grow Your Brand

Join Melinda as she shares the journey of diversifying Heatherlea Farm Shoppe with Damn Good Dips. She'll cover what it's like starting wholesale for the first time and what it's like to take over an existing company. It's a story about growing our brand, learning new ropes, and how adding these artisan dips is reshaping our business. Expect real talk about starting fresh in wholesale!

Mary Ruth McDonald

Mary Ruth is a full professor in the Department of Plant Agriculture and also a Research Program Director for the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance. Her research and outreach activities are focused on clubroot of Brassica crops, integrated pest management and sustainable crop production, including agricultural robotics and adaptation to climate change. Dr. McDonald teaches undergraduate plant science and a graduate course in plant pathology and supervises grad students who are conducting both applied and basic research. She has received college, national and international awards for excellence in research, extension, and integrated pest management.

Wednesday 2:00 pm, Room 203, Long-Term Soil Pathogen
Prevention and Proactive Management: Lessons Learned from Clubroot of Cole Crops

Clubroot is a very difficult disease to manage. The plant pathogen that causes clubroot can survive in soil for over twenty years. The first step in management is to prevent the movement of soil from infested fields to fields without the pathogen. However, it is not easy to find the early stages of disease in the field. Approaches to disease management will be discussed. Some clubroot resistant vegetables are now available. Scouting and early management is important.

Wednesday 3:30 pm, Room 201-202, Vegetables
New Technologies for Crop Protection of Horticultural Crops

Advances in agricultural technology, especially involving robotics and molecular methods, are improving many aspects of crop protection, but at different rates. Advances in weed management have been driven by the rapid development of herbicide resistance. Insect monitoring is becoming more automated. The biggest challenges are in disease monitoring. Examples of successes, setbacks and progress will be provided.

Wendy McFadden-Smith

Wendy has been the Tender Fruit and Grape IPM Specialist with OMAFRA since 2008. She hasn't retired yet!

Thursday 10:30 am, Room 207-208, Grapes
How to Get the Most From Your Fungicide Buck

Re-evaluations, product withdrawals, resistance - all are wreaking havoc on disease management strategies. Wendy will explore how growers can make the most of the fungicides we have.

Emily McFaul

Emily is an MSc student in the Department of Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph. Her research focuses on evaluating pathogen factors that affect disease severity and management. She is examining the progression of Stemphylium vesicarium resistance to various fungicides and determining cultivar susceptibility to toxins produced by this pathogen. Through this, Emily hopes to contribute to improving Stemphylium leaf blight management practices and supporting sustainable onion production in the Holland Marsh, ON.

Wednesday 3:00 pm, Room 201-202, Vegetables
Stemphylium – The Unstoppable Force?

This presentation will examine the past, present and future of Stemphylium leaf blight (SLB) management in onion. The focus will be on historical challenges of cultivar susceptibility and fungicide efficacy while discussing the evolution of resistance and forecasting methods for SLB. Recent research findings and the potential consequences of reduced fungicide efficacy will be discussed, emphasizing the importance of ongoing research to address evolving challenges in crop protection.

Shawn McGowan

Shawn is the Government and Human Resources Specialist for Schuyler Farms Limited and The Norfolk Fruit Growers’ Association. He is responsible for all aspects of hiring, LMIAs, permits, on-boarding, off-boarding, employee relations, employee communications, Service Canada and FARMS/CanAg interaction and professional development. In addition, Shawn is the primary contact for communicating with Liaisons, Ministries, Service Canada and FARMS/CanAg, building community relationships, and actively participating on the Labour Committee of the OFVGA. He was invited to the ARMTT meeting in November of 2023, and has been invited back for the 2024 negotiations in Barbados. He has met directly with the Minister of Labour for Jamaica and for Trinidad to discuss the TFW program and actively seek ways to better the lines of communication and process. He has also worked with community organizations such as the TNO, City of Norfolk, The Farms of Norfolk Footballs Association, and Haldimand-Norfolk REACH for outreach to employees with disabilities.

Thursday 9:30 am, Ballroom B, General Labour
Navigating TFWP/SAWP Paperwork: LMIAs and Work Permits (PANEL)

Erin McLean

Erin farms with her family on their farms in Buckhorn, Ontario where they grow a wide range of fruits and vegetables for sale at their farm store, for PYO, at farmers markets and at on farm events they offer to their local communities.

Thursday 2:00 pm, Ballroom A, Farmers' Markets Ontario
Farm Labour, Food Security and Farmers’ Markets

Importance of farm workers for the farm and farmers’ markets.

Thomas Merritt

Thomas has a PhD and is the past chair of the board for the Greater Sudbury Market Association, the independent not-for-profit that runs The Sudbury Market. A transplanted American, Merritt has been going to The Market longer than he’s lived in Canada. In fact, The Market community was one of the things that drew him to Sudbury. A professor at Laurentian University, another central part of the Sudbury, Merritt sees The Market as a core part of a healthy local community and a strong local food network. The Market has recently transitioned from a city organization to an independent not-for-profit allowing it greater flexibility and responsiveness while maintaining close ties to the city and shared objectives.

Wednesday 2:00 pm, Ballroom A, Farmers' Markets Ontario
Growth Through Governance Workshop

Market Board governance best practices.

Timothy Miles

Dr. Miles is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences at Michigan State University. His research program focuses on fungal and oomycete pathogens on small fruit and hops covering a broad range of topics such as fungal genomics, fungicide resistance, metagenomics, postharvest diseases, and molecular diagnostics. He received his BSc degree in Biology at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI and completed a PhD from Michigan State University (MSU) in 2011 on anthracnose fruit rot of blueberry. Afterward, he held postdoctoral positions at the University of Idaho (Aberdeen, ID) and the United States Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service (Salinas, CA), both focusing on molecular diagnostics of various plant pathogens (primarily Phytophthora, Pythium, and Rhizoctonia spp.). He then was an Assistant Professor at California State University–Monterey Bay, where he worked with undergraduate students on various molecular diagnostic projects for plant pathogens. He returned to MSU in 2018 and, currently, his research and extension interests are focused on developing and implementing the best disease management practices.

Thursday 10:00 am, Room 207-208, Grapes
Assessment of Fungicide Resistance in Eastern Vineyards

Powdery mildew, downy mildew, and Botrytis bunch rot are caused by Erysiphe necator, Plasmopara viticola, and Botrytis cinerea, respectively, are among the most devastating grapevine diseases. Quinone outside inhibitors (QoIs), carboxylic acid amides (CAAs), and succinate dehydrogenase inhibitors (SDHIs) are keystone fungicides used for these diseases. However, repetitive use of single-site fungicides can result in development of resistance. The G143A mutation at the Cytb gene is responsible for resistance to QoI fungicides in P. viticola and E. necator populations. Similarly, a G1105S mutation at PvCesA3 gene causes resistance to CAAs in P. viticola, and five different SdhB mutations including H272R/Y, P225F/H, and N230I cause resistance to SDHIs in B. cinerea. A total of 360 E. necator samples, 670 P. viticola samples, and 216 B. cinerea samples were collected in a survey conducted in 2014, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 from MI, NY, WI, IN, OH, PA, GA, and ON states of the eastern United States and Canada to monitor fungicide resistance in field populations. Samples were tested using TaqMan probe-based assay or sequencing for QoI, CAA, or SDHIs resistance. Widespread QoI resistance in E. necator and P. viticola populations was found throughout the eastern United States and Canada. SDHI mutations were found in both E. necator and B. cinerea. Greater percentage of SDHI resistance in B. cinerea populations and CAA resistance in P. viticola populations were observed in the samples collected over the years. These surveys will assist with resistance management and allow growers to use these fungicides efficiently.

Amy Miller

Amy is the manager of Route 9 Cooperative in Ohio, US, a third-generation chestnut grower, and a doctor of Plant Pathology, specializing in nut and fruit diseases. She is committed to specialty crop research and continuing the family orchard legacy while focusing on long-term environmental and economic sustainability.

Wednesday 2:00 pm, Room 204, Tree Nuts
The Chestnut Industry in the Eastern US: A Generational Perspective

Chestnuts are a small but rapidly growing agricultural industry in the eastern United States. Three generations of the Miller family have witnessed their orchards transition from a weekend hobby to family-sustaining enterprise. The story of the development of the chestnut industry in Ohio is interwoven with collaboration and friendships with researchers and other chestnut growers all over the eastern US. Chestnuts foster community, and collaboration is the key to continued success.

Wednesday 3:00 pm, Room 204, Tree Nuts
The Cooperative Model for Tree Crops: Our Experience With Chestnuts

The cooperative model is an ideal business structure for tree crop/specialty crop producers. It allows small growers to take advantage of the economy of scale of a large enterprise, allows growers and employees to focus and specialize within the company, and circumvents the "race to the bottom" competition that growers can experience in localized areas. We present our experiences with forming a cooperative for chestnuts, which can translate to other crops and multi-crop enterprises.

John Molenhuis

John has been with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs as the Business Analysis and Cost of Production Specialist for the past 23 years. He is the lead for cost of production reports and financial benchmarking projects. John has a degree in Agricultural Business from the University of Guelph.

Wednesday 10:00 am, Room 203, Farming Basics for New Growers: Part I
Financial and Business Planning Tripping Points

There are a few common ‘tripping points’ why farms do not have cost of production by crop or financial projections and where they struggle with business planning. This session will highlight these areas and provide tips to avoid being tripped up.

Thursday 3:30 pm, Room 204, Cost of Production
Cost of Production Toolbox

This session will outline the resources and tools available to assist in developing your own cost of production. Economic reports outlining the cost of establishment and annual production costs for grapes, tender fruit, apple and berry crops are available. Calculating cost of production and evaluating farm business decisions can be made easier with excel-based spreadsheet tools.

Paul Moran

A financial and Insurance Advisor with 36 years experience representing Co-operators Insurance. Providing comprehensive insurance solutions with a focus on families and small business.

Wednesday 10:00 am, Ballroom A, Farmers' Markets Ontario
Enhancing Safety and Managing Risk at Your Market

Risk management guidelines for markets.

Josh Mosiondz

Josh is the Provincial Minor Use Coordinator (PMUC) for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs. As PMUC, he is responsible for submission of provincially sponsored User Requested Minor Use Label Expansions, Emergency Use Registrations, and the annual priority collection exercises held each fall and winter.

Wednesday 11:00 am, Room 205, Spotted Lanternfly: What Grape Growers Need to Know
Spotting Opportunities to Stomp Lanternfly

Spotted lanternfly is an emerging pest of grapevines in the Unites States. Learn about best management practices under development for vineyards, including tools available to producers in Canada, as the industry prepares for the arrival of this invasive pest.

Shiraz Mottiar

Shiraz was in the first graduating class at Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute. Upon graduation, he joined Malivoire Wine Company in 2000 and was promoted to Winemaker in 2005. In 2017 Shiraz was awarded Quench Magazine's Winemaker of the Year at the Ontario Wine Awards, and in 2021, Malivoire was recognized by WineAlign as Canadian Winery of the Year at the National Wine Awards. Shiraz has also farmed his own vineyards since 1999 and has been an integral committee member of Sustainable Winegrowing Ontario. Now the winery’s Team Principal and GM, Shiraz continues to guide the winery and industry towards a more sustainable future.

Wednesday 9:30 am, Room 207-208, Oenology
A Sustainable Winegrowers' Dilemma

Sustainability in the winery and trends in winemaking technologies – how to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Sonny Murray

Sonny has over 20 years of experience in the agricultural industry, working with producers on crop input and seasonal planning. During his time in the agricultural retail business, he spent time developing crop input plans tailored to the producer’s quality and yield goals. Sonny provides advisory services in horticultural crops, including strawberries, blueberries and caneberries. Sonny’s experience includes nutrient management, soil fertility, weed management, crop rotation and soil conservation. He obtained his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree from the former Nova Scotia Agricultural College, where he majored in Plant Science and minored in Pest Management. After graduating, Sonny started his career in canola production and weed research with the Nova Scotia Agricultural College. Sonny has received many industry awards in recognition of his service, including the 2014 Nova Scotia Agrologist of the Year. His extension activities include responding to farm inquiries, hosting production workshops and tours, and publishing fact sheets.

Wednesday 3:00 pm, Ballroom C, Berries
Weed Control in June Bearing Strawberries: Covering Windows of Time

Sonny will walk attendees through the planning process of putting together a seasonal weed program for weed control in June bearing strawberries.

Kristen Obeid

Kristen has a master’s degree in weed science from the University of Manitoba and an honors bachelor of science degree in agriculture from the University of Guelph. As OMAFRA’s Weed Management Specialist for Horticulture crops, she leads the development, coordination and implementation of programs related to weed management issues in Ontario. Kristen is the Chair of the AgRobotics Working Group, Chair of the Ontario Pest Management Conference and Co-Chair of the Weed Surveillance Community of Practice which is part of the Canadian Plant Health Council. Kristen is a past recipient of the Deputy Minister's Award for her work as a provincial vegetable specialist, recipient of the Excellence in Weed Science Extension Award from the Canadian Weed Science Society and recently received the Gold Harvest Award from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada as part of the project team that has developed numerous rapid genetic tests for herbicide resistant weed detection.

Wednesday 9:30 am, Room 206, Tender Fruit
How to Manage Resistant and Difficult to Control Weeds in Tender Fruit

Learn strategies on how to control the most difficult weeds (including resistant ones) in tender fruit.

Wednesday 2:00 pm, Room 207-208, Grapes
How to Manage Resistant and Difficult to Control Weeds in Grapes

Learn strategies on how to control the most difficult weeds (including resistant ones) in tender grapes.

James Osborne

James is the Director of the Oregon Wine Research Institute and a Professor and Enology Extension Specialist in the Food Science and Technology Department at Oregon State University. He received his PhD from Washington State University in 2005 researching interactions between wine yeast and bacteria after which he spent time in his native New Zealand working at the University of Auckland. His research focuses on the impact of wine lactic acid bacteria, Brettanomyces, and non-Saccharomyces yeast on wine quality James provides outreach programs for the Oregon wine industry such as technical workshops and seminars to aid in the transfer of relevant research results to winery application. In addition, James teaches undergraduate and graduate classes in support of the enology and viticulture program at Oregon State University.

Wednesday 10:30 am, Room 207-208, Oenology
Brettanomyces Control Strategies in the Winery

Brettanomyces continues to be a concern during wine production despite our best efforts to prevent it. Growth of this yeast in wine can lead to an array of unpleasant aromas and Brett’s survivalist nature makes it difficult to eradicate in the cellar. This session will discuss the challenges of preventing Brettanomyces spoilage and strategies to prevent and control its growth in wine.

Cheryl Peck

Cheryl’s professional life is dedicated to creating, growing, and producing award winning apple cider products. The success of this Canadian owned and operated business is its focus on quality: quality locally grown ingredients, a quality production system and quality people, in the form of positive, motivated team members. As The Cider Boss, she is passionate about growing and supporting local value-added food production, producing the highest quality Cider Keg brand apple ciders for our local consumers, independent level vendors through to national chains. They also collaborate with many companies to develop proprietary cider blends for new unique products or enable expansion of company private label product line using their own Cider Keg proven cider products. Cheryl’s education and family guidance gave her a solid foundation, but it is her personal drive, entrepreneurial spirit paired with the network of partners and employees that she depends on for collective success.

Wednesday 11:00 am, Ballroom D, Agritourism: Farm Fresh Ontario
Diversifying Your Business to Grow Your Brand

An overview of how Cider Keg took apples to the next level in value added production. There are apples in every product they grow, press and package on the family century farm.

Jennifer Phillips Russo

Jennifer is the Cornell Viticulture Extension Specialist for the Lake Erie Regional Grape Program. Her current research investigates floor management practices for water and nutrient conservation in non-irrigated vineyards, microclimate cold hardiness/phenology monitoring, spray applications to delay budbreak, and precision viticulture management strategies. Her extension work at LERGP brings local experience and research-based solutions together to provide projects aimed at increasing yields, product quality, diversity and improvement of cultivars, efficiency of production, profitability, and adoption of environmentally sound cultural management strategies with emphasis on soil and grapevine health, site selection, growth control, nutrition and water management, and harvest management. There are approximately 31,500 acres of vineyard in the Lake Erie region of New York and Pennsylvania grown on 582 farms, making this the largest grape growing region in the eastern US. Jennifer received the New York Wine and Grape Foundation 2022 Unity Award for Researcher of the Year.

Thursday 2:30 pm, Room 207-208, Grapes
A Twelve-Year Vineyard Cover Crop Case Study and Journey to Vine and Soil Health

Cover crops address many practical concerns on farms, including preventing erosion, improving moisture retention in the summer, and weed suppression. This program used a roller crimper since 2015 to terminate, which is not common practice in Concord vineyards. Cover crops help decrease runoff and erosion that may carry pesticides, valuable nutrients, and topsoil away from the grapevines, but concern is competition for soil moisture and nutrients. This case study reveals a journey to this Concord vineyard’s vine and soil health.

Thursday 11:00 am, Room 207-208, Grapes
Smart Vineyard Panel

MyEV: Open-Access Visualization Tool to Measure, Model & Manage Spatial Data: Precision Viticulture is the future of grape production. Technological components of digital agriculture, from new sensing mechanisms to variable-rate mechanized management, are developing quickly and there is growing evidence on the positive impact of precision viticulture applications on production efficiency and environmental sustainability. This presentation is for growers, Extension agents, crop consultants, vineyard management companies, and other vineyard service providers to learn about the MyEV platform. This cost-effective digital agriculture tool is open-access to experience the benefits of spatial-data-driven farming.

Sudarsana Poojari

Sudarsana is a Principal Scientist and Adjunct Professor at Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI). Sud received his PhD in Plant Pathology from Washington State University. He leads the national grapevine virus testing facility and grapevine clean plant program at Brock University and his research is focused on advanced molecular diagnostics, epidemiology, insect vector-host interactions, and sustainable disease management solutions for plant viral diseases.

Wednesday 2:30 pm, Room 207-208, Grapes
Advances in Understanding Grapevine Pinot Gris and Grapevine Red Blotch Viruses

Discover the forefront of grapevine virology with our presentation, "Advances in Understanding Grapevine Pinot Gris and Grapevine Red Blotch Viruses." Gain insights into virus incidence, symptoms manifestation, unravel the genetic diversity, and explore the intricate dynamics of virus spread within grapevines. This session offers a comprehensive exploration, equipping you with the latest knowledge crucial for effective disease management and sustainable viticulture practices.

Aaron Pothier

Aaron has been with the LCBO since 2005 and has worked in both store development and merchandising. He has been the Category Manager for Ontario Wines since 2018 and his team is responsible for the buying and promoting of local products.

Wednesday 10:00 am, Room 207-208, Oenology
LCBO: Ontario Wines Business Update

LCBO business update.

Philip Powell

Philip was born and raised in the Ottawa Valley. After a brief career in banking, he applied to a newspaper ad offering “an unusual and stimulating opportunity for a hands-on manager” with the City of Ottawa. That led to a 30-year career managing Ottawa’s historic ByWard and Parkdale Markets. Philip’s passion for markets and local food saw him serve as treasurer and chair of Farmers’ Markets Ontario and as a founding member of Savour Ottawa, the Capital’s “buy local” culinary initiative. Philip now works locally and internationally sharing his farmers’ market and municipal government expertise.

Wednesday 10:00 am, Ballroom A, Farmers' Markets Ontario
Enhancing Safety and Managing Risk at Your Market

Be the first to see FMO's new Risk Management Webpage and find out how to: 1. Identify and Reduce Risk; 2. Manage Risk; 3. Transfer and Share Risk with Insurance. This interactive session will give you a chance to ask an experienced market manager and insurance professional your questions.

Angela Proudfoot

Angela is the Project Administrator Sustainable Food and Clean Water at Canadore College in North Bay Ontario. Currently, she manages the solar hydroponic grow facility on campus which creates food for the culinary program with minimal impact on the environment. Her work includes plant growth and research, insect mitigation, nutrient management, creating SOPs and biosafety documents, and managing a small-scale water purification plant. She has previously worked as a sustainability scientist and researcher, an agriculture assistant, and a facilities technician. They all included work with growing and maintaining plants as well as forest mitigation, her love of the natural world plants her firmly as someone who enjoys what she does.

Thursday 10:30 am, Ballroom A, Farmers' Markets Ontario
Food Sovereignty for Indigenous Communities – Virtual Tour

Jake Rasch

Jake is the co-owner of Rasch Family Orchards. He runs the farm with his brother Nick and dad Don. They have 500 acres of apples, 52 acres of peaches and 8 acres of pears and grow ten varieties of peaches. Jake manages the new plantings and running the crew. If you made it to last winter IFTA, you got to see his newest peach planting (In-row V) of 12 foot by 6 foot with 3 leaders per tree with a 2-wire trellised with bamboo orchard. This session will be a continuation on his progressive methodology for peach orchards of the future.

Wednesday 11:00 am, Room 206, Tender Fruit
Planting Peach Orchards for the Future: High Density Grower Panel

This talk will be a continuation on my progressive ways of peach orchards of the future. We’ve been getting good production on the perpendicular V, but on this in-row V, I’m getting better-quality fruit. The in-row, V-system peach blocks have produced more uniform-sized fruit, and the number of peach pickings has been reduced from eight or nine down to five or six. That’s a huge labor savings. Peach trees are nothing but a labor pool. I anticipate an average harvest of 500 to 650 bushels per acre, depending on variety. For a decade, we used string thinners for blossom thinning, but has trialed Accede for five years and it’s now used for all blossom thinning.

Liam Reeves

Liam is the Winegrowing Manager at Stratus Vineyards, a premium vineyard and winery in Niagara-on-the-lake, Ontario, Canada. He graduated the Winery and Viticulture technician program at Niagara College in 2019, and holds a bachelor of Business Administration from Brock University. Liam has been working in the wine industry since 2016 at wineries such as Inniskillin, Stratus and Hidden Bench. He has also worked harvest at Bethany Winery in Australia’s Barossa Valley wine region. Liam is passionate about sustainable winegrowing, with the goal of producing the highest quality wines possible. During his time at Stratus, Liam has had the opportunity to explore new methods of sustainability in the vineyard, ensuring both the land and the wines will last for years to come.

Thursday 10:00 am, Room 204, Soil Health
On-Farm Soil Mapping and Technology to Improve Site-Specific Management (PANEL)

Thursday 3:30 pm, Room 207-208, Grapes
Use of SIS Analysis for Precision Farming and Viticulture: SIS analysis has proven to be a valuable tool for Stratus vineyards in management of their 55-acre site. This presentation will highlight this data and how it has been used to improve on precision viticulture, sustainability and overall farm health.

Michael Reinke

Michael is the Michigan State University Extension Viticulture Specialist located in Berrien County. He received his PhD in Entomology from MSU and has several years of industry experience in insect monitoring, pheromone-based insect management, and insect behavior in agricultural systems. In his role as viticulture specialist, Mike assists grape growers in all aspects of production for both wine and juice processing. When not focused on his extension activities, his research work revolves around incorporating tools and techniques from various production systems with the goal of improving grape growers’ resilience and future sustainability. One particular avenue of research is looking at the potential for high-precision crop spraying using unmanned aerial spraying systems (spray drones) in temperate specialty crops like grapes and other small fruits.

Thursday 3:00 pm, Room 203, Drone Spraying in Canada
How UASS Flight Characteristics Affect Spray Quality and Coverage

Unmanned aerial spray systems (spray drones) are a new method of pesticide application but are gaining acceptance quickly in some sections of agriculture. Adoption in the specialty crop spaces have been slower, primarily due to the lack of knowledge on how best to set the spray drones up for effective applications. Here I present data from two years of research on spray drones with a particular eye towards optimizing them for fruit crops.

Justin Renkema

Dr. Renkema is a Research Scientist in Entomology with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Vineland, Ontario. His research program focuses on developing integrated pest management strategies in vineyard, tree fruit, berry and specialty crops. Justin has a PhD from Dalhousie University (2007-2011), was a post-doctoral researcher at University of Guelph (2012-2015) and an Assistant Professor of Entomology at University of Florida (2015-2018). His primary current projects include biological control of spotted wing drosophila in berries, cyclamen mite management in strawberry, leafhoppers and vectors of grapevine red blotch virus in vineyards, mites in hops, and ambrosia beetles in tree fruit.

Thursday 10:00 am, Ballroom C, Apples
Ambrosia Beetles in Ontario Apple Orchards

Ambrosia beetles are small, wood-boring, fungus-farming pests of fruit trees, but little is known about their activity in Ontario tree fruit orchards. We found a high prevalence of black stem borer in most apple orchards surveyed, with peak flight in May in 2019 and in mid summer in 2021. More beetles were found on orchard edges than in the interior. We recovered a diverse suite of ambrosia beetle species from declining apple trees collected in spring 2023.

Adrian Rivard

Adrian is the President and Operations Manager of Drone Spray Canada Inc. Founded in 2019 in Chatham-Kent, the company has a strong focus on drones and agriculture. Adrian grew up near Chatham, spent 15 years coast to coast to coast as a professional pilot before returning to the family farm in 2017. This background has been a pairing of experience to understand and foster the industry.

Thursday 3:30 pm, Room 203, Drone Spraying in Canada
Spray Drones: Magic or Myth?

Join us as we share our insights on our 4-year history of operating spray drones. Success, failures, limitations and where the technology is headed. We've got candid answers to the buzz in the field.

Elaine Roddy

Elaine is involved in field research trials and extension. She specializes in asparagus, cucurbits, legume vegetables and sweet corn. Her responsibilities include all aspects of crop production and integrated pest management.

Thursday 10:30 am, Room 203, Farming Basics for New Growers: Part II
Planning and Scheduling Vegetable Crops: Sweet Corn Case Study

Using sweet corn as an example, we will work through the process of planning and scheduling a crop to help ensure steady availability and high quality across the entire harvest season.

Janice Anne Ruddock

Janice is a veteran of creating businesses and managing non-profit associations in the Canadian food and beverage sector. For 10 years Janice was the Executive Director of Taste of Nova Scotia, a non-profit association devoted to building the businesses of Nova Scotia owned food processors, producers and restaurants. During the same time Janice led the Winery Association of Nova Scotia during a period of intense growth for the Nova Scotia wine industry. As well Janice has also built two, multi-million-dollar private corporations servicing the needs of Canadian food and beverage companies. Janice joined the Ontario Craft Cider Association as their Executive Director in January 2021. Janice is recognized by friends, business associates and industry as being an avid supporter of business owners who take the chances, go against the odds and pursue their passion of bringing quality beverage and food products to their communities.

Wednesday 11:30 am, Ballroom B, Cider
Presentation of Ontario Craft Cider and Sweet Cider Award Winners

Come see and find out who the 2024 winners are for the Ontario Craft Cider and Sweet Cider competitions being held in conjunction with the convention. Attendees will also have an opportunity to sample amazing Ontario Craft Ciders!

Rusty Rumley

Rusty was born and raised on a ranch in Cogar, Oklahoma. After law school, Rusty earned his LL.M in Agricultural Law at the University of Arkansas and began working at the National Agricultural Law Center. He is licensed to practice law in the states of Oklahoma and Michigan. His primary areas of interest are in estate planning, taxation, business organizations, landowner liability, leasing and agritourism.

Thursday 9:30 am, Ballroom D, Farm Fresh Ontario
Agritourism Liability: Reducing the Lawsuit Risk

Legal liability is a significant challenge to agritourism operations. This session will look at practical steps that operators can take to reduce this risk.

Jesse Russell

Jesse oversees sustainable development at Canadore College. As a proud signatory to the SDG Accord, the college is focused on embedding the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals within the institution and broader community and achieving carbon neutrality by 2031. In his role, Jesse has led initiatives aimed at mitigating the impact that campus operations have on the environment and improving the well-being of employees and students. Most recently, he has led three nationally recognized projects. The first is focused on working with Indigenous communities to improve access to clean water. The second two, funded through Colleges and Institutes Canada, aim to obtain Forest Council Stewardship (FSC) certification for land at their College Drive Campus, while the second uses an off-grid grow pod to research solutions to improve food security for Indigenous and rural communities.

Thursday 10:30 am, Ballroom A, Farmers' Markets Ontario
Food Sovereignty for Indigenous Communities – Virtual Tour

The presentation will focus on our ImpAct-Climate Campus Living Labs project with Colleges and Institutes Canada, which researched opportunities to improve food security for rural and Indigenous communities using an off-grid grow pod. We will also provide a tour of the pod using RealWear goggles to provide a "see what I see" interaction for attendees.

Bernardita Sallato Carmona

Bernardita is Assistant Professor, Tree Fruit Extension Specialist at Washington State University with a Master's degree on plant physiology and fruit production, with 15 years of career focussed on soil and nutrient management in orchards.

Thursday 9:30 am, Room 204, Soil Health & Fertility
Mapping Orchard Variability and Soil Attributes to Improve Orchard Management

Mapping orchard variability and soil attributes to improve site-specific management decision making. Understand alternatives for orchard mapping, soil mapping technology, pros and cons of different mapping tools, and a case study in a highly variable apple orchard.

Thursday 3:00 pm, Ballroom C, Apples
In Orchard Diagnostic for Soil and Nutrient Management

How to diagnose tree health or limiting factors in tree fruit orchards to maximize productivity. A review of basic factors influencing nutrient uptake and tree health, identification of limiting factors and validated tools to support decision making.

Mark Saunders

Mark, the Director of Fun and President of Saunders Farm, studied history and economics at University of Guelph. In 1992 after travelling the world, Mark returned to his family’s strawberry farm to help his parents take the farm in a new direction becoming pioneers in agri-tourism in North America. Together with his amazing wife Angela, Saunders Farm produces Haunting Season, Frightfest, A Christmas in the Country, Farm Camp, farm to table dinners, weddings, corporate events and its first off-site festival- Sawmill Haunt at Lansdowne downtown Ottawa. Mark also owns Saunders Cider, a beverage company started in 2021 and can be found at over 100 locations including the LCBO but is best enjoyed in the Ciderhouse tap room at Saunders Farm.

Wednesday 11:00 am, Ballroom D, Agritourism; Farm Fresh Ontario
Diversifying Your Business to Grow Your Brand

Claudia Schmidt

MClaudia is an assistant professor of marketing and local/regional food systems at Penn State. Her research focuses on diversification options for small-scale agricultural producers and processors. Before joining Penn State, she worked in the Canadian private agricultural research sector for over ten years. Claudia leads the Penn State Agritourism program and is a member of IRENA - an international agritourism research network, and GAN, the Global Agritourism Network.

Wednesday 2:00 pm, Ballroom D, Agritourism: Farm Fresh Ontario
Essential Research Before Launching Agritourism Activities

This session will give an overview of the research needed before starting or adding more agritourism activities, highlighting the importance of strategic planning.

Amy Fang Shi

Amy has been the research associate of the Ontario Ginseng Growers Association since 2015. She is a plant pathologist focusing on identifying pests and pest management solutions for Ontario ginseng growers. Amy has an MSc in Plant pathology from the University of Guelph and is currently finishing up her PhD degree. Prior to joining the ginseng growers, she worked as a plant pathologist with the University of Guelph, identifying pests and assessing the efficacy of pest control products on ornamentals, vegetables and specialty crops.

Wednesday 2:30 pm, Room 203, Long-Term Soil Pathogen
What is Killing My Crop: Plant Disease Forensics

The first step in managing soil-borne pathogens is to understand what you have in the soil. There are many tools available for determining what pathogens may be affecting your crop. This talk will cover sampling methods, the available tools and the benefits and limitations of each.

Ellen Sinclair

Ellen is the Executive Director of the Rural Ontario Institute (ROI). She supports a board of directors who represent a wide range of the province’s rural and agricultural interests. Ellen also manages a strong, professional team that runs ROI’s many programs and services. These include the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program (AALP), the Rural Change Makers program and ROI’s popular Rural Ontario Facts - factsheets and dashboards that tell the story of Ontario’s rural way of life. Ellen has been a lifelong champion of community and economic development and speaks first-hand to the critical role of the volunteer board.

Wednesday 2:00 pm, Ballroom A, Farmers' Markets Ontario
Growth Through Governance

Not-for-profits like farmers’ market boards are dependent on strong and committed volunteers to do the good work they do. This starts with a strong, vibrant, committed and competent governing board. This workshop will cover the fundamental requirements of a board and it will prompt you to examine your individual contribution to the health of your organization and its cause.

Lynn Sosnoskie

Lynn is an Assistant Professor of Weed Management in Specialty Crops at Cornell University. Her crop responsibilities focus on processing vegetables, apples and grapes, hemp, and hops. She conducts traditional herbicide trials, screens for herbicide resistance, and is evaluating novel weed control technology such as precision sprayers and cultivators, autonomous robotic systems, and electrical weeders. She is New York's IR-4 Liaison and works closely with WSSA colleagues to address and understand the EPA's new herbicide strategy for the protection of threatened and endangered species.

Thursday 9:30 am, Room 207-208, Grapes
Evaluation of Novel Technology in Grapes and Perennial Crops

In addition to concerns about evolved resistance, herbicide use in grapes may be unwanted because of crop injury and worker safety concerns, changing public perceptions, and environmental impacts. Consequently, there is growing interest in novel technology for weed management. In NY, research trials are evaluating the performance of targeted spray systems in grapes; additional studies are focused on electrical weeding and autonomous robots. This presentation will summarize current data and possible barriers to adoption.

Tom Stevenson

Tom tills about 130 acres and his main crop is strawberries. We fruit 13 to 15 acres of short day berries and one acre of long day berries. Along with the berries, we grow peas, sweet corn, melons, pumpkins and hoop house tomatoes and about 60 acres of oats and or winter rye that we use as straw for the berries.

Wednesday 9:30 am, Ballroom C, Berries
Farm Spotlight

An overview of Stevenson Strawberry Farm, Wayne, Maine, USA.

Jay Subramanian

Jay has over 25 years of experience in horticulture, especially fruit crop improvement in India, US and Canada. He has worked with diverse crop species and for the past 18 years has been working with tender fruits - both using conventional and contemporary approaches. He has developed and released 14 improved varieties in India and Canada. He is an investigator in several provincial, national and International grants such as IDRC and has obtained over 10 million dollars in grants as PI or Co-PI. He has invited to present his work at several national and International organizations including the UN General Assembly’s Market Place in New York and at the Global Affairs Canada, Ottawa. He is a member of the editorial board in three International Journals and has reviewed manuscripts for over 20 International journals. He has published over 130 research articles, co-edited 3 books, has 8 patents and 20 PBRs.

Wednesday 3:00 pm, Room 206, Tender Fruit
New Tender Fruit and Fresh Grape Variety Development

Information will be provided on promising new green and red seedless grapes and efforts to register plant growth regulators to support their high-quality production. New tender fruit varieties recently released and promising selections will be discussed.

Darien Temprile

Darien is the first Executive Director of the Canadian Grapevine Certification Network (CGCN-RCCV). She started with CGCN-RCCV as Project Manager back in 2019 through 2021, then took some time away to complete a Master of Business Administration at McMaster University before returning as Executive Director in 2023. Darien is also the Project Manager of Ontario Grape and Wine Research Inc. and sits on the CCOVI Advisory Council in this role. Darien has been involved in the Canadian grape & wine industry in various administrative and associate roles for 5 years and is excited to continue in the industry to advocate for continuous investments in R&D initiatives and promote grapevine certification standards.

Wednesday 3:30 pm, Room 207-208, Grapes
Updates on CGCN-RCCV Certification Programming and Cluster Funding

CGCN-RCCV’s Executive Director will provide updates on amendments made to CGCN-RCCV’s Certification programs, and address status updates on Sustainable CAP applications including the long-awaited Grape & Wine Science Cluster.

Dana Thatcher

Dana, a school teacher by trade, left the education field to farm and to establish an on-farm market, butcher shop and bakery. Together with her husband and their three children they operate the market, raise livestock, cash crop and most recently have incorporated a new on-farm event space. When not farming (which is a rare occurrence), the family enjoys campfires down by the stream in their back field and eating together daily, as a family. Growing and eating food is at the heart of the Thatcher Farms’ family business.

Wednesday 3:00 pm, Ballroom D, Agritourism: Farm Fresh Ontario
Diversifying Enterprises

What began as a hog finishing farm in the early 2000's, has evolved and diversified out of necessity and out of a passion for people, food and agriculture. What was once a traditional hog farm, has evolved into direct to consumer on-farm retail as well as on farm weddings and events. Dana will speak to the labour of love and how the evolution of Thatcher Farms began and has become what it is today.

Neil Thornton

As President of The Thornton Group and author of his new book ‘Presence, Impact and Influence’, Neil brings 20 years of experience to business and management development, strategic planning, executive coaching, and team culture. A hands-on consultant, he’s met clients everywhere from job sites to shop floors, boardrooms, remote teams and everywhere in between. Neil is well known for his highly energetic, dynamic speaking style and in-depth knowledge on topics ranging from strategic execution to the new reality of business development, branding, speaker and leadership development, body language and communications.

Thursday 1:00 pm, Ballroom D, Farm Fresh Ontario
Cultivating a Culture of Engaged Teams - Workshop

Whether you are leading or speaking, your presence and ability to 'own' and 'understand' your influence is critical today: Real world tools to engage people and generations in the workplace; Learn tools to help you lead change in your next presentation, interview, performance review and team interaction; Greater understanding of how to read the impact you have on others.

Ron Tite

Relevant, engaging, and interactive, Ron exceeds expectations every time he takes the stage. Named one of the “Top 10 Creative Canadians” by Marketing Magazine, he’s an award-winning advertising writer and creative director who has worked with some of the world’s most respected brands, including Air France, Evian, Hershey, Kraft, Intel, Microsoft, and Volvo. Addressing a variety of topics surrounding leadership, corporate strategy, and creativity, Tite’s presentations are not only information-packed but also infused with his unique humour. Tite is the founder of Church+State, a content marketing agency based in Toronto. His work has been recognized by The London International Advertising Awards, The New York Festivals of Advertising, The Crystals, The Extras, The Canadian Marketing Association, and The Marketing Awards, to name just a few. He also hosts Church+State’s Canadian Podcast Award-winning series, “The Coup”. Tite is also a bestselling author of two books: Everyone’s An Artist (Or At Least They Should Be) and Think. Do. Say.: Building Personal and Organizational Momentum in a Busy, Busy World.

Wednesday 9:30 am, Ballroom D, Agritourism: Farm Fresh Ontario
Your Stories Are More Powerful Than Your Data

Once upon a time, business was interesting. Then we discovered metrics and spreadsheets. Before you know it, the left brainers took over and we became a legion of data evangelists who let the numbers speak for themselves. There’s only one problem. Numbers are boring as hell. Data can help you make important decisions but it should never speak for you. The stories of your customers, the stories of your brand’s promise, the stories of your experiences, heck, even the stories of your stories are far more interesting than any graph or table. Normally, interesting trumps boring. Emotional beats rational. Ron’s humorous and interesting sessions will help you and your team collect, curate, tell and share the stories you already have.

Doug Trivers

Doug owns and operates Dayson Agricultural Ventilation Ltd., which specializes in the design and installation of turn-key ventilation systems for vegetable storage. Prior to joining Dayson, Doug worked as an Agricultural Engineer for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. During his 10 years with OMAFRA he served as an Energy Specialist developing and promoting efficient energy management and control strategies in agricultural heating and ventilation systems. Doug is a graduate of the University of Guelph , School of Engineering and is a licensed professional engineer in the Province of Ontario.

Wednesday 2:30 pm, Room 201-202, Vegetables
Getting The Most Out Of Your Vegetable Storage

Storage management is as much of an art as it is a science. A review of the practical aspects of humidification, refrigeration and air distribution will assist storage operators in getting better results from their long-term crop storage.

Dennis Van Dyk

Dennis is a vegetable crop specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs based out of Guelph. His portfolio of crops includes potatoes, carrots, parsnips and the brassica root vegetables. With an MSc in Plant Pathology from the University of Guelph, Dennis is passionate about helping growers find solutions through on-farm research and new technologies.

Thursday 9:30 am, Room 203, Farming Basics for New Growers: Part II
Crop Overviews: Specialty Crops

Vegetable Crops: Overview of the most important things to consider when growing vegetables commercially.

Steven Van Timmeren

Steven is a research technician in the Berry Crops Entomology and Pollination Ecology laboratory at Michigan State University. He conducts research on economically important insect pests of berry crops with a focus on species relevant to commercial blueberry and grape growers. Steven has been studying spotted-wing drosophila (SWD) since it was discovered in Michigan in 2010. Research on SWD spans a wide range of topics including insecticide efficacy, cultural control methods, and more recently investigations into biocontrol options.

Wednesday 2:00 pm, Ballroom C, Berries
Rebuilding blueberry IPM programs for spotted-wing drosophila

Once upon a time, business was interesting. Then we discovered metrics and spreadsheets. Before you know it, the left brainers took over and we became a legion of data evangelists who let the numbers speak for themselves. There’s only one problem. Numbers are boring as hell. Data can help you make important decisions but it should never speak for you. The stories of your customers, the stories of your brand’s promise, the stories of your experiences, heck, even the stories of your stories are far more interesting than any graph or table. Normally, interesting trumps boring. Emotional beats rational. Ron’s humorous and interesting sessions will help you and your team collect, curate, tell and share the stories you already have.

Moises Vasquez

Moises is a Community Health Worker at Quest Community Health Centre, bringing his experience as an internationally trained physician to the forefront of his work. Fluent in Spanish, Moises specializes in primary care services, health education, and promotion and prevention, always striving to promote evidence-based knowledge and its translation into practical, community-focused health solutions. Moises' passion for healthcare extends beyond his professional life. He is a certified First Aid and CPR Instructor with the Canadian Red Cross and has volunteered with multiple organizations, including Niagara Health and Juravinski Hospital. His commitment to health, education, and community service, combined with his diverse skills and experiences, make him a valuable asset in the field of community health.

Wednesday 10:00 am, Room 206, Tender Fruit
Quest’s Seasonal Agricultural Worker's Health Program

This presentation will outline the health care services and coordination provided to seasonal agricultural workers in the Niagara region by the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Health Program. As well, we will discuss how our program and services benefit and assist employers of seasonal agricultural workers.

Ben Vermeulen

Vermeulen Farms Limited is located in Canning, Nova Scotia in the Annapolis Valley. Ben owns and operates the second-generation family farm with his father Andy and wife Lindsey. Together with a team of 72 foreign labourers and 5 local employees, a diverse selection of fruits, vegetables and cut flowers are produced including asparagus, lettuces, strawberries, field cucumbers, bell peppers, winter squash, zucchini and soon apples. Ben has a background in biology and chemistry from Acadia University that has helped him bring new growing techniques to the operation including hydroponic production, as well as soil and fertility management. Using these techniques, they strive to innovate and continuously improve their growing practices to produce high quality fruits and vegetables to consumers in the maritime region and beyond.

Wednesday 11:00 am, Room 201-202, Sweet Corn & Cucurbits
Squash Production and Soil Management

An overview of current squash production methods and new soil management techniques at Vermeulen Farms Ltd., in Canning, Nova Scotia.

Thursday 11:00 am, Room 201-202, Soil Health & Fertility
On-Farm Soil Mapping and Technology to Improve Site-specific Management (PANEL)

An overview of variable rate soil mapping using Soiloptix field mapping and site-specific management using this technology at Vermeulen Farms Ltd., Canning, Nova Scotia.

Stephanie Vickers

Stephanie is the Sustainability Specialist for Horticulture Crops with the OMAFRA based in Vineland, Ontario. She works with growers, industry, and researchers to assess new practices and technologies that improve sustainable production in Ontario’s horticulture sectors. Her current work focuses on soil management, cover crops, and efficient nutrient use. She also has a keen interest in understanding how “sustainable agriculture” policy/programs affects growers (and what to do about it). Prior to joining OMAFRA she worked at Sebastian Farms, a vineyard operation growing 1500 acres of premium wine grapes in the Okanagan Valley, BC. Stephanie received her BSc in Environmental Science and MSc in Soil Science from the University of Guelph.

Wednesday 9:30 am, Room 204, Sustainability
What’s Really Driving the Sustainability Push?

There is a lot of buzz around "sustainability" in the agri-food industry and many companies are developing sustainability programs/targets as a result. I'll discuss the drivers of sustainability demands in agri-food value chains, the current programs out there, and how this push toward sustainability may affect (or already is affecting) your farm operation in the future. I'll also cover opportunities for producers and grower organizations to address this trend proactively.

Courtney Weber

Dr. Weber is a professor in Cornell University’s School of Integrated Plant Science-Horticulture Section at Cornell AgriTech at the NYSAES in Geneva, New York. He was born and raised on a small dairy farm in east central Illinois where his family still farms. He attended the University of Illinois for a BS in Agricultural Science and received an MS in genetics and breeding of peach and a PhD in genetics of cold hardiness in Citrus hybrids, both at the University of Florida. His program focuses on variety development of strawberry, raspberry and blackberry and the genomic analysis of disease and morphological traits. He has released 10 patented strawberry and raspberry varieties and has published more than 40 refereed journal articles, as well as numerous book chapters and dozens of extension/outreach articles on berry production practices and related topics targeting growers and the general public.

Wednesday 10:30 am, Ballroom C, Berries
Cornell Berry Breeding and Variety Update

An update of progress the Cornell University breeding program in strawberry, raspberry and blackberry varieties for diverse production areas and practices. Also, an evaluation of newer varieties available to growers in the region.

Sean Westerveld

Sean has served as Ginseng and Herbs Specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs since 2008. He received BSc (Agr.), MSc, and PhD degrees in Horticulture from the University of Guelph. His primary role in OMAFRA is to support the Ontario ginseng, lavender and herb industries through technology transfer and to provide input into provincial and federal policies that may affect the industry. He has also led numerous research projects on ginseng and lavender. Sean is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph.

Wednesday 9:30 am, Room 203, Farming Basics for New Growers: Part I
Getting Started: Introduction to Farming

This presentation will cover some of the reasons people want to start a farm and some of the challenges in the process. It will also cover some mistakes growers have made when not doing sufficient planning. It will provide an introduction to the two-day Farming Basics program.

Gail and Phil Winters

Gail and Phil Winters started their farming journey in 2009 by purchasing a 30 acre farm in Caledon. As craft beer enthusiasts they decided to grow hops and sold these to micro breweries for years. In 2017 they embarked on an on-farm diversified use strategy and created GoodLot Farm & Farmstead Brewing Co - a regenerative farm plus solar powered brewery focussing on using 100% Ontario hops.

Thursday 11:00 am, Room 203, Farming Basics for New Growers: Part II
Experiences in Starting a Farm in Ontario

Interested in becoming a Farmer but don't know where to begin? Gail and Phil Winters will share their journey becoming new farmers to help you navigate the early stages - such as the process of farm registration, deciding on crops, how to get to market etc. They'll also share their mistakes to help you avoid some unnecessary steps!

Dusty Zamecnik

Dusty, General Manager of EZ Grow Farms Ltd. in Norfolk County, Ontario, is a soft fruit plant propagator for commercial berry producers across the continent and beyond for all growing systems. Dusty and team take pride in their continual innovation to be partners in propelling the berry industry forward.

Thursday 3:00 pm, Room 204, Cost of Production
Maximizing COP for Farm Business Strategy and Growth

Scaling modern farm operations correctly requires a certain amount of tracking to ensure your business' strategy is moving in the right direction. We will dive in to on-farm examples to help better program your forecasting, purchasing, and day-to-day operations to help you sleep a little better at night.