2022 Speakers

Who speaks at GBFW

Every year the Grey Bruce Farmers' Week Committee develops an impressive line-up of speakers for  commodity program.  The speaker roster includes: producers; agribusiness; animal health specialists; researchers, OMAFRA representatives; motivational speakers, authors, agronomists etc.  There is always a good blend of local producers, speakers from across the province of Ontario, across Canada and the US.  These speakers are dynamic, impressive, and deliver leading edge information.  In 2022, we are delighted to have a speaker from the UK! What a great way to celebrate 56 years!

Dave Bray - Ecological Day

Dave Bray is an Environmental Specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs. Dave has over 33 years of natural resource and environmental management experience working with agricultural landowners. Dave is a member of the OMAFRA Soil Team and participates in delivering soil health education and extension events to landowners in Ontario. He also contributes to policy and program development for nature-based solutions and for climate change adaptation and mitigation. Dave and his wife Connie farm grains and oilseed crops in Perth County.

Fred Baker photo

Fred Baker - Sheep Day

Fred has 30 years of experience producing lamb and sheep in Ontario, 20 years experience on the (Ontario Sheep Federation) OSF Board of Directors, many of those as Chair.  He is a former Chair of the Canadian Sheep Federation (CSF), current member on the NFACC Board of Directors, and current member of the CSID advisory committee.

Ken Laing - Ecological Day

Ken Laing has been farming with his wife Martha near St. Thomas for more than 40 years. During that time he has produced a wide variety of organic field, fruit and vegetable crops. His daughter is now managing the vegetable operation and Ken divides his time between helping his daughter, custom grazing beef calves, raising and working Suffolk Punch draft horses and managing a Living Lab site for the EFAO and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Jenna Funk - Beef Day

Dr. Funk received her bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana.  She went on to receive her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine and Master’s degree in Veterinary Preventative Medicine from Iowa State University.  She has practiced in rural mixed animal practice in south-west Nebraska and private beef cattle practice in southern Ontario in addition to completing a beef cattle residency in central Iowa.  She joined the VERO program in January of 2021, where she acts as the herd veterinarian for West Texas A &M University’s research herds and as a clinical professor for the beef cattle rotations in the 4th year of the veterinary curriculum for Texas A & M University.

Nick Betts - Dairy Day

Nick is founder and director of Blue Orenda Inc., a Guelph, Ontario-based firm specializing in implementing sustainability into supply chain collaborations and business strategy. Nick acts as Americas Director for the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform; directing strategy and activities in the Americas. He leads the facilitation of agricultural sustainability project alignment globally. His previous experience includes project management, strategy & policy development and farmer engagement through a commodity organization, government and grassroots agricultural associations. Nick holds an MBA (Leadership & Sustainability) from University of Cumbria and a B.Sc. (Ecology) from University of Guelph, as well as designations as a Change Management Specialist, Six Sigma Lean Professional, Sustainability Reporting, and Farm Transition Coordination.

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Andrew Barrie - Ecological Day

Andrew Barrie is an Environmental Specialist with Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) based in Walkerton.  Andrew maintains his CCA (Certified Crop Advisor) designation and is a Past Chair of the Provincial Soil Health Team.  He has worked with OMAFRA for 22 years in positions including Soil & Crop Advisory, Rural Water Quality Program Coordinator and Nutrient Management Specialist.  Andrew grew on up on a beef feedlot farm in Waterloo County and for 12 years operated a seasonal fruit & vegetable farm near Hanover (Grey County) with value added products sold across Ontario.  Andrew and his wife Jennifer reside in Kincardine where they are renovating an 1880 heritage home.

Stan Eby - Beef Day

Stan has been farming in Kincardine Township for 50 years. He is the past president of the OCA and CCA.

Hannah Woodhouse - Dairy Day

Hannah Woodhouse is familiar face to the Grey/ Bruce agricultural community.  Hannah grew up on a dairy farm just outside of Meaford and was active in agricultural societies and the 4-H program.  Hannah completed a Biomedical Sciences degree with a minor in Nutrition at the University of Guelph.  Upon graduating in 2020, she entered a MSc program in the Population Medicine Department at the Ontario Veterinary College to study free fatty acids (FFAs) in milk, which at the time was a novel milk quality concern.  Now after a year of her studies, Hannah transferred into the PhD program to continue her research in this field. Aside from her passion for the dairy industry, Hannah is an avid long-distance runner.  She has competed for Canada at multiple Pan American and World championships and aspires to represent her small community at the Olympics one day!

Deb Campbell - Crops Day

Deb is a Certified Crop Advisor with many years of experience in Agronomy and Precision Ag.  She holds multiple specialties and has worked across the Ontario Ag Industry helping producers achieve their agronomic and business goals.

Dr. Paul Luimes - Sheep Day

Dr. Paul Luimes is a College Research Professor at the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus. Recently he has taken on the role as Coordinator of the Agriculture Diploma program. He teaches and does research in the Livestock section. His primary area of research interest is sheep nutrition but also conducts trials in dairy and swine nutrition. His teaching includes a general course (Livestock Systems) and advanced production courses (Small Ruminant Production and Ruminant Nutrition). Besides doing talks around Ontario, he has been to the provinces of British Colombia, Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec and the country of Colombia. Dr. Luimes has been married to Kathryn for 23 years and they have 5 children from age 12 to 20.

Steve Kell - Crops Day

Steve Kell has worked in the Ontario grain and feed industry for the past 30 years in all phases of the industry, as a farmer producing grain, as a country elevator manager conditioning, storing, and shipping grain, and as a merchandizer, hedging and trading commodities. Steve  farms in Simcoe County where he grows corn, wheat, and soybeans. In addition to farming Steve handles merchandizing for Kell Grain which operates elevators in Gilford and Belleville.  He also is a regular columnist in Farmers Forum newspaper writing about commodity markets.

Steve Duff - Sheep Day

Coming from dairy and beef background in Northumberland county, Steve is an OAC “94 grad who completed a Masters in Ag Economics from the Food, Agriculture and Resource Economics (FARE) department at the University of Guelph in 1996.  Steve joined OMAFRA in late 1997 after a year as a policy researcher within FARE for the Dairy Farmers of Ontario.  Starting as an agricultural economist with OMAFRA, Steve worked on a variety of projects that culminated with him leading the development of the Ontario Whole Farm Relief Program in 1998.  Over the course of 13 years as OMAFRA’s lead on business risk management programs, Steve lead provincial and national development of programs including the BSE recovery, CAIS, AgriStability and the Ontario Risk Management Program.  During this time Steve chaired several federal-provincial-territorial committees including the BRM advisory committee, the BRM administrators committee and is currently the co-chair of the Farm Income Forecasting Committee.  Steve is currently OMAFRA’s Chief Economist.  Since 2011, Steve has been an Adjunct Professor in the FARE department teaching 4th year Agricultural Policy analysis.  In 2016, Steve was the recpient of the first FARE distinguished alumnus award.  Steve is currently a Farmer Director on the Board of Farm Management Canada.  Steve and his wife Robyn operate a beef and cash crop farm near Colborne Ontario.

The Honourable Rob Black - Check Your Tech Tuesday

The Honourable Rob Black has worked in the rural, agricultural, and leadership arenas for much of his working career.

He has had close involvement in 4-H and other leadership programs, such as Junior Farmers and the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program (AALP). He credits his involvement in these programs with allowing him to develop the skills that would lead him to apply to be a senator. He has been involved in 4-H for almost 50 years in all aspects of the program, at the local, provincial and national levels and is a Past President of the Canadian 4-H Council.

Rob was Ward 5 Representative on Wellington County Council. He has also been Manager of the Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund, and President of the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame Association and the Wellington County Historical Society.

Rob worked with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) for 15 years. Following his time at OMAFRA, he spent 5 years as the Executive Director of 4-H Ontario. Rob then accepted the role of Executive Director of The Centre for Rural Leadership, which morphed in to the Rural Ontario Institute (ROI).

On February 27, 2018, Rob was sworn in as a senator representing the province of Ontario. Since then, he has been working on several issues of importance to Canadians through his role, and is a member of the Standing Committees on Agriculture and Forestry; Social Affairs, Science and Technology; Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament; and, the Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament. He is currently the Chair of the Canadian Senators Group (CSG).

In February 2021, Rob was recognized as one of the Top 50 Most Influential People in Agriculture by Canadian Western Agribition.

In July 2021, the Canadian Produce Marketing Association recognized Senator Black as the 2021 Produce Champion. The annual Produce Champion award is given to a Member of Parliament or Senator who has been supportive of the produce industry and effective at bringing industry issues to the forefront on Parliament Hill..

Rob and his wife Julie live north of Fergus, ON and have four grown children and three grandsons.

Mel Luymes - Crops Day

Mel Luymes is a freelance sociologist, project manager and writer. Her family runs a grain farm and custom farming business near Moorefield, ON, using precision cover crops, no-till and strip-till on their own fields. Co-founder of the Ontario Soil Network, she works at the intersection of agriculture, behaviour change and the environment.

Andrew Campbell - Check Your Tech Tuesday, and Dairy Day

Andrew Campbell is a farmer, award winning communicator & passionate farm advocate. With the farm, he and his family milk cows as well as grow corn, soybeans, wheat & hay in Southern Ontario’s Middlesex County. On top of farming, Andrew has become a familiar voice for farmers and agriculture issues in the mainstream media, conference halls & online, pushing the positive stories that farmers across Canada have to share with their non-farming neighbours. He’s received awards that have named him a Leader in Innovation, Champion, Game-Changer & Top Agriculture Influencer for his work through written word, photographs, videos and podcasts.

Scott A. Shearer - Crops Day

Scott Shearer received his Ph.D. in agricultural engineering from The Ohio State University (OSU) in 1986. Currently, he serves as Professor and Chair of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering at OSU. Highlights of his research career include development of methodologies and controls for metering and spatial applying crop production inputs, modeling of agricultural field machinery systems, autonomous multi-vehicle field production systems and strategies for deployment of UAVs in agriculture. He has lead research supported by over $15M in grants, authored more than 200 technical publications, and has made numerous invited presentations at international conferences, professional meetings and farmer forums. Dr. Shearer is a Fellow of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.

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Jason Emke - Goat Day

Jason works for Farm Credit Canada (FCC) out of the Walkerton office.  His interest in sheep stems from being a fourth-generation sheep farmer on his family farm in Grey county with his partner Theresa and their 4 children.  Together they raise purebred Hampshire and North Country Cheviot Sheep from their 125 head ewe flock.  Jason is an active member of OSMA District 2 executive, GBFW committee and an active “Drive Away Hunger” champion.  Other interests include being involved with local 4-H members and a member of the Sheep Committee at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

Larry Dyck - Crops Day

My wife Mary and I farm in the Niagara Peninsula together with Ben and Kait, our son and daughter in law. We farm Niagara/Haldimand clay soils. We have been on a plant green/interseeding covers/trying to keep something growing in our soils as much as we can for 6 years. We have had lots of challenges, lots of success & some stellar failures/learning experiences.

Erin Massender - Goat Day

Erin Massender is a Ph.D. Candidate studying Dairy Goat Genetics in the Centre for the Genetic Improvement of Livestock at the University of Guelph. She was also the Acting Small Ruminant Specialist for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs throughout 2021. Erin grew up in Chatham-Kent and has always had an interest in both agriculture and animal breedingShe completed a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in 2016, focused on genetics and ethics, and a M.Sc. studying the genetic improvement of sheep growth and carcass traits in 2018, before beginning her Ph.D. Her Ph.D. research focuses on the implementation of genomic selection for Canadian dairy goats. 

Thomas Farrell - Crops Day

Thomas and his wife along with their 3 young children live and farm just outside Kincardine Ontario. Together with his parents, brother and grandfather they run a dairy/cash crop operation where Thomas' main focus is on the cropping side of the operation. Thomas has a strong interest in soil health and introduced cover crops 10+ years ago as part of their soil health strategy that continues to grow and evolve. He has been a member of the soil network since 2017 and is a director of Bruce County Soil and Crop as well.

Betty Jo Almond - Goat and Sheep Day

Betty-Jo Almond is the General Manager of AgSights and has been with the company for over 10 years. She was previously the Business Development Manager of AgSights for 7 years, focusing on sales and customer service, system development, building industry relationships and develop new partnerships. She obtained her BSc in Animal Science from the University of Guelph and has taken part in additional programs including the BUILD Leadership program offered through Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) and is currently completing the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program. Betty-Jo was raised on a beef farm in Seeley’s Bay near Kingston, Ontario and now lives with her husband and their two children, Joseph and Hailey, spending much of their time at softball events across Ontario, and volunteering as a board member at a local recreation club. 

Dr. Katie Wood - Beef Day

Dr. Katie Wood is an Associate Professor in Ruminant Nutrition and Physiology in the Department of Animal Biosciences at the University of Guelph. Her research program focuses on developing strategies to improve feed efficiency in the cow-calf and feedlot sectors.

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Mark Hamel - Dairy Day

Mark lives on a family-operated dairy farm west of Elmwood, Ontario.  Along with his son Matt, 4th generation, and daughter in-law Larissa they milk 140 purebred Holsteins.  Currently Mark is a Dairy Farmers of Ontario Board Member representing Region 11, Bruce and Grey Counties.  Mark is a Past Chair of Gay lea Foods Co-operative as well as Howick Mutual Insurance Company.  Mark contributed to the development of the Indonesia Dairy Co-operative Initiative by travelling to Indonesia to meet with Government officials and Dairy representative over a 3-week period in 2014.  Mark is a graduate of the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program.  Mark is the second vice chair of DFO

Anton Slingerland - Goat Day

Anton was born and raised in Lethbridge Alberta on a dairy farm. He moved to Ontario at 18 and worked in the trades as a welder fitter/gas technician until 2004. At that time he started milking goats while continuing to work in trades. Today he milks 350 goats and is a dealer for milking equipment and Mapleview milk replacer.

Courtney Vriens - Sheep Day

Courtney Vriens is a ruminant nutritionist and the owner of Vriens Nutrition Consulting. She is no stranger to the agriculture industry having worked in ag since graduating from the university of Guelph in 2015. In previous years Courtney has worked in ruminant nutrition with both Masterfeeds and Wallenstein Feed and Supply. She went independent in the summer of 2019 to specialize in dairy and commercial sheep. She has numerous clients across Ontario and has more recently started doing work in other provinces. Courtney takes pride in working closely with her clients to help them improve animal health and reach new production goals.

Claudia Wagner-Riddle - Crops Day

Dr. Claudia Wagner-Riddle is a Professor in the School of Environmental Sciences (SES), University of Guelph, Canada. Originally from Brazil, Claudia has degrees from the University of Sao Paulo and Guelph. Claudia leads an internationally-renowned research program utilizing the measurement of greenhouse gas emissions to determine the carbon footprint of food, feed, and fuel produced by agriculture. Claudia currently leads several projects focused on evaluating how soil health impacts ecosystem services, including a new $2 million infrastructure using large scale soil weighing lysimeter. Claudia is a fellow of the Soil Science Society of America, the American Meteorological Society and of the Canadian Society of Agricultural and Forest Meteorology. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the international journal Agricultural and Forest Meteorology and leads a nation-wide training program on Climate-Smart Soils. Claudia was recently appointed Director of the North American regional chapter of the International Nitrogen Initiative and was awarded the 2020 IFA Borlaug Award of Excellence in Crop Nutrition. Wagner-Riddle has published >150 papers and has an h-index of 43 (Google Scholar).

Hilda Geene - Goat Day

Hilda graduated from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Animal Science major) and a Master of Science in Dairy Nutrition with a focus on the dairy goat industry. Since graduating in 2015, she has worked at Wallenstein Feed & Supply as a Ruminant Nutritionist, where she specializes dairy cows and small ruminants. She has grown up being involved in her family’s farm, and currently lives on a farm in Amberley with her husband and daughter.

Kim Delaney - Ecological Day

Kim Delaney is a seed farmer living and working in Palmerston Ontario. She is the founder of Hawthorn Farm Organic Seeds and a regular speaker on many seed related topics. Kim became a bonafide seedhead when she learned to identify, harvest, clean and test the seeds of Ontario’s native Tallgrass Praire ecosystem. She now focuses on vegetable, flower and herb seed and dabbles in on-farm plant breeding through her involvement with SeedWorks a small, Ontario based plant breeding club. Kim lives with her partner Brian and assorted animals on a 100 acre organic farm. She is currently a board member of SeedChange.

Robert Matson - Ruminant Nutritionist

Robert Matson grew up on his family dairy farm in Ontario, Canada, before moving to Ottawa to complete his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry. Robert then completed his MSc. at the University of Guelph, conducting research on dairy health and production in herds using automated milking systems. Robert worked under the supervision of Dr. Trevor DeVries, with the goal to increase efficiency and production while improving the health and wellbeing of animals milked in these systems. Since defending his thesis, Robert has joined the Ruminant Nutrition team at Wallenstein Feed and Supply and is very interested in helping producers achieve their goals and production targets.

Maggie Van Camp - Beef and Dairy Days

Maggie Van Camp is BDO’s National Agricultural Practice Development Leader, and a well-known former agricultural journalist, most recently as senior editor of Country Guide. As a farmer herself, Maggie is a respected, trusted voice in the industry. In addition to her membership in BDO’s National Agriculture Industry Group, Maggie chairs Drive Away Hunger, BDO’s firm-wide social responsibility program that supports foodbanks across Canada. She is responsible for BDO’s relationship with the agricultural industry overall including supporting Outstanding Young Farmers, Canadian Young Farmer Forum and Farm Management Canada. Notably, she helped launch Farm Transition Appreciation Day and BDO’s innovative financial benchmarking for Canadian farmers. In 2021, Maggie Van Camp was recognized by the Canadian Western Agribition as one of the Top 50 in Canadian Agriculture. Maggie is CEO of a commercial chicken farm in Blackstock, Ontario and cofounder of LOFT32, a communications firm which also developed an on-line training program for agriculture and food. She has been very involved in her farm community through various roles in the church, sports, 4-H and the agriculture society. Additionally, she is a member of Ontario Agricultural Business Association, the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation, Ontario Federation of Agriculture, OAC ‘91 Aggies (BSc. Agr. University of Guelph) and sits on the board of the Canadian Agriculture Hall of Fame.

Susan Cruickshank - Beef Day

Susan Cruikshank is a CPA CGA out of Kincardine Ontario.  She is a Senior Manager in Tax at BDO Canada LLP.  She completed the in-depth tax course certifying her as a Tax Specialist in 2013 and tutors Income Tax for the General Practitioner for CPA Canada annually.  She works with small to medium sized businesses of many industries with a focus on farm businesses.  Along with her husband they run a small cash crop farm operation.  In her spare time, she volunteers with the Kincardine Agricultural Society as the chair of the ambassador program and is the Secretary of the Kincardine Rotary Club.

Peter Johnson - Crops Day

Peter (@WheatPete) is the resident agronomist with Real Agriculture, where he posts a weekly podcast “Wheat Pete’s Word”. He is a regular on “Agronomy Monday” on Real Ag radio, Siruis Satellite Radio 147. Peter spent 30 years as the Ontario Cereal Specialist, and loves to talk anything agriculture, especially wheat! He leads Middlesex Soil and Crop Improvement Association research and directs the strip till project for Veritas. Peter operates a small farm near Lucan, Ontario, where he constantly tries out new production ideas. He is enthusiastic and passionate about agriculture, and loves to be challenged by growers.

Brandee Ceaser-MacDonald

Brandee is a Partner in BDO’s Wiarton office with over 15 years of professional experience in public accounting. She has focused much of her career on helping clients in agriculture with accounting, assurance and corporate and personal tax matters. Born and raised on a beef farm in northern Bruce County, Brandee has a unique understanding of the daily challenges producers face.

Rob Lipsett - Beef Day

Rob will provide an update of BFO activities & address current factors in the Ontario Beef Industry.

Rob lives in Annan, Ontario and runs a 150 head cow-calf operation and backgrounds all of his own calves.  He has recently expanded his land base with plans to increase the backgrounding division of his farm in the near future.  Rob studies Business at Georgian College and represents the Beef Farmers of Ontario as a Director for the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and the Beef Cattle Research Council.

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Jennifer MacTavish - Sheep Day

While studying International Development at the University of Guelph, Jenn became enamored by agriculture and food. She completed her MSc in Animal Science in 2001 and now has over 17 years of experience working with producers, processors, and industry leaders.  Jenn has been with the Ontario Sheep Farmers (OSF) - formerly known as Ontario Sheep Marketing Agency (OSMA) as the General Manager of since 2013.  Prior to joining OSMA, she spent 9 years as the Executive Director for the Canadian Sheep Federation and for a two years during that time, she also worked as the Canadian National Goat Federation’s General Manager.  She is currently the Chair of the Canadian Animal Health Coalition, Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors for the Livestock Research Innovation Corporation, and a volunteer mediator with Community Justice Initiatives in Kitchener.  Jenn is an avid knitter, reader, and traveler. She lives in Cambridge with her husband and son.

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Marlene Paibomesai - Goat Day

Dr. Marlene Paibomesai is a dairy specialist at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).  She works as a production specialist for the dairy cattle, dairy goat, and dairy sheep branch.  In this role she works with farmers, producer organizations and other stakeholders with a  focus on on breeding dairy cattle for disease resistance.  Prior to this she completed a Bachelor of Science at McMaster University, Markene is a member of Whitefish River First Nations of Birch Island, Ontario.  She grew up off reserve in Kemptville, Ontario and is currently living in Guelph, Ontario.

Jackie Ralph smiling photo

Jackie Ralph - Check Your Tech Tuesday

Jackie has been with the CMHA staff for 14 years.  She does an average of 620 presentations/awareness training sessions a year to 7000 children, 7500 youth and 6000 adults.

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Megan Van Schaik - Beef Day Panel Facilitator

Megan Van Schaik is a Beef Cattle Specialist for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, working out of Guelph.  Prior to working in her current position, Megan worked in the feed industry for a number of years and then in meat inspection.  Megan graduated from the University of Guelph with a B. Sc. (Agr) majoring in Animal Science, and a M.Sc. in ruminant nutrition, and received her B. Ed. from Queens University.

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Sjoert Zuidhof - Dairy Day

Sjoert graduated from the University of Utrecht and has been a veterinarian for almost 40 years. His main professional interests are dairy preventative medicine, on farm dairy research and udder health. He has an MBA in agriculture and is certified in Dairy Herd Management. After leaving veterinary practice he has worked for global animal health companies including a seven-year stint in the USA. He returned to Canada 4 years ago and is now consulting for a few companies including Solvet Animal Health in Calgary