2021 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, speaker from across the province of Ontario, across Canada and the US.  These speakers are dynamic, impressive, and deliver and leading edge information.  In 2021, we are delighted that we also have a speaker from the UK and New Zealand! What a great way to celebrate 55 years!  As well as the first fully virtual GBFW conference!

Thorsten Arnold photo

Thorsten Arnold - Ecological Day

Thorsten holds degrees in environmental science, agricultural economics and watershed management.  He co-owns Persephone Market Garden in Grey County with his wife Kristine and their three children.  He works on a transition to a regenerative food system through writing, and teaching about an agriculture that feeds people and simultaneously promotes rural economies and a healthy biosphere.  He was an instigator and founding manager of Eat Local Grey Bruce online farmers market.  He now consults on the developing alternative food chains and educates about the role of agriculture in biosphere regeneration.

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.

Michael Barrett photo

Michael Barrett - Dairy Day

Michael Barrett is currently the President & CEO at Gay Lea Foods Co-operative – the largest Dairy Co-operative in the province of Ontario.  He has been with Gay Lea for over two decades. Michael served in many different roles within Gay Lea Foods and within the broader co-operative sector both nationally and internationally.  Michael also serves his community by being a School Trustee for the Durham District School Board representing the city of Oshawa.

Michael, in his spare time, besides helping to parent his now grown family of six children, grand parenting six, he likes to play with his "big boy toys” (his classic cars) and spends anytime that he has left enjoying his farm located in the rolling hills of Selwyn Township.

Andrew Barrie photo

Andrew Barrie - Crops 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.

Cathy Bauman photo

Cathy Bauman - Goat Day

Dr. Cathy Bauman is an OVC graduate and has been a veterinarian for over 25 years.  She went back to school to receive an MPH and a PhD in Population Medicine in 2008.  She is fortunate to now be teaching Epidemiology and Applied Clinical Research to both undergraduate and graduate students. Her research focus is on dairy small ruminants, zoonotic infections, producer occupational hazards, clinical trials and diagnostic test evaluations.

Laurie Bishop photo

Laurie Bishop - Horse Day

Laurie Bishop has been a Top Feed Advisor with Brooks' Performance Horse Feeds for over 15 years and in the horse industry for over 40.  Keeping on top of the current trends in equine performance and breeding nutrition is Laurie's passion.  Each year she evaluates the feeding requirements of 100's of horses, from basic companion to top performance athletes across multiple disciplines, including boodmares, stallions, and young horses.  Always actively expanding & sharing her knowledge in the field of equine nutrition, Laurie attends yearly conferences, with Kentucky Equine Research, and keeps up to date with the most current equine nutritional studies. In partnership with Brooks Feeds, she enthusiastically customizes feed programs for her clients.  Laurie's extensive experience from her years with Brooks as well as knowledge incorporated from her experience managing warmblood breeding, thoroughbred and standardbred farms have made Laurie a sought after equine nutritional advisor, trusted client partner, and well-respected veteran of Brooks Performance Horse Feeds.

Lee Breise photo

Lee Briese - Crops Day

Lee Briese (BREEZ) is an independent crop consultant from central North Dakota.  He provides agronomic advice to help farmers build customized systems to grow and manage crops profitably.  He specializes in helping farmers adopt practices to protect and improve their soil and local environment including reduced till, notill, cover crops, crop rotation and increased plant and economic diversity.  He is a Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) and the current chair of the international CCA Board.  Lee earned his Doctor of Plant Health from the University of Nebraska.

Travis photo

Travis Busman - Dairy Day

Improving the hoof health industry by striving to keep cows healthy and productive is a passion for Travis.  After working on dairy farms throughout his youth, he attended Dairyland Hoof Care Institutes Technical Hoof Trimming Course in 2000 and launched his hoof trimming career in central Michigan.  The scope of his business serves the needs of both small, family-owned dairies and large, commercial dairies.  In addition, he mentors new trimmers, extending their knowledge beyond the initial Dairyland training.  Travis joined the team of instructors over ten years ago, first as an associate instructor before becoming a primary instructor and program director in 2013.  Travis truly cares about cows and people.  He strives to, not only provide an excellent service, but to educate the dairy managers on practices that will keep cows healthy and productive.

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.

Rob Campbell - Ecological Day (Moderator)

Rob spent most of his career as an actuary where he set actuarial reserves or priced just about every kind of property or casualty insurance you can think of. In 2011 he realized that economics is leading humanity to make decisions against our best interests and switched to farming to test his ideas of sustainability in the face of climate change and energy descent. Better Together Farms is a small diversified farm in Grey County producing beef, pork, and vegetables.

Cindy Cook photo

Cindy Cook - Horse Day (Moderator)

Cindy Cook has been working in the feed industry for 29 years. First in animal feed research, and since 1999, has worked in the Purina family.  She started her Purina career at the dealership level and then moved onto head office in southwestern Ontario as a technical support for the Maritime provinces.  Cindy was the first female dairy salesman hired by Purina and combined her sales and technical support to dairy and horses.  Over the past 16 years, her focus has been on horses covering the southwest Ontario market, offering sales and nutritional support to her dealers, points of sales and direct customers.  Her horse customers range from racing, western, and English disciplines, as well as driving and hobby pleasure riders.

Cindy has her own cow/calf operation and farms with her husband.  The farm was also home to a race horse lay up business for many years as well as a home to her children's show horses.  As her children grew up and show season came to an end, they happily enjoy their pleasure riding horses.  Cindy has farmed her whole life and enjoys all aspects of agriculture.

Cindy is the Lead Facilitator of the Purina RETECH TEAM which supports the technical solutions behind the Purina Equine Portfolio on a national basis.  Cindy has enjoyed longevity in her market and is well connected to her territory customers, dealers and colleagues.  When work and farming is done for the day, she likes to hit the trails with her favourite horse or her favourite dirt bike, and in the winter months hits the ice for some pick up hockey.

Joan Craig photo

Joan Craig - Beef Day

Joan Craig is a beef farmer near Arthur in Wellington County, Ontario.  She and her husband Elgin, own and operate E & J Craig Farms.  They established their Red Maple Speckle Park cow/calf herd in 2015 following her career as an elementary teacher and his career as a dairy farmer.  Along with farm team responsibilities Joan takes a major role in direct marketing their farm-raised "Blue Sky Beef".  She specializes in marketing and providing successful customer experiences.  Her interests in people, food trends, social media and photography have been significant in developing the Craig Family Farm business.

Travis Cranmer photo

Travis Cranmer - Ecological Day

Travis grew up on a farm in Bright's Grove, Ontario propagating, growing and selling various vegetables.  In 2017 he joined the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.  He received his B.Sc. in Biology and M.Sc. in Plant Production Systems with an emphasis on plant pathology from the University of Guelph.  His graduate work focused on clubroot of Brassica crops.  After receiving his degree, Travis worked as a technician at Vineland Research in a plant pathology lab testing biopesticides and biostimulants on vegetable crops in hydroponics.  With OMAFRA, Travis provides assistance to growers, consultants, industry and researchers as a Vegetable Crops Specialist focusing on production and crop protection of vegetable crops including Alliums, Brassicas and leafy greens.  He is conducting surveys for leek moth, cultivar trials, testing biological controls as well as elevating the efficacy of a sterile fly release program for onion maggot management.

Rex Crawford photo

Dr Rex Crawford, DVM - Sheep Day

Dr. Rex Crawford owns and operates Dufferin Veterinary Services near Orangeville Ontario.  Dr. Crawford graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph in 2005.  Dr. Crawford has a special interest in Sheep and Goat Health Management and is currently president of the Small Ruminant Veterinarians of Ontario (SRVO).  Dr. Crawford consults and speaks on small ruminant health topics throughout Ontario.  Dufferin Veterinary Services Custom Collection offer owner’s use semen collection and freezing for cattle, sheep and goats.  He was raised at Crawfdown Farms, a purebred Shorthorn cattle and Suffolk sheep operation at Glencoe Ontario.  Dr. Crawford still enjoys helping out on the family farm, which has expanded to calve 150 Shorthorn and Simmental cows.  In his spare time, Rex can be found judging cattle and sheep shows throughout Ontario and curling in the winter months.

Craig Dimmers photo

Craig Dimmers - Beef Day

Craig grew up on a family operated pig farm outside London, Ontario.  He went to McMaster University and the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph.  He joined the Metzger Vet group as a student and went on to work there as a veterinarian following graduation in 2016. He works closely with Ontario beef cattle and pig operations.  Recently he has been spending time travelling to southern Alberta to work in the feedlot operations around Lethbridge as well.

Mike Dougherty photo

Mike Dougherty - Beef Day

Wild Meadows Farm is a family business started 2 years ago run by Mike, his mother and brother. They raise grass fed and finished beef, pasture raised pork and pastured chicken.  Wild Meadows Farm also carries several other locally produced products.  They offer online ordering and delivery throughout most of southern Ontario and have seen tremendous growth over the past year.


Jason Emke photo

Jason Emke - Sheep Day (Moderator)

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.

Talia Fletcher photo

Dr. Talia Fletcher, DVM - Goat Day

Dr. Talia Fletcher is a mixed animal veterinarian working in Grey and Bruce County who has a special interest in sheep and goat health. She is an executive member of the Small Ruminant Veterinarians of Ontario and her special interests include milk quantity/mastitis, pasture management and small ruminant medicine.  Outgoing, enthusiastic and engaging, Talia is an experienced presenter who loves to share ideas with interested participants.

Joanne Fesyk Photo

Joanne Fesyk - Sheep Day

Joeann Fresyk is a Relationship Manager in the Owen Sound FCC office. Before moving to Ontario in 2019 she worked in Lloydminster, Alberta as a Relationship Management Associate for 7.5 years.   Joanne was born and raised in central Saskatchewan and yes is a Roughrider fan!  She has one son, Delwin & she enjoys getting out and seeing new places and trying new things.  Her new hobby is Kayaking.

Owen Goltz photo

Owen Goltz - Ecological Day

Owen's career spans over 35 years in the arboriculture industry as an arborist, mentor, innovator, teacher and consultant.  Recipient of the Maple Leaf Award in Agriculture for Leadership in Research, Education and the Theory and Practices of Arboriculture. In 2009 Owen left his private practice to pursue a childhood dream of becoming a farmer and currently lives and farms with nature on 60 acres in the center of Inglewood, developing an internal nutritional system for his farming needs called ZERO BUDGET NATURAL FARMING.

  • 10 years of custom online ordering for a 40-person membership
  • Farms 12, 40'300' strips, of a variety of vegetables, dry beans and grain crops
  • Orchard in Pears, and Sea Buckthorn
  • Maple Sugar Operation - Manitoba Maples
  • Developed on farm Static Composting and Soil Inoculation System
  • Active member of Soil Health Coalition of Erin Transition
Lindsay Grice photo

Lindsay Grice - Horse Day

"Is it me or my horse?" Horse show judge, certified riding coach, trainer and specialist in equine behaviour and learning.  Lindsay Grice loves to help riders solve their horse puzzles, prepare for competition and enjoy the process of riding, not just the result!  She shares keys from the fascinating science and research of how horses think & learn.  Lindsay holds judging certifications with AQHA, Equestrian Canada.  She's a provincial Hunter/Jumper and dressage judge & also judges multiple breeds & Extreme Trail/obstacle events.  She's taught classes and seminars for courses offered by the University of Guelph, equine associations and therapeutic riding facilities.  Lindsay loves to share her own insights and stories from 25 years as a competitor & horse trainer.  "Why do horses do what they do?"  Lindsay says, "in the horse world, our traditions & the evidence sometimes collide.  I love to communicate the WHY's behind the HOW's of riding "Equitation Science" - it makes life better for horses when we speak in a language they understand!"  www.lindsaygriceridingcoach.com

Gerald Grubb photo

Gerald Grubb - All Days

Gerard enjoys exploring the different soils of the earth and is passionate about saving and regenerating the topsoil. Gerard has been a no-till farmer for 20 years with the goal of preserving the soil for his grandkids.

Mark Hamel photo

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 second vice chair 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

Luke Hartung photo

Luke Hartung - Crops Day

Luke has worked as a Crop Specialist at NWC's Harriston Branch since 2011, and covers the area of Grey, Bruce, Wellington, Huron and Perth Counties.  At home he cash crops with his parent and runs a market garden business with his wife

Amy Hellyer photo

Amy Hellyer - Sheep Day

Amy Hellyer is a Multi-Program Inspector with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and is based out of the Walkerton District Office. Amy has been employed with the CFIA for the past 15 years and her work area covers Grey and Bruce Counties.  Amy grew up on a cow/calf farm in Grey County, which was also home to Belgian show horses.

Allison Henkell photo

Allison Henkel - Dairy Day

Allison is a Tax Partner at BDO Canada LLP.  She has over 15 years experience in income tax and related matters and extensive experience in agriculture.  She specializes in providing tax effective solutions for her clients related to corporate structuring, reorganizing for acquisition or sale planning purposes and estate planning matters.

Julie & Ethan Higgins photo

Julie & Ethan Higginson - Beef Day

Julie & Ethan are a young married team passionate about beef production.  They own and operate a 65-cow herd in Meaford, ON; with a strong focus on direct to consumer sales.  Their beef is marketed as grass fed and grain finished.  The farm slogan is “Know your farmer, know your food” - It is important for them to educate their customers about daily farming adventures on social media via facebook and Instagram.  Cows calve on pasture starting early May.  They farm around 600 acres, all rented land, no owned properties.


Robert Hodgkins photo

Robert Hodgkins - Sheep Day

'Kaiapoi', Robert’s farm name, is Maori meaning 'food over water'. Rob and Jo Hodgkins have imported Romney Rams from New Zealand to create the ultimate outdoor lambing ewe for the UK climate. Rob and Jo set up Kaiapoi in 2013 with 200 ewes on 60 rented acres of grass. They have driven the business forward hard and now run 2250 ewes across 1000ac semi improved grassland and solar panels and farm 1600ac of arable crops around North Hertfordshire.

Dave Hooker photo

Dave Hooker - Crops Day

Field crop agronomy is multidisciplinary including expertise in genetics, fertility, soil management, and pest management.  Dave's research and teaching programs reflect the nature of agronomy as extremely diverse in structure with robust contributions to both science and extension.  His goal is to develop a better understanding of field crop systems for developing science-based solutions for improving corn, soybean, and wheat production.  The primary objective of his research group is to achieve a greater efficiency and sustainability of corn, soybean, and wheat production using an applied systems hypothesis-driven approach, through a better understanding of interactions among genotype, environment, and other crop response factors and input variables.


Becky Hunt - Daily Presentation on Mental Health

Becky's rural roots began on a family farm in Wellington County.   She currently resides with her husband and 2 young children on a small cash crop farm just outside Walkerton.  They are also part owners of a dairy equipment business that provides service to Grey, Bruce and neighbouring counties. Becky also works full time as a  Mental Health Counselor with CMHA Grey Bruce where she supports individuals with mental health concerns.  Her infectious smile and positive nature create a ripple effect of happiness for everyone that crosses her path.

Brett Israel - Ecological Day

Brett Israel is a part of a multi-generation certified organic family farm.  Located in Wellington County, the Israels farm 3Gen Organics is comprised of 1150ac of crop land and a 180 sow farrow to finish hog operation.  Brett and his family began their transition to organic production in 2015 and have not looked back since.  Cover crops play an essential role in their farm system, and Brett looks forward to sharing how they help to create clean food, air and clean water!

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.

Amy Kitchen - Ecological Day

Amy Kitchen co-owns Sideroad Farm with her husband Patrick Kitchen.  They grow certified organic vegetable, cut flowers and pasture raised poultry on their farm in Walter’s Falls.

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.

Merrin Macrae photo

Merrin Macrae - Crops Day

Merrin Macrae is a Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Management at the University of Waterloo.  Dr. Macrae received her B.E.S and M.Sc. degrees from York University and her Ph.D. from Wilfred Laurier University.  Her research interests center around nutrient (nitrogen, phosphorus) dynamics and water quality in agricultural landscapes and wetlands.  Dr. Macrae studies water quality at both watershed and field scales, with an emphasis on assisted drainage.  A key aspect of her work involves undersanding the winter and snowmelt periods, and the efficacy of conservation practices during these critial times.  Her research largely field-based science, focused in Southern Ontario and Manitoba. To date, she has supervised or co-supervised more than 30 graduate students, 4 post-doctoral researchers and 18 technical staff, published 70 peer-reviewed journal articles and co-authored more than 250 conference presentations.

Jennifer MacTavish photo

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.

Janine McGowan photo

Janine McGowan - Ecological Day

Janine has over a decade of beekeeping and apiculture experience and knowledge.  She spends her personal time expanding on her knowledge of native /wild pollinators (bees, birds, butterflies, etc.) and focusing on regenerative agriculture and gardening.  Less grass more habitat please!

John Molenhuis photo

John Molenhuis - Beef Day

John has been with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) as the Business Analysis and Cost of Production Specialist for 20 years. He has led several benchmarking projects with Ontario dairy, beef and sheep producers as well as the lead for the OMAFRA cost of production budgeting information.

Megan Moran photo

Meghan Moran - Crops Day

Meghan Moran is the Canola & Edible Bean Specialist with OMAFRA.  In this role she provides information on best management practices to Ontario's producers of dry edible beans, spring canola and winter canola.  Recent projects she has been involved with have focused on variable rate seeding of dry beans, surveying for beneficial insects that parasitize swede midge, and overwintering success of winter canola.

Pruce Muirhead photo

Bruce Muirhead - Dairy Day

Bruce Muirhead is Associate Vice President, Research Oversight and Analysis in the Office of Research at the University of Waterloo, and a professor in the department of History. He has written extensively on Canadian trade negotiations since the Second World War, as well as Canadian politics, diplomacy and economic development. His more recent work has focused on the evolution of Canadian agricultural policy, and especially dairy and egg supply management. He is the Egg Farmers of Canada Chair in Public Policy, where his research centres on issues surrounding the relevance and criticality of supply management by comparing the Canadian system with those found in comparable sectors in Australia, NZ and the US.

Dr Denis Nagle

Dr Denis Nagle - Beef Day

Denis is from a small ranch in southern Saskatchewan. After graduating from Western College of Veterinary Medicine in 1983, he moved to Crossfield Alberta and started Nagel & Co. Veterinary Services.  After transitioning to beef consulting practice in 1993, a research branch of the clinic was initiated in 2002.  Denis has researched over 50 different products including Meloxicam Oral Solution.  He sold the practice in 2014 and worked for the new owners for two years.  In 2016, he joined Solvet as a field veterinarian to support the Solvet animal health products and continue his passion for research.

Christine OReilly photo

Christine O'Reilly - Horse Day

Christine O’Reilly is the Forage and Grazing Specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs.   Her areas of focus include the benefits of forages and grazing within cropping systems, forage production and grazing systems for northern Ontario, and improving the productivity and profitability of forages.  Christine joined the Ministry in 2017 and is based out of the Lindsay office.  No, she hasn't drank too much coffee; she's actually that excited about grazing management.

Marlene Paibomesai picture

Marlene Paibomesai - Goat Day (Moderator)

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.

Wendy Pearson Photo

Wendy Pearson - Horse Day

Wendy is a life-long horse enthusiast. She has worked in the thoroughbred racing industry in Canada and New Zealand, and spent 5 years training with one of Canada’s top Olympic dressage riders and international FEI dressage judges. She also owned and operated Lindenfarne Horse Park in Campbellville Ontario, a boarding and equine research facility, for 12 years. Wendy completed an MSc (Nutritional Toxicology) and a PhD (Biomedical Toxicology) at the University of Guelph with specialization in medicinal herbs and nutraceutical supplements for horses.  Prior to her graduate work, she worked as a researcher at the Equine Research Centre (Guelph Ontario Canada) for 6 years, as well as at an international research and development consulting firm for 2 years. Her 20+-year career in equine science has focused on evaluation of nutritional interventions and supplements for optimizing equine health and performance.  She has delivered instructional seminars and research presentations on clinical equine nutrition and equine physiology in the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, China, Ireland, Australia, the Netherlands, Italy, Central Africa, USA and Canada. Since 2016 Wendy has been an Assistant Professor of Equine Physiology in the Department of Animal Biosciences at the University of Guelph.

Ellen Polishuck photo

Ellen Polishuk - Ecological Day

Ellen is a full time farm consultant and workshop leader.  She leverages her 35 years of biological vegetable farming experience to help growers around the country to achieve more satisfaction and better profitability from their farm businesses.  Ellen was one of three owners of Potomac Vegetable Farms in Northern Virginia where she grew Ecoganic produce for 7 farmers markets, a 550 member CSA and two roadside stands.  Ellen is co-author of the book "Start your Farm" and writes the farmer-to-farmer profile column for Growing for Market magazine.  She lives in suburban Maryland with her husband, where she gardens like crazy.

Matthew Pot photo

Matthew Pot - Crops Day

Matt is an economic consultant and author of the "Grain Perspectives" commentary and analysis.  As a consultant his involvement in the industry ranges from one-on-one consulting helping producers manage price risk to international export market recommendations and analysis for government entities such as the United States Grains Council. He completed his Master's Degree in economics from the University of Guelph in addition to multiple futures, options and technical analysis certificates from the Canadian Securities Institute.  His rural roots growing up on a mixed dairy, boiler and cash crop farm in the Niagara Region, coupled with his intuitive approach to markets, make this a presentation you won't want to miss.

Courtney Pranger photo

Courtney Pranger - Goat Day

Born and raised on a dairy cow, hog (farrow to finish) & crop farm, Courtney is the youngest of two girls.  She is married to Josh and they have two amazing young boys, Spencer and Hayden.  Courtney has held the a few positions:  small animal Registered Veterinary Technician (5 years), on farm farrowing technician (2 years), milking goats (5 years), summer working with nurses in rural South Africa.  Her hobbies include drawing, painting (when she has free time) and reading about new animal related topics.

Jackie Ralph smiling photo

Jackie Ralph - Daily Presentation on Mental Health

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.

Bailey Reiger photo

Bailey Regier - Daily presentation on Farm Safety

Bailey is a Huron County native and fourth year Bachelor of Film & Television student at Sheridan College in Oakville Ontario.  Throughout years of conversation with her more urban peers, she has realized that the rural culture is radically different than the one she finds herself in when she's away at school.  She hopes to continue her studies, with the experience of turning the camera on her own community under her belt, and embraces this chance to talk about rural issues - which are rarely covered by mainstream media in a serious, and realistic manner.

Romy Schill photo

Romy Schill - Sheep Day

Romy and Ryan Schill farm near Elmira, they raise 900 commercial prolific ewes and pure dorset ewes.  The flock is on an accelerated lambing schedule and TMR feed & they sell meat lambs and breeding stock.  The flock grew from 25 initial ewes and they have spent time on many projects and improvements around the farm to make life more efficient and productive.

Johanna Scott photo

Johanna Scott - Sheep Day

Jo was the 5th generation to be born and bred on her family farm in Oamaru which is in the South Island of New Zealand.  After spending 8 years working in sheep and beef breeding programs for Zoetis Genetics, Jo decided to take the leap and start her own independent business where she is back out on the ground working with farmers in NZ and now the UK (thanks to Rob!).  Jo is super passionate about animal genetics and is always excited by the gains farmers can make when they are; clear on their breeding objective;  making good objective choices on their ram/bull breeders and; always ensuring they have a feedback loop to measure their own performance.

Kathleen Shore photo

Kathleen Shore - Beef Day

Kathleen Shore graduated from the University of Guelph with a B.Sc. in Agriculture and an M.Sc. in Ruminant Nutrition in 2003.  She has worked in the Ag industry as a dairy and and then as a nutritionist throughout the past 2 decades.  Working as a nutritionist has meant having the opportunity to continually build on her education through nutrition conferences and working directly with producers seeing what works and what does not work in practice.  Ration balancing gets more sophisticated all the time and all ruminiant species through great academic research that generates reliable computer animal models.  However, cows still refuse to read the paper so there is always a need to be on farm checking on the rations and that blend work working with science, animal and people makes the best one of the jobs!

Mary C Smith photo

Dr. Mary C. Smith - Goat Day

Dr. Mary C. Smith is currently a professor in the Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences at Cornell.  She has been a clinician in the Ambulatory and Production Medicine Clinic at Cornell since graduating from the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine in 1972 and takes veterinary students on farm calls.  Although all large animals are fascinating, her special interests include the 'miscellaneous species' (sheep and goats, camelids), gross pathology, and poisonous plants.  Dr. Smith has coauthored "Goat Medicine" (with David Sherman, third edition in preparation) and is moderator of the American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners listserv and editor of its newsletter.

Tatiana Stanton picture

tatiana Stanton - Goat Day

tatiana graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 1976 with a BS in Crop Science followed by a stint in the Peace Corps as a goat extensionist for the Jamaica 4-H.  While getting her MS in Dairy Science & Tropical Soils from Cal Poly, she was herdsperson for a large commercial goat dairy.  After graduation she worked as a goat/sheep specialist for Heifer Project International in the Caribbean and Central America training both new and experienced farmers and was herdsperson for the International Dairy Goat Center at Prairie View, Texas.  In 1990, she obtained a PhD in Animal Breeding at Cornell University studying genotype x environmental interactions in dairy cattle  in Latin America and the US.  tatiana has been the Cornell small ruminant extension specialist since 2000 conducting applied research on low input lambing/kidding, small ruminant parasite management, etc. Although she has raised almost every breed of American dairy goat, she currently manages her own pasture based meat goat herd.

Mike Steele photo

Dr. Michael Steele - Dairy Day

Dr. Michael Steele is an associate professor at the University of Guelph, NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Dairy Cattle Nutrition and Past-President of the Canadian Society of Animal Science (CSAS).  He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Guelph and worked for Nutreco Canada Agresearch for two years prior to returning to academia at the University of Alberta and Guelph as an NSERC Industrial Research Chair.  His current research focuses on the mechanisms that control gastrointestinal health and development in cattle and has published over 80 manuscripts.

Pal Stewart photo

Paul Stewart

Paul Stewart has worked in the Artificial Insemination (AI) industry for 31 years.  He began his career with Eastern Breeders Inc. based out of Kemptville, ON.  His roles with EBI included overseeing the corrective mating programs, directing young sire sampling programs, company and client genetic support and corporate communications.  EBI and the Guelph based Gencor amalgamated in 2011 to become EastGen.  Paul joined the new EastGen corporate team at that time and amongst other roles, Paul was tasked with directing every aspect of the expansion of the EastGen small ruminant program.  The program has completed four genetic line-up expansions and goat semen has been exported to over 10 countries since its inception.  Paul lives with his wife Darlene in Richmond Ontario.  The Stewarts have two boys, Blair and Quinn.  In his spare time, Paul manages his 177 year old stone house, volunteers for his local fair board and dedicates time as President and Coach of his local football association.

Angela Straathof photo

Dr Angela Straathof - All Days

Angela grew up on a dairy farm in the Ottawa Valley befor studying soil science at the Universities of Waterloo and Guelph, then completing a PhD in Soil Biology and Chemistry at Wageningen UR in the Netherlands. She was a research associate in the Soil and Ecosystem Ecology lab at the University of Manchester in the UK before returning to Ontario in 2018.  Angela is now the Program Director at the Ontario Soil & Crop Improvement Association, where she manages the team delivering cost-share opportunities to farmers across the province.

Mike Swidersky photo

Mike Swidersky - Sheep Day

Mike graduated with a Diploma in Agriculture from the University of Guelph in 1998.  He farms with his wife Amber and two teenage children in Melancthon Township in north Dufferin County.  Their farm business consists of a commercial flock of annual pasture lambing ewes, custom grazing groups of steers and heifers and a cut flower business which is operated by Amber.  100% of their farm is perennial pasture with no hay or crops grown.  His particular interest is with intensive grazing and extensive pasture management.  He has managed the local community pasture (Grey Dufferin Community Pasture) for the past 8 years.  In 2020 they grazed a total of 750 steers and heifers as well as 300 ewes and their lambs.

Jackie VandenBrink photo

Jackie VandenBrink - Horse Day

Jackie VandenBrink is a Nutritionist based out of Niagara Peninsula.  She operates a growing feed business, and also works as a nutrition consultant.  She has well over 20 years experience in the feed business and has a M.Sc. in Horse Nutrition from the University of Guelph.  Her spare time is spent tending to her warmblood breeding operation.  She stands an Oldenburg stallion and produces 2 - 4 foals per year.

Megan Van Schaik photo

Megan Van Schaik - Beef Day (Moderator)

Megan Van Schaid is a Beef Cattle Specialist fo 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.

Courtney Vriens photo

Courtney Vriens - Sheep Day


Courtney is no stranger to agriculture.  She got her education at the University of Guelph and has worked in ruminant nutrition since graduating in 2015.  She now operates her own business, Vriens Nutrition Consulting where she works with both sheep and cattle.  Courtney resides on a dairy farm in Arthur with her husband Mike.  She is passionate about agriculture and highly values helping producers reach their goals.

Christoph Wand - Dairy Day (Moderator)

Christoph received his Bachelor of Science (Nutrition Sciences) and Master of Science (Animal Science - Ruminant Nutrition) from the University of Guelph.  He joined OMAFRA in 1998 as the Beef Cattle and Sheep Nutritionist.  His most recent work assignment began in August  2014 in the Elora OMAFRA office as Livestock Sustainability Specialist.  His previous technical work in nutrition focused on economic sustainability including labour reduction, feed and nutrient use efficiency, alternative forages, Green House Gas mitigation and most recently value chains.  Christoph has been on several national and industry-led committees. In 2014 he was appointed an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science recognizing his involvement at the Ontario Agriculutre College

Marcus Wand photo

Markus Wand - Sheep Day

Marcus farms full-time in partnership with his wife Jennifer in Powassan.  The farm operation consists of 650 commercial ewes and 80 beef cow/calf pairs in an intensively managed grazing system, along with hogs, chickens and turkeys for niche marketing.  Lambs are primarily born and raised on pasture and most lambs are finished as heavy lambs on-farm.  The farm business is constantly shifting more market animals from commodity basis, to local and niche marketing, and to the North Bay Farmers Market, to capture more revenue from each unit produced.  Markus and Jennifer have two young children and are involved in multiple organizations/initiatives outside the farm, so time is at a premium and efficiency of farm business operations is key to their success.  The farm business is constantly evolving and adapting to opportunties and challenges, with COVID-19 being both a challenge and an opportunity for the farm business.

Anne Wasko photo

Anne Wasko - Beef Day

Anne Wasko has been a market Analyst for 25 years focusing on the Canadian cattle & beef industry.  She is currently the Market Analyst for Gateway Livestock Exchange based in Taber, Alberta.  Anne is also the president of Cattle Trends Inc., and consults for companies and individuals in the cattle business making numerous presentations to conferences across the country.  She is a regular contributor to RealAgriculture.com and RealAg Radio on SIRUS.  Prior to Gateway Livestock, Anne was the Senior Market Analyst with Canfax for 21 years.  Anne is the Chair of the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef and sits on the Saskatchewan Agriculture Development Fund Advisory committee.  She keeps her feet on the ground by working along side her husband at their ranch in Eastern Saskatchewan.

Scott Weese photo

Dr. Scott Weese, DVM - Ecological Day

Dr. Weese is a veterinary internist and a Diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, and a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. He is a Professor at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Director of the University of Guelph Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses, and Chief of Infection Control at the Ontario Veterinary College Teaching Hospital.

Alan Willits photo

Alan Willits - Crops Day

Alan and his son, Shawn, cash crop and beef farm near Wingham, Ontario.  They practice no-till corn soy and wheat on 500 acres and also do custom planting and combining.

Tom Wright photo

Tom Wright - Dairy Day

Tom is a dairy cattle specialist with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.  He has worked with OMAFRA for 14 years after graduating with his Ph.D. from the University of Guelph.  Tom has been an advisor to Progressive Dairy Operations for many years helping to plan their symposiums and other extension education events.  Tom's recent projects include applied research that has investigated the management features of composted bedding pack barns and various dairy nutrition projects.  Tom works in Guelph where his office is located at the Department of Animal Biosciences.  Tom lives in Puslinch with his wife and daughter.

Sjoert Zuidhof photo

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