Press Releases

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Official Press Releases from OAAS

Monday, February 28, 2022, by Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies

CONTINUING THE CELEBRATION OF THE 175TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ONTARIO ASSOCIATION OF AGRICULTURAL SOCIETIES AT THEIR 2022 CONVENTION

For Immediate Release

February 28, 2022– For over 175 years, the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies (OAAS) has been adapting to change, and this past week was no exception.  Despite the many challenges of organizing an in-person event, approximately 500 delegates attended the OAAS Annual Convention and Annual Meeting in Richmond Hill.

The OAAS was pleased to have been joined by Minister Lisa Thompson, at our Official Opening, bringing greetings and congratulations on behalf of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). She spoke of her continuing support for the OAAS and their Agricultural Societies.

Photo Credit – Jim McCuaig Opening OAAS Convention

The highlight of the Convention was the launch of the “OAAS 175th - Central Canada Exhibition Association Scholarship“ at the Official Opening.  The OAAS, in partnership with the Central Canada Exhibition Association (CCEA), has created a scholarship program recognizing youth who have been actively involved in their home agricultural societies and fairs.

Scholarships will be $2,000 each and the first scholarships will be granted in the fall of 2022. Additional information regarding the application process will be released this spring.

Mark Lamoureaux (Past President) and Lynda McCuaig (1st Vice President), on behalf of the Central Canada Exhibition Association, presented a $200,000 donation to the newly created scholarship fund.  

For 125 years the Central Canada Exhibition, located in Ottawa, provided a venue for many generations of exhibitors to showcase their livestock, produce and handicrafts.  When it became evident that the CCEA could not carry on due to many circumstances, the sad decision was made to dissolve the Association.  It was decided by the trustees of the CCEA that a legacy should be provided to the rural youth by providing bursaries/grants to further their careers. It seemed only fitting that the descendants of those exhibitors should benefit.  Money from the sale of CCEA property has been given to all the fairs in OAAS District # 1; the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies; and various rural organizations throughout Ontario for that purpose.

The Central Canada Exhibition will live forever in the memories of those that experienced it and now with bursaries to further education help build a better Ontario.

photo 1 CCEA Cheque Presentation jim McCuaig

Central Canada Exhibition Association presentation of $200,000 donation to the newly created “OAAS 175th Central Canada Exhibition Association Scholarship”.   Photo Credit – Jim McCuaig – taken February 18th at the Official Opening

L to R Vince Brennan, OAAS Manager; Beth Howell-Vervaecke, President; Lynda McCuaig, Central Canada Exhibition Association 1st Vice President; Mark Lamoureaux, Central Canada Exhibition Association Past President; Heather Owens, OAAS.

The OAAS continues to recognize the importance of youth involvement in our agricultural societies to ensure future volunteers, members, and directors.  In addition to the scholarship, the OAAS has developed a new program to assist agricultural societies to enhance the participation of youth in their organizations, events, and activities.

The OAAS Convention once again offered delegates the choice of over 40 educational seminars and round-tables as well as entertainment, family showcases, and the Tradeshow.

The Convention concluded with the first hybrid OAAS Annual General Meeting with a large number of delegates representing agricultural societies from across the province in attendance either in person or via Zoom. The morning opened with a presentation from the University of Guelph and RBC about the new “Foundations in Agricultural Management” program. The OAAS was pleased to have been joined by Senator Rob Black, bringing greetings, congratulations, and pledging his continued support to the OAAS and their Agricultural Societies.

Introducing the 2022 OAAS Executive:

Liz O’Gorman-Smit, incoming 2022 – 2023 OAAS President.    Photo Credit – Jim McCuaig – taken February 19th  at AGM

  •     Liz O'Gorman-Smit, President, Russell
  •     Glen Syme, 1st Vice President (District 2)
  •     Heather Owens, 2nd Vice President (District 3)
  •     Beth Howell-Vervaecke, Past-President

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For more information on the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies (OAAS) and our Ontario Agricultural Societies and their fairs, visit www.ontarioagsocieties.com 

Contact:
Vince Brennan, OAAS Manager
P: 613-395-2465
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 


 

PRESS RELEASE | THE OAAS CONVENTION
HAS “GONE VIRTUAL” TO CELEBRATE 175 YEARS

Thursday, February 25, 2021, 2:00 PM by Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies

CELEBRATING THE 175TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ONTARIO ASSOCIATION OF AGRICULTURAL SOCIETIES AT THEIR “GONE VIRTUAL” CONVENTION

For Immediate Release

February 25, 2021 – For 175 years, the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies (OAAS) has been adapting to change, and this past week was no exception. For the first time in the organization's history, their annual Convention has “Gone Virtual,” which ran from Monday, February 15 until Saturday, February 20.

Despite the challenges of the rural Ontario internet, approximately 800 delegates participated in the Virtual Convention. The seminars covered topics as varied as risk management, post-COVID protocols for the safe staging of fairs and events, strategic planning, fundraising, and board governance.

The OAAS Convention offered entertainment, family showcases and the Tradeshow in a virtual format that allowed delegates to view them at their convenience during the week—having it delivered virtually provided an exciting opportunity for increased attendance at the over 30 seminars and allowed for prerecorded “Quick-Tip” videos throughout.

The Convention concluded with the OAAS Annual General Meeting where over 400 delegates representing close to 180 agricultural societies were in attendance. The OAAS is pleased to have been joined by Minister Ernie Hardeman, Minister MacLeod and Senator Rob Black, bringing their greetings, congratulations and continuing support to the OAAS and their Agricultural Societies.

Beth 2021

Beth Howell-Vervaecke

2021 OAAS Executive:

  • Beth Howell-Vervaecke, President 
  • Liz O'Gorman-Smit, 1st Vice President 
  • Glen Syme, 2nd Vice President 
  • Brian Slaughter, Past-President 

2021 Provincial Board of Directors:

  • Valerie Allen, District 1
  • Angie Robinson, District 2
  • Heather Owens, District 3
  • Andrew Iceton, District 4
  • Linda Murray, District 5
  • Heather Dillon, District 6
  • Andrew Taylor, District 7
  • Bart Scherpenzeel, District 8
  • Grace Mullen, District 9
  • Mike Dupuis, District 10
  • Carol Cann, District 11
  • District 12 (vacant)
  • Lauren Armstrong, District 13
  • Leonard Ripel, District 14
  • Randy Creighton, District 15

 

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For more information on the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies (OAAS) and our Ontario Agricultural Societies and their fairs, visit www.ontarioagsocieties.com 

Contact:
Vince Brennan, OAAS Manager
P: 613-395-2465
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

#fairsareresilient

 


 

In response to the many questions and concerns from Agricultural Societies on their responsibilities regarding Livestock Traceability Requirements,  Guidelines and forms have been posted on our website - <click here>

These documents are intended to assist your Agricultural Society in negotiating all the numerous websites, documents and information that has been provided regarding Livestock Traceability Requirements.

An email with all the documents was sent on July 19 to all Agricultural Societies, Provincial Directors and District Directors and Secretaries.  We ask you to share them with your Livestock Committees and Board Members.

One of documents was the "Traceability Responsibilities for Owners and Exhibitors showing or displaying their livestock on Fairgrounds".  We suggest you share this document with your Exhibitors, so they are aware of their responsibilities for Livestock Traceability Requirements as it pertains to exhibiting or displaying livestock at our Fairs.

 Our apologies for the lateness of this document, but it has taken a considerable amount of time to verify the information that we have collected from the various CFIA and other agency sites and documents.   

OAAS has worked with CAFE to create the documents to help answer your questions regarding exactly what our Agricultural Societies' responsibilities are to remain compliant under  the CFIA Traceability Requirements.

We strongly encourage you to review the information on our  website <click here> to ensure that your Agricultural Society is compliant with the Livestock Traceability Requirements and would not face possible penalties due to violations of the Health of Animals Regulations, Part XV (Livestock identification and traceability)

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The 174th Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies (OAAS) Annual Convention was held from February 13th  to 15th  in Richmond Hill.  Over 1100 people attended this event.  Young ambassadors, representing fairs across the province, also gathered to build their leadership skills as well as learning of careers in agriculture.

The OAAS Convention organized a special session on governance to meet a growing demand from their membership. Presenters Cathy Redden, Shawn LaPalm, and Tim Carson (from the Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies) spoke on the basics, best practices and the roles and responsibilities as Board Members.

Seminars and panel discussions continued over two days.  Over 40 sessions covered topics such as attracting youth to the Board level, being better at meeting with your local politicians, getting your message out into the community and current regulations such as livestock traceability.  At the same time people could view provincial competition winners in posters, quilts, cookies, tarts, and photography.  Entertainment showcases were held every night as well as a busy auction which saw a John Deere pedal steel tractor donated by Huron Tractor in Exeter sell for $825.  There was a heavy competition to see if it could surpass the winning bid on a New Holland tractor,  which it did.

Farmer Tim May and incoming President Brian Slaughter 350Left Farmer Tim May and incoming President Brian Slaughter 350The opening speaker, Farmer Tim (Tim May), addressed a crowd of over 600 on his journey to agvocacy.  He is a dairy farmer near Guelph who has just under 60 000 followers on Facebook.  He shares stories and pictures of the everyday  activities of his family and their animals on their farm and takes a lot of time answering questions and explaining farming practices to his many followers on his Facebook page.  His humor and pictures illustrate the love farmers have for their animals and how they treat them with respect.  Many of his online followers in the audience waited patiently following his message to get their pictures with him.

The Convention closed with the Annual General Meeting.  The Convention Administrator, Kathryn Lambert, and Manager, Vince Brennan, spoke to the delegates about what they have done during the past year.  Outgoing President Doug Yeo from near Bayfield spoke on the things he learned during his year as President  He stressed that Ag Societies need to dream big, that fairs are thriving throughout Ontario and that the Ag Societies need to tell their stories.  The OAAS presented Helen Scutt, a recently retired OMAFRA specialist, with its highest honour – the Meritorious Award during the meeting.  Helen formerly worked with Agricultural Societies assisting with their  needs and questions about  government regulations and programs and was a yearly presenter at the Convention.  She was extremely well respected by the membership and proof of that was receiving two standing ovations during the presentation.  The closing speaker, Jen Puente from the Wisconsin State Fair, stressed the need to drop being around negativity and remember to do the things that actually make you positive.  At one point some in the crowd proved they could make the situations as positive as she could.  The room was filled with smiles and laughter and the challenge was to do that every day.  The incoming President Brian Slaughter from near Forest announced that the OAAS would be celebrating their  175th Anniversary  next year and invited everyone back.

The OAAS is very grateful to their many sponsors that make it possible for us to continue to provide the many programs and services for our member Agricultural Societies.

The OAAS is the umbrella organization representing over 200 Agricultural Societies in Ontario.  These Agricultural Societies organize and manager fairs in many communities ranging in size from small one day events to large multi-day events. The OAAS provides guidance, education and programs to assist the Agricultural Societies host their fairs and promote agriculture and a rural way of life in Ontario. 

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