Friend of OFAC award winners show decades of commitment to communicating about agriculture

NEWS RELEASE For Immediate Release 
 
 Friend of OFAC award winners show decades of commitment to communicating about agriculture

April 8, 2010 - (GUELPH, ON) – One is an event that has provided a venue for farmers and hundreds of thousands of Toronto consumers to meet and get to know each other. The other has been a tireless supporter of research and innovation benefitting farmers in this province for many decades.

Both were honoured recently by the annual Friend of OFAC award, presented this year to the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) and to Mississauga resident Brian Ellsworth. The awards, a surprise to the recipients, were presented at the annual meeting of Ontario Farm Animal Council (OFAC) in Guelph by Bruce Christie, OFAC’s Past Chairman. Accepting on behalf of the CNE were CNE Agricultural Coordinator Paula Ellis and CNE Agricultural Assistant Paul Betts.

Since its beginnings 131 years ago, the CNE had its roots in agriculture and to this day it continues to be a strong component of the fair. The model farm exhibit at the CNE, now in its 20th year, is one of the most popular components of the 18-day Toronto event. CNE staff work in partnership with Ontario farm groups, providing them with 65,000 square feet of free space to feature farm animals, farmers and farm equipment including a small scale working dairy barn. The “model farm” concept, pioneered by the CNE, has also been borrowed and replicated by events across North America.

Recent years have brought the addition of popular new travelling displays such as pig, chicken and egg mobiles and interactive children’s activities. Since 1990, it is estimated that the CNE farm has attracted more than 10 million visitors – most who wouldn’t otherwise have had this hands-on farm opportunity.

As general manager of the Ontario Egg Producers (now Egg Farmers of Ontario) for 35 years, Brian Ellsworth helped to coordinate office space and staff for OFAC when it was first created in 1987 and he continued serve as a champion of the organization through the years that followed. In 2004, Ellsworth also served as OFAC’s interim general manager when the organization went through a period of change and growth.

Ellsworth is known as an innovator in agricultural marketing and has served on the boards of many Ontario and Canadian farm organizations. He is an accomplished public speaker who has also talked extensively to both rural and urban audiences about the care and welfare of laying hens.

The Friend of OFAC Award was created in 1999 to recognize individuals, organizations and businesses that have helped to inform the public or the agri-food industry about animal agriculture.

The Ontario Farm Animal Council is a non-profit education organization representing Ontario’s 40,000 livestock and poultry farmers and related agri-businesses.

OFAC is the voice for animal agriculture, providing a coordinated effort on issues related to animal agriculture and food production including farm animal care, environment, new technology and food safety.

For more information:
Kelly Daynard, Program Manager, Phone: 519-837-1326 email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Award WinnerBrian Ellsworth (centre) was presented with a 2010 Friend of OFAC award by Robert Scott (left), Egg Farmers of Ontario Director to OFAC and by Bruce Christie, Past Chairman of the Ontario Farm Animal Council. Ellsworth received the award for his support of research and innovation benefiting farmers over the last two decades.

Award WinnersCNE Agricultural Coordinator Paula Ellis and CNE Agricultural Assistant Paul Betts receive their Friend of OFAC Award from Bruce Christie, Past Chairman of the Ontario Farm Animal Council.

Prior Friend of OFAC Award Winners

2009 - Mary Ann Found, Agricultural Advocate; the late Paul Mistele, Hog and Poultry Farmer and OFAC board member

2008 - Leslie Ballentine, past OFAC Executive Director

2007 - Lance Pocock, Hog Farmer; Wallenstein Feed Charitable Foundation

2006 - Mike Cooper, Grober Animal Nutrition; Paul and Robin Brown, Beef and sheep farmers

2005 - Gordon Coukell, Dairy Farmer

2004 - Jim Dalrymple, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

2003 - Jim Johnstone, Egg farmer

2002 - Stan Eby, Beef farmer

2001 - Bruce Weber, Egg farmer

2000 - Peter Doris, Ontario Cattlemen’s Association

1999 - OFAC’s 10th Annual Meeting:

Marion Newman, Beef farmer

Craig and Cathy Smith, Hog farmers

Jean Szkotnicki, Canadian Animal Health Institute

Walter and Sharon Petheram, Hog farmers

Canadian National Exhibition Agriculture Committee

John Hendrikx, Hog farmer

Middlesex Federation of Agriculture

Ron and Sharon Douglas, Hog farmers

Dave Adams, Ontario Institute of Agrologists

Ontario SPCA Investigations Department - Animal Protection Services
 

For more information:

Kelly Daynard, Program Manager, Phone: 519-837-1326  email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.