NEWS RELEASE For Immediate Release
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.
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Brian 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.
CNE 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
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