Ontario berry grower groups may merge
Ontario’s two berry grower organizations are proposing a merger to become one new organization. The Ontario Berry Growers’ Association and the Ontario Highbush Blueberry Growers’ Association have already received agreement from the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission to conduct an “expression of opinion” vote among all eligible growers of blueberries, raspberries and strawberries in Ontario.
The proposed name of the new organization is Berry Growers of Ontario.
“We’re planning Berry Growers of Ontario in order to help us growers earn better returns,” says Jenn VanDeVelde, a berry grower and current director of the Ontario Berry Growers’ Association. “There are so many issues facing growers today that require a strengthened organization to effectively address on growers’ behalf.”
“The new organization will give us the structure and authorities we need to better serve growers,” adds Steve Kustermans, a blueberry grower and current chairperson for the Ontario Highbush Blueberry Growers’ Association. “A unified voice for all berry growers will enable us to better get government’s attention and resources to support our sector.”
According to a press release, the new organization isn’t looking for any authorities related to pricing or control of supply. Instead, it will be focusing its efforts on marketing and promotion, research and grower advocacy.