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Ont. cattlemen name new chief

The Ontario Cattlemen’s Association has picked Gord Hardy, a Middlesex County feedlot operator, as its new president.

Hardy, an OCA director for southern Ontario since 2000 and most recently the beef producer group’s vice-president, replaces Elgin County cow-calf operator Ian McKillop, who stepped down from the president’s chair. Hardy and his family also grow corn, soybeans, wheat and white beans on 300 acres on their farm near Lucan, north of London.

The association, which represents the province’s 19,000 beef producers, elected its new executive at its annual meeting held Wednesday and Thursday in Toronto.

Replacing Hardy as vice-president is feedlot operator Curtis Royal of Simcoe County, who represents the feedlot sector on OCA’s board of directors.

Doug Kaufman was re-elected to the board as a feedlot-sector representative. New to the board for 2008 are Rick Hobbs of Ottawa, representing the cow-calf sector; Bill Herron of Grey County, representing backgrounders; and Hank Hiddink of Prince Edward County, representing eastern Ontario as a replacement for John Newman, who stepped down from the board.

The OCA elects 12 board members to three-year-terms on a rotating basis, including three regional directors, three each from the cow/calf and feedlot sectors, one from the backgrounding sector and two at-large directors.

Topics at the OCA meeting included the need for longer-term funding to beef producers who are currently suffering “crippling” low prices, the association said, citing changing government regulations, competition from ethanol producers for feed grains, trade problems and the rising Canadian dollar as factors leading to financial crises on the farm.

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