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Executive Director Report

Harry Stoddart, Executive Director

I am excited to be joining an organization that has the reputation and mandate of OSCIA. There is a saying that to reach great heights you need to stand on the shoulders of giants. Whatever we achieve in the coming years, it will be because we are standing on the shoulders of Andrew Graham, Harold Rudy, Doug Wagner and the teams of people they led and supported.

For those of you who are wondering who I am, I have had a 30-year career in Ontario agriculture that has included primary production agriculture both at the scale of 2000 acres and a direct-to-consumer model. I have farmed conventionally, organically, and utilized intensive rotational grazing. I have raised cattle, sheep, and had a farrow-to-finish hog operation. As well, I have worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers, IBM, and a number of boutique firms as a business strategy consultant focused on public sector service delivery.

As a consultant I redesigned program delivery models, analysed the potential impacts of program design, completed economic impact analysis, and helped design and implement computer systems for clients ranging from AAFC to Agricorp to the Golden Horseshoe Farm and Food Alliance. I also served on the board of Agricorp for two terms, including chairing the Finance and Audit Committee. Throughout my career I have had a passion for examining and communicating about profitably reducing agriculture’s impact on the environment.

My approach over the coming weeks and months will be to listen and understand first. I am taking the helm of an organization that has a bright future with new and renewed programs on the horizon along with a strong financial statement thanks to the work of staff, the board, and members in recent years. While there are always areas that can be improved, my focus will be to ensure that the “improvements” are targeted at solving the root problems and don’t cause a need for additional “improvement.” To that end, I will be listening to staff, the Board, and members over the coming months to understand what our priorities need to be and develop action plans. As well, the strategic plan that was updated most recently in 2020 is up for renewal this year. The strategic planning process will help set the course for the coming years.

I look forward to meeting more staff and members in the coming weeks and months and hearing your input.