March 2021

We hope everyone was able to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather this past weekend. As we spring forward, AAC is in the process of wrapping up our final reporting for the Emergency Processing Fund for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and managing projects approved through the Ontario Regional Priority Partnership Program and Greenhouse Competitiveness and Innovation Initiative (GCII). We know our applicants under both programs are busy, as they continue to move ahead with their projects.  

This month we are featuring AAC Director Dennis Fischer. Dennis has been an involved member of the AAC board for the past five years. He is currently the Treasurer on the board and brings a wide range of knowledge and experience, as both a sheep farmer and small business owner. We are also highlighting one of our applicants, the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG). OGVG has accessed project funding through AAC over the past 25 years to support many of its market development activities. As AAC reflects on our past 25 years of program delivery, the board and staff continue to work together and look to the future.  

If you have any questions, please reach out.


Chris Hiemstra, AAC Chair
Terry Thompson, AAC Executive Director
Dennis Fischer, Director

Dennis and his wife have farmed in the Elmwood area for over 30 years. They have a 550 commercial ewe flock and a 70 cow-calf beef herd where they also grow hay, corn, and mixed grain for their operation. Dennis and his wife have 4 children, all of which are active in the family farm operation.

Dennis was elected to the AAC board in 2016, as one of two Livestock representatives. Since 2019, he has served as the board Treasurer. He is also a director on the Canlead Solutions board, AAC's sister organization. Dennis previously served as Chair for the Ontario Sheep Farmers and currently serves as a committee member on the board’s Finance Committee and Risk Management Committee.

We have asked a few questions to learn more about Dennis, click here to read his responses:

  1. What do you think are the most important leadership traits for being an effective board member? 
  2. How does your experience serving on boards translate to everyday operations?
  3. AAC is in its 25th year of operation, over the past 25 years, what advancements in farm practices have most excited you as a producer?
  4. What is your favourite vacation spot that you look forward to visiting again?  
Programs delivered by Adaptation Council expand markets for greenhouse vegetable industry

The last two decades have been a time of significant change for Ontario’s greenhouse vegetable industry. The sector has grown, increasing production and expanding markets for the cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers its producers grow under glass.

The Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG) has been able to successfully access project funding to support many of its market development activities during that time. Those projects were part of various funding programs delivered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council (AAC), which marked its 25th anniversary in December 2020.

An early project, for example, was an in-store sampling partnership with Chicken Farmers of Ontario for greenhouse cucumbers and tomatoes as part of the Small Projects Initiative (SPI) in 1999 and 2000. The project launched most recently, part of the Greenhouse Competitiveness and Innovation Initiative, is looking at how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting consumer buying habits for greenhouse vegetables in the United States.

According to OGVG General Manager Joe Sbrocchi, the sector has expanded at an average rate of 6.2 to 6.5% annually in recent years, fueling the need for focused market development activities outside of Canada.

“The reality is that the Canadian marketplace relative to our three main commodities is fairly saturated, so to feed our growth, we need to expand into other markets,” he says, adding that greenhouse production is expanding in the United States and Mexico as well.

To read the full story, visit the AAC website.