November 2021

As the leaves have changed, combines are finishing up in the fields, pumpkins have been carved and colder temperatures are in the air, there is no denying that fall is upon us. As we’ve watched the seasons change, AAC has also been embracing changes of our own. We are preparing for the retirement of our long-serving Executive Director, Terry Thompson and the transition to a new chapter of leadership under Melanie DiReto. Our team shared this update with the membership at a lunch and learn event earlier this week.
At the event we heard from Michael Keegan & Associates, who provided an update on their recent work preparing AAC for the future. We also announced our new funding initiative for AAC member organizations: AAC Sectoral Collaboration Initiative (ASCI). Through ASCI, financial support will be provided to encourage AAC members to connect and work together through sectoral collaborations to help the industry position themselves for future funding opportunities, the next policy framework, and post-pandemic recovery. We are excited to seeing the collaborations and applications that come forward. 
While we are all now accustomed to the world of Zoom meetings, it was a welcome change to gather in person on October 27 for our first in-person board meeting since March 2020. The board had great dialogue and discussion, and no one had to worry about pressing the mute and unmute button. It was the first time meeting our newest board member, Jamie Payton, and bittersweet as we said farewell to our longest-serving board member, Cor Kapteyn. At the AGM in December, Cor will wrap-up ten years of dedicated service to the board. We greatly appreciate Cor’s valuable insight from the supply management sector and wish him well! 
If you have any questions, please reach out.
Chris Hiemstra, AAC Chair
Board appoints Melanie DiReto as successor effective January 1, 2022

Terry Thompson, the Agricultural Adaptation Council’s long-serving Executive Director, has announced he will be retiring at the end of 2021. Melanie DiReto, currently AAC’s Manager of Finance and Administration, will replace Thompson effective January 1, 2022.

Thompson, a graduate of the University of Guelph, has been with AAC for 23 of the organization’s 26-year history, first joining in a financial management capacity in 1998 before becoming Executive Director in 2010. In 2020, he also became President of Canlead Solutions when the new organization was formed as a complement to AAC.

Under his leadership, AAC built an enviable reputation as a cost-effective, transparent and highly professional organization with a strong focus on service to the agriculture and food sector. When the organization was suddenly faced with a future without the stability of program delivery activities, Thompson helped chart a new course for the AAC.

He was instrumental in leading AAC’s transition to also offering organizational management services for the Canadian agriculture and food sector through Canlead Solutions.

“After some turbulent times, AAC has evolved into two strong organizations that are ready and able to serve Ontario agriculture in new ways - and we owe that promising future in large part to Terry’s hard work, dedication and vision,” says AAC Chair Chris Hiemstra. “We appreciate his many years of service to the organization and the key role he has played in assuring its future.”

Click here for the full article.
Cor Kapteyn, Director

Cor was raised on a dairy farm in Simcoe County. In 1978, he and his wife, Ricki started a chicken broiler breeder operation, providing fertile hatching eggs for Ontario’s chicken market. Currently, Cor, Ricki, and his two sons, David, John and their families, operate Arbor Lane Farm. They produce hatching eggs from 45,000 breeder hens and raising replacement pullets. They also cash crop over 1,000 acres, including a rotation of specialty beans, soybeans, corn and wheat, and carry out custom planting and harvesting.

Cor is a graduate of the Class 3 of the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program. He has served on national and provincial boards as a representative of the hatching egg sector, as well as served as a member of the committee of adjustment for Springwater Township.

In December 2021, Cor will wrap-up his term on the AAC board, where he has served as one of the two supply management representatives since 2011. Cor has been a very engaged board member, holding the position of AAC treasurer, member of the AAC Executive Committee and chair of the AAC Audit Committee. Cor has been involved in industry-led decision making by the AAC board for various federal-provincial funding programs from Growing Forward and Growing Forward 2 through to the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. The board will miss Cor’s input around the board table and his extensive knowledge of the poultry sector. We thank him for his ten years of dedicated service to the AAC board. 

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

  • As one of AAC’s longest serving directors, what have you enjoyed most about being a part of the AAC board over the past ten years?
  • How does your experience serving on boards translate to everyday operations?
  • 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?
  • As we begin to cross over into colder winter months, what activities are most looking forward to?