by SUSAN MANN
Dairy Farmers of Ontario board chair Bill Emmott always said he’d set a time limit on his involvement on the organization’s board.
“When I started, I said I’d say 16 years,” he says.
And as of next year Emmott will have reached year 16 and so he has announced his intentions to retire after the supply managed commodity organization’s annual meeting in Toronto Jan. 13 to 15, 2015.
Six of those years have been spent as board chair. He also represented Dairy Farmers of Ontario on the Canadian Milk Supply Management Committee (the organization responsible for national policy setting and supervising the National Milk Marketing Plan), the P5 Supervisory Body (the supervising organization for the five provinces in the eastern Canadian milk pooling agreement) and is vice president of Dairy Farmers of Canada along with being president of its promotion committee.
Emmott didn’t seek re-election for his Region 7 seat on the board representing the farmers of Brant, Haldimand, Halton, Niagara, Norfolk and Wentworth for this year’s election of that seat. He was first elected to the board in 1999 and was elected vice chair in 2005. He was first elected chair in 2009.
Graham Lloyd, Dairy Farmers general counsel and communications director, announced Tuesday by email Albert Fledderus of Lowbanks was officially declared as elected to serve the board members of Region 7 for a four-year term starting when the annual meeting ends on Jan. 15, 2015. The other farmer who ran for the seat is Fred Judd. Lloyd didn’t provide election details, such as how many votes each candidate got, the total votes cast or the number of eligible voters.
The board’s 12 directors elect their chair and two vice chairs annually at a meeting just after the annual meeting.
Emmott says his lasting legacy was “trying to modernize the structure of the industry.” He also worked to get the board to be more of a policy-oriented organization with staff earmarked to carry out the directions of the board. “If it’s in the budget and it’s in the plan, then they (staff) need to work on it and get it done,” he says. “We as board just need to hold them accountable for it.”
What he’ll miss the most about his time on the board are the people. “I’ll miss the board and the staff. We’re great comrades.”
The Dairy Farmers of Ontario organization “is in a time of flux with senior staff retiring and senior board members need to retire as well and make way” for new members, he says. Emmott described the transition as “nothing drastic. You come and you do your part. Nobody’s irreplaceable and everybody will do a new job and a different job in the future.”
As for the soon-to-be elected new chair, Emmott says he’d advise that person “leadership is never where you make everybody happy all the time. Being a board member, you don’t make all producers happy all the time but you have to make the best decisions for everyone in the industry, from the government to the farm level to the processor side as well. Nobody’s going to win every time.”
After his retirement from the board, Emmott plans to continue farming. He operates a joint venture with the McLellan family and they milk about 80 Holsteins on their farms near Brantford in Brant County.
He says they’re expanding and building a bigger barn with room for more than 100 cows. “We’re modernizing the farm and we buy quota every month. We get a little bigger every year.” BF