by SUSAN MANN
The representative of a neighouring region will step in temporarily to act for the dairy farmers in Dairy Farmers of Ontario’s Region 1 following the sudden departure of their provincial board member.
Eastern Ontario farmer Ron Versteeg was the board member for Region 1, which includes Ottawa-Carleton, Cumberland Township, Glengarry, Prescott and Russell. He resigned for personal reasons during the DFO’s annual meeting in January. He first joined the board in 2005, and his most recent four-year term started on Jan. 12, 2012 when he was acclaimed in the Region 1 elections.
Laural Adams, Dairy Farmers communications manager, says Versteeg’s position is currently vacant but Henry Oosterhof, the board member for Region 3 (Frontenac, Grenville, Lanark, Leeds and Renfrew), is representing the farmers from Region 1 for the time being.
Oosterhof will represent the region until another representative is elected in a by-election this spring to replace Versteeg. The successful candidate will serve the remainder of Versteeg’s four-year term. The nomination period is now open and nominees have until Feb. 24 to get their forms in to Dairy Farmers’ head office in Mississauga.
To be nominated, a candidate needs signatures from 10 licensed dairy farmers in Region 1. The candidate also must be a licensed dairy farmer from the region. After the due date for nomination forms, candidates have until Mar. 7 to drop out of the race.
Mail-in ballots will be sent to all licensed dairy farmers in Region 1 by Mar. 18, and they must be returned to Dairy Farmers with a postmark no later than Apr. 8. Ballots postmarked after that date won’t be counted, Dairy Farmers said in a letter to farmers.
The ballots will be counted on Apr. 15.
Graham Lloyd, Dairy Farmers general counsel and communications director, is the returning officer for the election. BF