At Ontario Pork's annual banquet dinner on March 20, some very special individuals were recognized for their contributions to the Ontario pork industry. The producer award went to Stan & Mary Ann Found and Jim Ross of Grand Valley Fortifiers bestowed the industry award. Below are the presentations given from the podium.
This year, Ontario Pork decided to recognize two amazing people and proud farmers from Durham Region, Mary Ann and Stan Found.
Mary Ann and Stan are passionate advocates for the provincial pork industry. Stan has served as the Secretary of the Durham Pork Producers Association for many years. Mary Ann is a tireless educator and has been putting together numerous promotional events to showcase the industry.
Both Mary Ann and Stan are proud to be continuing the agricultural heritage that began four generations ago. Stan's Grandfather purchased the 80 acre farm in 1882 and grew crops and livestock to provide for his eight children. Stan's father inherited the farm from his father. He operated as a mixed farm, selling product to the local stores and doing a bit of custom work. In due time, after working alongside his father, Stan inherited the farm and focused on raising beef and swine with a small cash crop enterprise and some sweet corn. Mary Ann and Stan have raised four children who are all keenly interested in agriculture. Today, Stan works the farm and an additional 600 acres with the help of their eldest son, Brad, who has a sheep enterprise. The couple’s other children help out as their schedule commitments permit. Mary Ann and Stan Found are proud grandparents of six grandchildren.
Mary Ann and Stan conduct educational farm tours for schools and community groups such as Beavers, Sparks, and seniors groups. Mary Ann has worked as a primary teacher for 32 years and decided to combine her teaching experience with her passion for agriculture by providing farm learning experiences. Her goal is to bring knowledge of Canadian farming to youth who would not normally experience it. Mary Ann has been a 4-H leader since 1974, and a director with the Durham Central Agricultural Society since 1992. Recently, she’s become involved with the Farm and Food Care in an attempt to bridge the information gap between consumers and the people who work on the farm. She currently serves as a director of Durham Region Federation of Agriculture and past chair the Farm Connections steering committee.
Both Mary Ann and Stan are directors of the Durham Pork Producers Association and work with the Durham Region Cattlemen and the Durham Region Sheep Producers on various agricultural promotion endeavours at fairs and local festivals. Mary Ann takes an active role in their church and serves on the Branch and District level of Women's Institute.
They love what they do and are proud to be Ontario farmers. Thank you Stan and Mary Ann!
We would like to recognize Jim Ross’ contribution to the pork industry.
From those early days of Grand Valley Feed and Farm Supply in Cambridge, Ontario, Jim knew that a business should be much more than just an entrepreneurial venture.
• It should be a good place for people to work – where they could give their best professionally and also feel like they are working among family.
• A business should have an innovative spirit, responding to the challenges of the industry it serves.
• But Jim knew that a business should also be one that gave back to its community – both locally and internationally.
Now nearly 60 years later, the GVF Group of Companies is just that:
• a second-generation family business with a diverse team of dedicated employees,
• a company with operations across Canada and across the globe,
• and a company with decades of philanthropy both at home in Ontario as well as in Africa.
After graduating from the Ontario Agricultural College, Jim’s early connections to the pork industry began in the 1950s with feeder pigs on his first farm.
And as he moved from primarily raising livestock to founding a feed supply company, Jim was never one afraid of getting his hands dirty. From pitching in and working in that first feed mill to growing sales and making feed deliveries, Jim has worn many hats throughout his career.
With a business model able to answer the challenges of the pork industry, Jim has always been forward looking and responsive. When PED broke in Ontario, Grand Valley’s immediate response and commitment to finding solutions were instrumental in containing the disease as quickly as we did in this province. Product innovation, anticipating the needs of the marketplace, and developing long-term relationships across the pork industry are all part of Grand Valley’s success. As one of his oldest customers puts it, “The culture of the company reflects the culture of Jim.”
Over the years, Jim has demonstrated as much passion for agriculture as he has passion and faithful dedication to serving others. Described it as a “loaves and fishes” approach to business, Jim’s mindset has been that the growth of the company enables him to better support those in need. Jim is truly a family man to his wife Elaine, his children Nancy, Heather, Ian and David, and their spouses as well as to his many grandchildren.
Jim couldn’t be with us this evening as he is enjoying his well-earned retirement in sunny Florida. But we would like Jim’s son Ian, now President of the GVF Group of Companies, to please come forward to accept our industry recognition award on behalf of his father.