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West Nipissing Remembers
by Isabel Mosseler
Three new names have been added to the Executive Committee of the 2019 International Plowing Match and Rural Expo, and all three have farming backgrounds. Rhéal Brouillette has over 40-years experience in farming and volunteering with farm organizations; Cynthia Guindon is a graduate of the Collège d’Alfred in agriculture and an experienced farmer who is currently working at the Verner Caisse populaire; and Amy Schoppmann, a registered practical nurse and full time farmer from St-Charles has a solid background in farming beef, livestock management and working with all kinds of farm equipment.
Prior to their appointment, Daniel Olivier of Verner was the only farm organization leader on the Executive Committee. He is also the primary landowner of the site for the IPM. The additions were made in closed session at the West Nipissing combined meeting of council on July 11, subsequently formalized by a motion of council.
Dan Olivier says these new appointments should alleviate any concerns about the functionality of the IPM Executive, and that the variety of skills at the executive level will complement each other. “It’s a really good composition – Rhéal [Brouillette] looks like a farmer, talks like a farmer, is a very proud farmer who’s been at it 40 years. …We needed more farm representation on the board, and these young [women] – Amy Shoppmann, she’s a Chartrand from Noëlville, married to Heinz Shoppmann, in the cattle business. Cynthia [Guindon] is doing commercial lending for the Caisse, was raised on the farm… and Rhéal has been on all the farm organizations in the area for at least 35 years.”
Olivier says the board is now more reflective of the farming community and ready to plough ahead. He notes that the initial composition of the committee raised a few eyebrows because of the lack of farmers on the board, but he adds that the municipality swiftly responded to concerns and fixed the issue. He describes the mentality of farmers as “bottom up” as opposed to “top down”, admitting that some farmers were put off at having learned about the IPM proposal only after it was approved, with no input or consultation of the farming community beforehand.
Cynthia Guindon, Rhéal Brouillette, Jovette Morin-Gaudette, Amy Schoppmann, Thomas Lambert, Daniel Olivier, Joanne Savage, Neil Fox, Daniel Michel, Jean Beauchemin, Brian Vaillancourt. Missing: George McGaffin.
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