Find Your District
Within Grain Farmers of Ontario, the province is divided into 15 districts, each of which is assigned a minimum of eight delegates. Additional delegates are allocated based on the extent to which each district’s total estimated combined acreage of barley, corn, oats, soybeans, and wheat exceeds 6.7 per cent of their total provincial acreage. The acreage is estimated based on adjusting production figured for average yields relative to each of the three crops. District alignment and delegate allocations will be reviewed not less than every five years thereafter, based on the most recent production data. Districts will be required to represent a minimum of five percent of production as defined above, except for northern Ontario, which will be assured a minimum of one district, and eastern Ontario, which will be assured a minimum of two districts, to respect the extent of the geography involved, regardless of the quantity of production. Use the interactive map below to find your director or delegate.
Click on the district in your area and the district number, name, and director will appear:
Can’t see the map? Open it in a new window.
District 1 – Brendan Byrne
Brendan Byrne is the director for District 1 (Essex) and was elected as chair of the Board of Directors in 2021. As chair, Byrne is ex officio to all Board committees.He was first elected as a director in 2015 after serving as a delegate for five years and the local chairman for three. He’s also a past local chair for the Essex Soil and Crop Improvement Association.
Byrne is involved with Grain Farmers of Ontario because he believes it’s important for the younger generation to keep the family farm alive. Through the organization he sees the opportunity to be a part of the broader business issues affecting farmers at the local and provincial level. He is passionate about farmer mental health and helping to work on diversity and inclusion initiatives to ensure all membership is heard.
Farming and family are the main aspects of Byrne’s life in Essex County. He operates a 1,200 acre cash crop farm with his Dad and family. They’ve passed along a farming tradition that he is now starting to see take root in his own children Alyssa and Brendan.
When not busy on the farm, Byrne and his wife, Mindy, can be found getting the children to their various sporting events and robotics team events. During hockey and baseball seasons, Byrne can be found on the sidelines as the coach of their teams. He’s an active reader, is involved in film and video production, and enjoys social networking with other farmers as a means to further his knowledge of the industry and new crop management techniques.
He can be found on Twitter @heybrendan.
District 2 – Mark Huston
Mark Huston is the director for District 2 (Kent), a position he has held since the formation of Grain Farmers of Ontario in 2010. As a member of the Board of Directors, he is involved in a number of committees, including the Finance and Audit Committee, the BRM/Safety Nets Committee, and the March Classic Committee. He also serves as chair of the Government Relations Committee.
Huston farms 1,300 acres of corn, soybeans, and wheat with his father, Larry, his uncle, Terry, and cousin, Jeffrey, north of Thamesville. The Hustons have an interest in new technologies that can improve their farming operation and have been using precision agriculture technology (yield maps and yield data) to help manage their farm since 1999. In addition to their grain crops, the Hustons have about 1,100 finishing pigs.
Huston has a strong interest in international markets and the potential that exists there for Ontario’s soybean crop. He feels it is important to find new uses and new markets for soybeans and for this information to be shared with farmers so they have a broader understanding of their role within the domestic and global value-chain.
Huston is the seventh generation to work the family farm. He and his wife, Alicia, hope their three children will carry on the tradition. In his spare time, Huston plays rugby and keeps his musical talent in tune by playing guitar. He can be found on Twitter @HustonFarms.
District 3 – Emery Huszka
Emery Huszka is the director for District 3 (Lambton). He joined the Board of Directors in 2019 after serving as a delegate for five years and as district chair for three years. Huszka wanted to take on the role of director because he believes grain farmers are facing a number of significant political and trade-related issues that our organization needs to address.
Huszka is the chair of the Resolutions Committee and the March Classic Committee, and also serves on the Communications and Health & Wellness Committees.
Huszka farms in Lambton and Chatham-Kent, but his home is in Lambton. The family farm was started by his grandparents who were refugees from Hungary in the 1950s. Throughout the years, the farm has grown tobacco, raised cattle, and grown a variety of crops. Huszka now focuses on growing corn and soybeans.
Huszka is a firm believer in using cover crops with minimum tillage to increase soil health and prevent erosion. He is also concerned about Great Lakes water quality issues. During his three-year term as president of the National Farmers Union in Ontario he focused on promoting the best management practices farmers use to protect waterways, and the modernization of governance within the organization.
Huszka has a BA in political science from Western University (King’s College), an industrial management certificate from Fanshawe College, and has taken multiple courses related to manufacturing and human resource management. After university, Huszka spent several years working on Parliament Hill before returning home. He spent 15 years as an industrial supervisor within the automotive and manufacturing industries. For the past nine years, he has been a Maizex seed dealer.
The farming families in Lambton have always impressed Huszka with their high level of participation with farm organizations in Ontario. He encourages every family to attend information sessions, be active in decisions affecting agriculture and food, and be in contact with the district delegates to help direct the efforts of our organization as we work together to create a sustainable business environment that enables grain farmer-members the opportunity to prosper.
Huszka can be found on Twitter @EmeryHuszka.
District 4 – Steve Twynstra
Steve Twynstra is the director for District 4 (Middlesex). He was elected as director in 2020 after serving as a delegate since the inception of Grain Farmers of Ontario in 2010. He currently serves as a member of the Market Development Committee and is the chair of the Wheat Marketing Committee.
Twynstra is owner of Twilight Acre Farms Ltd., a diversified 3,000+ acre grain and specialty crop farm near Ailsa Craig. The farm utilizes leading edge technology to grow field corn, edible IP soybeans, pedigree soybeans, winter canola, pedigree hard white, hard red, and soft red winter wheat, pedigree durum wheat, and many types of dry edible beans. Twilight Acre Farms also works closely with university and private industry to conduct agronomic research and provides custom field work on more than 1,100 acres in Middlesex County.
A member of the Ontario Agricultural College Class of 1986, Twynstra graduated from the University of Guelph with a BSc. (Agr.) and went on to obtain an M.S. from Purdue University in 1988. He is also a graduate of the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program (Class 3) and several advanced leadership and business development programs through Texas A&M, Purdue, and the Ivey School of Business. He was also a member of the inaugural class of the Canadian Agriculture Lifetime Leadership program.
Twynstra brings a wealth of leadership experience to the Grain Farmers of Ontario board of directors, including past service as councillor for the Township of East Williams, inaugural chair of the Ontario Bean Growers, director of Middlesex Soil and Crop Improvement Association, delegate for the Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers Association, and membership in several other industry organizations. Most recently, he completed a term as chair of the Agricultural Credit Corporation, where he was a board member for 14 years.
Twynstra and his wife, Dianne, have a son, Kurtis, who is currently in his third year at the University of Guelph. Among his hobbies is private aviation and he is involved in the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association and the American Pilots and Owners Association. He enjoys travel, politics, and keeping up with the news.
He can be found on Twitter @SteveTwynstra.
District 5 – Scott Persall
Scott Persall is the director for Grain Farmers of Ontario’s District 5 (Elgin and Norfolk). He is the third generation to work the family farm near Waterford known as Roanoke Farm. Along with his father, Doug, and his wife, Sara, he grows corn, soybeans, and wheat on 400 acres. They also have 18,000 laying hens.
Persall served as a delegate for Grain Farmers of Ontario for two years before being elected as a director in 2013. Persall currently serves as vice chair of the Board of Directors and is a member of the Grain Issues, Government Relations, and Finance and Audit Committees.
He has chosen to be active in the organization because he is interested in educating consumers about where their food comes from and he wants to help fellow producers by working with industry and government to make a stronger and more sustainable grains and oilseeds industry.
Persall is also involved in his community; he works at the committee level with the Norfolk County Agriculture Society and looks after the lighting and sound at his church. When not busy on the farm during the summer, he enjoys racing sailboats and fishing. Persall and his wife have three adult children Ethan, Justin, and Lauren.
District 6 – Jeff Barlow
Jeff Barlow is the director for District 6 (Haldimand, Brant, Hamilton, Niagara). He was elected as director in 2016 after serving as a delegate since 2012. Barlow serves the Board as the chair of the Market Development Committee and as a member of the Wheat Marketing and BRM/Safety Nets Committees.
Barlow got involved with Grain Farmers of Ontario because he believes the agriculture industry needs a voice, and just staying on the farm and hoping that our voice is being heard just isn’t good enough. He believes in the vision of Grain Farmers of Ontario and the direction of the organization is well aligned with his own.
“Farming is becoming more than just about growing crops. Our industry needs to move forward united, and with common goals. I am passionate about technology and the future of farming and hope that we maintain the social license to use these technologies,” he says.
Barlow’s farm started in 1843 near Binbrook. He is the sixth generation to farm the land, and works alongside his father, growing corn, soybeans, and wheat, with a focus on white hilum soybeans for the export market. His wife Dianne works off-farm as an elementary school vice principal, and together they have three boys all eager to help out on the farm whenever they can.
Barlow enjoys aerial photography and using drones to capture field images. If he’s not at the farm, you can find him with his family going camping, snowmobiling, and fishing.
You can find him on Twitter as @barlowfarms1843.
District 7 – Kevin Armstrong
Kevin Armstrong is the director for District 7 (Waterloo, Oxford). He is the third generation on his family farm in Woodstock where he and his parents grow 750 acres of corn, wheat, and soybeans.
Armstrong has been a director since 2012 and currently serves as chair of the Communications Committee and the Health and Wellness Committee. He is also a member of the Wheat Marketing Committee.
Technological innovations in the agricultural industry are an interest for Armstrong, who is always looking for tools that will help increase on-farm efficiencies and production.
Armstrong, and his wife, Aggie, have one daughter, Eleanor. They enjoy the seasonality of grain farming that allows them to follow their second calling – travelling.
He can be found on Twitter @Kev_Arms.
District 8 – Keith Black
Keith Black was elected director for District 8 (Huron) in 2014. Keith farms 400 acres near Belgrave growing corn, soybeans, and wheat, and does custom planting and combining. He also pastures cattle each summer, finishing them over the winter. His farm has been in his family for over a century.
His involvement in local agriculture is evident as he has been a member of the Drinking Water Source Protection Committee since inception and is a past president of the Huron County Soil and Crop Improvement Association. Black also served on the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association Executive, serving as president in 2006.
As a director for Grain Farmers of Ontario, Black is chair of the Grain Issues Committee and a member of the Resolutions Committee.
Black says one of his best attributes is that he is a good listener and he wants to hear from farmers in his District about issues that concern them.
Black and his wife, Barb, have two married daughters – Vicky and Brent farm near Goderich, Ontario and Heather and J. C. live and work in Alberta. When not busy with farm work or serving on committees, Black enjoys family time, hunting, and fishing. The Blacks also enjoys travelling – Australia and New Zealand are on their bucket list, as are regular trips west to visit their daughter.
District 9 – Josh Boersen
Josh Boersen is the director for District 9 (Perth). He took on the role of director in 2019 after serving as a delegate in 2018. Boersen has an interest in government policy and has taken an active role with Grain Farmers of Ontario to help alleviate the challenges grain farmers are facing and help to promote the good work of the grain industry. He currently serves as the executive member of the Board of Directors and is also a member of the BRM/Safety Nets, Health & Wellness, March Classic, and Resolutions Committees.
Boersen is the third generation working on the family farm, Bradi Farms, located just north of Stratford. He and his father grow corn, soybeans, wheat, and small edible beans, raise broiler chickens, as well as some custom work for neighbouring farmers. Boersen is now also a director of the local Perth Soil and Crop Improvement Association. He believes better soil produces better crops and leads to better overall nutrient management. His father and he are striving to improve the soil health in their fields to ensure the longevity of their farm.
Boersen trained as a mechanical engineering technologist at Fanshawe College and briefly worked off-farm after graduating. He uses this background to build and modify equipment they can use on their farm as well as on projects for other farmers.
Boersen and his wife, Erin, have three children, Abigail, Jack, and Oliver. When not busy farming, he enjoys building with advanced LEGO sets.
He can be found on Twitter @JoshBoersen
District 10 – Henry Van Ankum
Henry Van Ankum is the director for Grain Farmers of Ontario District 10 (Grey, Bruce, Wellington). He has served as director since the amalgamation of the legacy organizations in 2010 and served as chair of the Board of Directors from 2012 to 2015 (fulfilling the maximum three-year term).
Van Ankum farms 1,200 acres of corn, soybeans, and wheat near Alma. He started farming in 1989 upon graduation from the University of Guelph with an associate diploma in agriculture.
Van Ankum serves as a member of the Research and Innovation Committee and is the chair of the Finance and Audit Committee.
Van Ankum has also been actively involved in numerous grain farming issues including the risk management program, plant breeder’s rights, and pollinator protection. He has regularly met with provincial and federal politicians to discuss how government policy is affecting farmers.
When not on the farm or in the Grain Farmers of Ontario boardroom, Van Ankum enjoys spending time with his family and watching sports. He and his wife, Susan, have four children, Holly, Jamie, Zach, and Alex.
District 11 – Leo Blydorp
Leo Blydorp is the director for District 11 (Dufferin, Simcoe, Halton, Peel, York). He was elected to serve in this role in 2021. In his role on the Board of Directors, Blydorp is a member of the Resolutions, Research and Innovation, and March Classic Committees.
Blydorp farms 1,300 acres in Dufferin County with his oldest son Jonathon. They grow corn, oats, soybeans, winter wheat, white beans, and canola, using minimal till and conservation tillage as much as they can. He also uses cover crops, such as red clover and cereal rye, and includes hay in their rotation. Blydorp’s fields are used for corn and soybean performance trial plots for the Ontario Corn Committee, the Ontario Soybean and Canola Committee, and seed companies.
Blydorp completed a diploma in agriculture from Ridgetown College, a degree in agriculture from the University of Guelph and also has a masters in divinity from Wilfrid Laurier University. Blydorp bought his first farm in 1995. Prior to farming full time, Blydorp worked for Bayer for 25 years in technical services, product development, and product management. He has served on the federal government’s National Program Advisory Committee for Agriculture, is a policy advisor with his local council, and is an advocate for agriculture with his local MP and MPP. He believes in creating a level playing field for Ontario farmers within the global market. Blydorp is actively involved with the Dufferin Federation of Agriculture and the local Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association. Blydorp and his wife, Alice, have five children and six grandchildren. When he has a few spare moments in the summer months, Blydorp likes to cycle, canoe, and kayak; in the winter, he enjoys cross country skiing. He has an interest in theology and word and deed ministry, serves in grief ministry, and attends Compass Community Church.
District 12 – Jeff Harrison
Jeff Harrison is the director for District 12 (Durham, Northumberland, Kawartha, Peterborough, Hastings). He farms in the rural area of the City of Quinte West which is an amalgamated municipality in between the counties of Northumberland and Hastings.
Harrison has been a delegate since the inception of Grain Farmers of Ontario and served as the district chairman for three years before being elected as director. He currently serves as the vice chair of the Board of Directors. Harrison is an active member of several board committees, including Finance and Audit, Communications, Grain Issues, and BRM/Safety Nets.
Harrison graduated from the University of Guelph in 1995 with an honours bachelor of commerce degree in agricultural business. He is a Syngenta/Ivey School of Leadership program graduate, and American Soybean Association Young Leader program graduate, and sits on the executive of the Barley Council of Canada. Harrison is passionate about agriculture and the best interests of farmers.
Harrison and his family farm corn, soybeans, and wheat. He enjoys providing for the needs of local farmers through his custom farming and on-farm seed dealership.
When not busy on the farm, Harrison enjoys spending time with his wife Janie and their four children, Michael, Rachel, Brian, and Charlie. Harrison is very proud of his farm family and gets great joy out of watching his children grow up on the farm while instilling in them his same passion for agriculture.
He can be found on Twitter @feedn4kids.
District 13 – Lloyd Crowe
Lloyd Crowe is the director for District 13 (Prince Edward, Lennox, Addington, Frontenac, Lanark, Leeds, Grenville, Renfrew, Ottawa). He was elected to this position in January 2015 after serving as a delegate and district chair for five years. He is excited to lead a great group of active, young delegates and meet the challenge of representing farmers across such a large and diverse geographic region.
Crowe is a member of Grain Farmers of Ontario’s Wheat Marketing, Market Development, and Grain Issues Committees.
Faith and family are the cornerstones of farm-life for Crowe who feels he has received many blessings. He is the 10th generation to work the family farm in Picton (Reynolds Farms Inc.) which he co-owns with his Uncle. Together they grow corn, soybeans, and wheat on several farms in Prince Edward County. They also harvest peas and lima beans for an Ingersol frozen food plant, after planting is done and into the fall.
Crowe and his wife, Dorothy, have four children and 20 grandchildren. Crowe is an active member of the Emmanuel Baptist Church community in Bloomfield and teaches a Bible study. Even though he prefers the home-life, he occasionally indulges Dorothy’s passion for travel.
District 14 – Markus Haerle
Markus Haerle is the director for District 14 (Prescott, Russell, Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry). Haerle has been a director since 2010 and served as chair of the Board of Directors from 2018 – 2021 (fulfilling the maximum three-year term). He is currently a member of the Wheat Marketing and Government Relations Committees and is the chair of the BRM/Safety Nets Committee.
Haerle sees our organization as the voice of farmers; he feels Grain Farmers of Ontario is there every day to do the work that farmers don’t necessarily have the time to do themselves. Lobbying is one focus that Haerle feels very strongly about. He believes that if the government supports farmers it helps the industry as a whole. Another focus is public outreach – District 14 delegates built and run a fair and event trailer to help educate the public about grain farming and agriculture in general. Haerle believes his success as a director can be attributed to the support he receives from his district delegates and the farmer-members they represent.
Haerle and his wife, Roxane, farm more than 2,000 acres of corn, soybeans, and wheat near St. Isidore. They also have 20,000 laying hens. When not in the field, Haerle can be found in the farm shop as he enjoys welding and creating or altering his own farm implements and machinery.
The Haerles have four children – Sabrina, Kassandra, Mathew, and Christopher Robin. They are pleased to see the farming tradition being carried on by their sons who now work the farm with them.
Haerle can be found on Twitter @marhaerle.
District 15 – Chuck Amyot
Chuck Amyot was elected as the director for District 15 (Northern Ontario) in January 2017. His grain farm in New Liskeard includes a rotation of cereals, beans, oilseeds, and pulses. Amyot says his keen interest in agronomy and financial markets make the challenges of higher yields and crop marketing the most interesting aspect of the farm business. With a strong focus on sustainable and environmentally friendly practices, Amyot always looks for ways to be innovative and on the forefront of technology, with a progressive and forward-thinking approach.
Amyot attended Grain Farmers of Ontario’s Grains in Action program in 2014 which prompted him to get involved with our organization. He views his involvement with Grain Farmers of Ontario as a way to deal with the important issues related to agriculture both locally and provincially. Northern Ontarians face different challenges than their southern counterparts, such as transportation, weather, marketing, and environment. With millions of acres of potential undeveloped prime agricultural land, Amyot is committed to ensure that the North is very much a part of discussions and not forgotten.
Amyot serves as the chair of the Research and Innovation Committee and is a member of the Grain Issues and Finance and Audit Committees.
Amyot is also involved with multiple local agriculture organizations, including the Temiskaming Crop Coalition and the West Nipissing East Sudbury Agricultural Support Projects.
Amyot grew up on a small farm in eastern Ontario. He moved to the North in 2011 with his wife, Vicky, where they are raising their son and pride and joy Isaac. When he gets away from the farm, Amyot enjoys spending time with friends and family around a campfire, never far from a body of water and a trusty canoe, and heading out into the Northern Ontario bush to hunt and fish. Amyot is a scholar, but his best lessons came from the school of hard knocks where he earned himself a workingman’s PhD.
He can be found on Twitter @Boreal_Farms.
|Name & Email||Phone|
|Brendan Byrne||(519) 991-4027|
|Marc Rivest||(519) 999-3207|
|Charles McLean||(519) 727-6316|
|Clayton Armstrong||(519) 728-9025|
|Maurice Chauvin||(519) 919-5875|
|Grace Mullen||(519) 980-6321|
|Marguerite Guilbeault||(519) 996-4062|
|Josh Mailloux||(519) 791-1805|
|Name & Email||Phone|
|Scott Persall||(519) 410-1781|
|Bruce Court||(519) 521-5929|
|Richard Paton||(519) 762-5004|
|Ann Vermeersch||(519) 550-4175|
|Andy Pasztor||(519) 403-8680|
|Allen Taylor||(519) 631-9047|
|Don Ciparis||(519) 785-0001|
|Michael Pasztor||(226) 972-2730|
|Name & Email||Phone|
|Kevin Armstrong||(519) 424-9660|
|John McRoberts||(519) 469-9782|
|Mark Zilke||(519) 475-6074|
|Jeff Hunsberger||(519) 577-2849|
|Gerard Pynenburg||(519) 532-5369|
|Derek Vanderspek||(519) 617-0209|
|Matt Langford||(519) 281-0507|
|Ed Crawford||(519) 536-1567|
|Name & Email||Phone|
|Josh Boersen||(519) 274-4076|
|John Wiles||(519) 870-3367|
|Kaye McLagan||(519) 957-2767|
|Sharon Vogels||(519) 272-5158|
|Brian Barker||(519) 521-0276|
|Matt Drummond||(519) 301-3836|
|Bill Denham||(519) 229-6430|
|Kyle Martin||(519) 291-0280|
|Name & Email||Phone|
|Leo Blydorp||(519) 939-1113|
|Colin Elliott||(705) 322-2587|
|Paul Maurice||(705) 427-3126|
|Tom Dobson||(905) 833-8472|
|Charlie Tilt||(905) 854-2713|
|Dave Ritchie||(705) 534-4017|
|Kristen Carberry||(226) 343-1344|
|Rob Wright||(705) 716-4515|
|Steve Kell||(705) 834-8171|
|Name & Email||Phone|
|Jeff Harrison||(613) 847-1232|
|Travis Greydanus||(905) 269-5677|
|Marc Curtin||(705) 344-1423|
|Dale Mountjoy||(905) 261-1776|
|Dale Ketcheson||(613) 827-6983|
|Joe Hickson||(705) 878-3012|
|Rueben DeJong||(905) 207-8530|
|Justin Bell||(519) 365-8505|
|Name & Email||Phone|
|Lloyd Crowe||(613) 813-0842|
|Jennifer Doelman||(613) 570-0677|
|Darcy Smith||(613) 312-0818|
|Ian McGregor||(613) 432-1748|
|Jason Pyke||(613) 561-0389|
|Ross Hawkins||(613) 359-5833|
|Andrew Dawson||(613) 390-1197|
|Tim Crombach||(613) 572-4924|