Working with the Ontario Berry Growers Association

By Pam Fisher, Berry Specialist, OMAFRA

As berry crop specialist for OMAFRA I get many opportunities. One opportunity I appreciate the most is the chance to work closely with the Ontario Berry Growers Association and their board of directors.

The Ontario Berry Growers Association represents strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, cranberry and other berry growers by funding promotion and research activities. All facets of the berry industry (wholesale, retail, pick-your-own, and roadside market) are represented.

I depend on the Ontario Berry Growers Association and their members to keep me informed of current issues, and to ensure that the information developed by the OMAFRA berry team is available to berry growers across the province.

The OBGA takes on many tasks on behalf of not only its members, but all Ontario growers. For example, the OBGA administers the Ontario Berry Plant Propagation Program, which provides clean-virus tested raspberry and strawberry plants to plant propagators.

The Ontario Berry Growers Association supports research and demonstration, providing administrative and financial support to several research and demonstration projects each year. Recent projects on day-neutral strawberry production and spotted drosophila monitoring have had an immediate positive impact for Ontario berry growers.

When pest management tools are lacking for important pests, the Ontario Berry Growers Association works with OMAFRA to set priorities for minor use registration and address pest management emergencies

Educational opportunities for both new and seasoned growers are provided several times a year by the OBGA. Growers get together twice a year for annual farm tour, and an annual winter meeting. The OBGA provides Publication #360, the Berry Bulletin and other OMAFRA resources to their members free of charge.

A major focus of the Ontario Berry Growers Association is promotion of berries to Ontario consumers. They provide resources to growers, information to berry lovers, and maintain a website with up to date information on when berries are in season and how to find farms pick-your-own and farm markets in your area.

Although membership in the Ontario Berry Growers Association is voluntary, there are approximately 200 grower members representing 80% of the berry crops produced in Ontario. The association is managed by a board of director volunteers and an executive secretary who work very hard on behalf of OBGA members.

If you are a member of the OBGA, you can be proud of your association. If you are not a member, consider joining this active, professional association. The annual meeting and two days of berry programming are February 16-17 in Niagara Falls. For more information on the Ontario Berry Growers Association, visit the website at ontarioberries.com.


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca