Business & Policy
OSCIA names new executive director
By Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association
As of Jan. 16, 2023, Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) will have a new executive director. Harry Stoddart brings a unique combination of leadership experience in not-for-profit and public agencies along with 25 years of direct experience in Ontario agriculture.
Andrew Graham, the current executive director, plans to retire in June 2023 after a celebrated career that will have spanned 43 years, starting at Upper Thames River Conservation Authority in London, and then the Oxford County office of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) in Woodstock. In 1990, Graham’s career in soil and water conservation shifted to OSCIA, where he worked for many years, primarily in the design and delivery of numerous stewardship education and incentive programs and special projects for the farm community. He has served in the role of executive director for the last eight years. Graham will take on the role of executive officer in January and provide support for the transition to Stoddart.
Stoddart brings considerable consulting experience in agri-food business strategy and policy design, and has proven expertise in leading teams of employees and volunteers. He graduated in 1992 with a B.Sc. in agricultural economics from the University of Guelph and completed his master’s in economics at Guelph in 1995. Before joining the Lindsay Agricultural Society as general manager seven years ago, Stoddart and a business partner operated a 2,000-acre family farm that was successfully transitioned to certified organic. While farming, he took part in Environmental Farm Planning and conducted on-farm trials, including building and field-testing the first cover crop roller in Ontario in 2005 to terminate cereal rye while no-tilling soybeans. He authored a book on his farming experiences titled, “Real Dirt: An ex-industrial farmer’s guide to sustainable farming.”
“With his tremendous experience and leadership capabilities, we think Harry is a perfect fit alongside our skilled team of expert staff and dedicated volunteers,” said Warren Schneckenburger, OSCIA president, in a press release.
“I have deep respect for the reputation that OSCIA has earned through its many accomplishments in stewardship education, cost-share programming and applied research,” Stoddart said in a press release. “I am honoured to be joining an organization that continues to play an integral role in leading efforts to tackle environmental and sustainability challenges in Ontario agriculture.”
OSCIA is a not-for-profit grassroots farm organization with a network of more than 50 county and district associations, encompassed by 11 designated regions. The diverse membership of more than 4,000 has a significant presence in all agricultural areas of the province and across all major sectors. They are farmers actively seeking, testing and adopting optimal farm production and stewardship practices. The organization focuses squarely on producer education and has been delivering stewardship programming to Ontario producers for 35 years, with soil health as its top research priority.