The Ontario Apple Growers (OAG) has elected a new chair and vice chair to lead the organization.
Brian Rideout has been named chair, taking over for outgoing chair Cathy McKay. Meanwhile, Chris Hedges was named the OAG vice chair.
Together with his wife and her family, Rideout farms at Manitree Fruit Farms in Chatham-Kent, where they cultivate apples as well as peaches, nectarines, pears, cherries, strawberries, tomatoes, melons, and squash. His children represent the fifth generation of the family farm.
He has been a director on the OAG board since 2014. He has also chaired the OAG’s Young Apple Grower group for the first time and is a research committee member. He was chosen in 2022 to serve as the Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Growers’ Association’s chair of the Crop Protection Section.
Meanwhile, Hedges farms with his wife in Norfolk County. He is a first-generation apple grower. In addition, he is the owner and manager of Ontario Orchard Supply, which supplies apple growers with orchard supplies. He was a director of OAG from 2005 to 2012 and will rejoin the board in 2020.
Hedges has participated actively as a director in the Fruit & Vegetable Growers of Canada Apple Working Group, the Ontario Agricultural Commodity Council, and the OAG Risk Management Committee. He spent several years serving on the International Fruit Tree Association board.
McKay will continue to serve on the OAG board as a director; other OAG directors include Jeremy Veens, Joe Van De Gevel, Brian Gilroy, Kyle Ardiel, Robert Shuh, Kara Pate and Manus Boonzaier.