Karen Eatwell of Denfield, ON was elected NFU-O President at the Annual General Meeting on March 1 in Peterborough. Other newly elected Council members include Joe Dama of Leamington, Tony Straathof of Westmeath, Bernard Foley of Williamsburg, Emery Huszka of Florence. Katie Ward of Woodlawn will take on the Women’s Advisor role, and Dan Krestchmar of Severn Bridge will be taking over the Youth Advisor role in November. Charlie Nixon of Chesley remains in his role on the Council.
Karen has been an active NFU-O member for 14 years, having joined the National Farmers Union in Ontario because of the organization’s strong values and grassroots policy development. She sees agriculture as more than just a commodity and wants others to see it in the same light. She says, “We provide a voice for all members of the family, including women and youth. It is a true family farm organization.”
Karen has a plan for the coming year stating, “We will address the issues facing our members at all levels of the organization – issues such as Bill C-18, neonicotinoids and pollinator health, and promotion of family farms as an economically viable part of the agricultural scene in rural Ontario. Family farms play an important role in sustaining vibrant rural communities.”
She will work toward strengthening NFU-O connections with urban farmers and encouraging rural youth to become involved in farming as a lifetime career, noting “I am pleased that our membership numbers are on the rise again, and I believe that this will be one of the best years yet for the National Farmers Union in Ontario.”
Karen and her husband, Peter Duenk, farm a total of 270 acres. Eight years ago Karen and Peter diversified their cash crop farm to add naturally raised livestock, including 20 cow/calf to finish Black Angus cattle, heritage pork and poultry.