Keith Kuhl – Winkler, Manitoba

Keith Kuhl, a Winkler, Manitoba potato farmer, is the current President of the Canadian Horticultural Council. Kuhl represents the Prairies region on the Board of Directors and was first elected as president during the 91st Annual General Meeting in 2013.  He owns and operates Southern Potato with his two sons and is also chair of the Board of Directors at Peak of the Market. Kuhl served as Chair of the Potato Committee and Potato Council for nearly nine years, and is currently Vice-Chair of the Horticultural Value Chain Roundtable. Keith’s father, John, was actively involved with the CHC for many years and served as president in 1987.

Alvin Keenan – Souris, Prince Edward Island

Alvin Keenan is the First Vice-President and represents the Atlantic region on behalf of PEI Potato Dealers Association.  He is a past director of PEI Potato Producers, PEI Potato Board, Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) and is Past President of PEI Federation of Agriculture. Alvin and his brother, Ray, grow, pack and market fresh potatoes from their company Rollo Bay Holdings Ltd, out of Souris, PEI where they produce approximately 800 tractor-trailer loads of fresh potatoes, (40,000,000) lbs. for the retail and food service markets in Canada and the US, as well as in Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Alvin grew up on a potato farm in Woodstock, New Brunswick with three sisters and four brothers.  In 1975, he, and his wife, Nancy, and their three children Jennifer, Patrick, and Angela moved to Prince Edward Island.

Peter Swetnam – Centreville, Nova Scotia

Peter is the delegate for Horticulture Nova Scotia to the Canadian Horticultural Council and represents the Atlantic Region on the Board.  He is a member of the CHC’s Crop Protection Advisory Committee, the Business Risk Management and Vegetable working groups.

Peter and his brother, John, operate a second generation family farm, Dominion Produce, in Sheffield Mills, Nova Scotia.  It was started by their father and mother, William and Mary Swetnam and has been in business for over 50 years.  The farm consists of broiler chicken production and grain crops (corn, soybeans, and wheat). There are 700 acres in rotation, of which 140 acres are fresh market onions which are grown and packed in cooperation with another local farm. These onions are marketed all over the Atlantic Provinces and exported when necessary.

Jocelyn St-Denis, Sherrington, Québec

Jocelyn is a Chartered Professional Accountant, and started in agriculture in 2000 when he joined Cams Inc, a grower and packer of carrots and onions in Sherrington, Quebec. In 2010, he joined Vegpro International, one of the largest vegetable producer in Canada. Specialized in the washing and packaging of baby lettuces, they also sell a wide range of vegetables grown on their own land in Quebec and Florida.

He is a director of the Quebec vegetable growers association (APMQ) since 2008, and is now their Secretary Treasurer. “I am happy to represent the province of Quebec in CHC and to work to enhance the condition of the horticulture sector in Canada”.

Stéphanie Levasseur, Frelighsburg, Québec

Stéphanie Levasseur and her husband David Testu run their family orchard, Au cœur de la pomme in Frelighsburg, Québec.  Stéphanie is currently a Board Member of Union des producteurs agricoles and is President of their affiliate, Les Producteurs de pommes du Québec. Stéphanie is also the daughter of past CHC President, Steve Levasseur.

Adrian Huisman – St Catharines, Ontario

Adrian retired in 2012 after 47 years in the Ontario tender fruit industry, 15 of which were as the manager of the Ontario Tender Fruit Producers’ Marketing Board.  Adrian now represents the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (OFVGA) as one of the Ontario directors on the CHC since 2012.  Adrian chaired the Oversight Committee in 2013-14, is the current Chair of the Budget Committee and is a member of the Business Risk Management Working Group.  Adrian and his wife, Shirley, live in St. Catharines.

Brian Gilroy – Meaford, Ontario

Brian Gilroy is CHC’s Second Vice President, the Chair of the Apple Committee and also Chair of the Apple Working Group. Brian represents CHC’s Ontario region as a member of the Georgian Bay Fruit Growers, which he has been part of since 1990.  He serves as Chair of the Property Section of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association where he had a one-year term as Vice Chair of the organization before serving as Chair from 2010 to 2012. He is also past Chair of the Ontario Apple Growers.  Brian owns Nighthawk Orchards near Meaford, Ontario where he has farmed since 1987.

Ernie Van Boom – Sturgeon, Alberta

Ernie Van Boom lives on a seed potato farm just northeast of Edmonton, where, along with his brother-in-law, they grow about 550 acres of clean and vigorous Alberta seed.  Their sons have taken over the grain and oilseed part of the operation, farming about 6000 acres. Over the past 35 years, Ernie has been active as a director and former chairman of the Potato Growers of Alberta as well as serving on the executive board of the Edmonton Potato Growers Ltd.

Ernie has five adult children (four daughters and one son) and he and his wife, Helen, are blessed and kept occupied with 13 grandchildren.  When not working on the farm he enjoys strapping on the goalie pads and playing hockey on a regular basis, and is also quite active in leadership work in his church. “I’m honoured to be a part of the CHC and am always impressed with the gifts and skill sets that so many people bring to the table in this organization.”

Fred Steele – Kelowna, British Columbia

Fred Steele represents CHC’s British Columbia region on behalf of the British Columbia Fruit Growers’ Association (BCFGA) and in additional to serving on the Board of Directors he is a member of Apple Working Group.  He has been part of the BCFGA since 2007 and has served as President since 2014.  He is also on the Interior Horticulture Council, the BC Agriculture Council Board of Directors and the BC Agriculture Minister’s Agri-Food Advisory Committee.

When not helping guide the future of BC’s apple industry, Fred operates an apple orchard in Kelowna, BC.  He and his wife, Joan, have 24 grandchildren.

Bar Hayre – Abbotsford, British Columbia

Bar Hayre has been on the CHC Board of Directors since 2012 and is a delegate from BC Blueberry Council nominated to represent the BC region.  He operates a 40-acre blueberry farm in Abbotsford, and brings experience both in primary production and food processing to the board. He is a past chair of the BC Raspberry Industry Development Council and his off-farm career includes a position as a Senior Relationships Manager with Farm Credit Canada.

Bar operates Mirage Blueberries with his wife, Aman, their two daughters, Mira and Genna, and his parents, Gurmit and Manjit, who have been farming in Abbotsford since the early 1970s.