NORTH GOWER ó Eastern Ontarioís own John Newman of North Gower will be inducted into the Ontario Agriculture Hall of Fame this June.
Newman, who co-owns Jo-mar Farms with his, wife Marion, has been involved in the cattle industry for several decades after graduating from Kemptville College of Agriculture at just 17 years old. He purchased his farm in 1966 and started with finishing beef. Later on, the farm became a cow-calf operation. The Newmans quickly became known for excellent pasture management, record keeping and the hybrid vigour of their herd. Jo-mar Farms is used as a teaching tool for students of both the Kemptville and Guelph campuses of the University of Guelph. The farm was also recognized for top stocker quality by Master Feeds and has received an OSCIA certificate for soil management and crop production.
During his time as a farmer, Newman was also a major in the Armed Forces and is the recipient of the Order of Military Merit.
Newmanís management and communication skills became a great asset to the larger beef industry. For 12 years he served on the Ontario Cattlemenís Association Board. During his tenure, he was integral to the process of restructuring the organization and implementing a strategic plan designed to make the OCA a driver for excellence, sustainability and profitability.
When the BSE crisis threatened the future of Canadian beef in 2003, Newman became a spokesperson for Ontario beef. It was through his leadership as Chair of the Beef Information Centre that Canadian consumers confidence in beef was not only maintained but proven as Canada was the only country whose beef consumption increased during this time.
Newman is well know and respected as an effective spokesperson on behalf of beef producers not only across Ontario, but throughout Canada. He was a founding director of the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency, the agency that developed a cattle identification program. Newman spoke to groups across Canada to ensure they understood the importance of identification to animal health and market access, as some producers were resisting the ear tag identification.
Newman was on the board of the BIC and became Chair in 2005. That same year, he was an executive member of the Canadian Cattlemenís Association and a lead spokesperson for the Canadian Beef Industry. In 2009, Newman was appointed to the Canada Beef Working Group by CCA. The group was established to examine the feasibility of consolidating the three beef marketing and promotion organizations. In 2011, the hard work by the group saw the amalgamation of the BIC, the Canadian Beef Export Federation and the National Checkoff Agency into Beef Canada Inc. Beef Canada Inc. is responsible for national beef marketing, promotion and research.
Newman and his wife Marion have raised five daughters and are grandparents to 11 and great-grandparents to two. They are currently retired from active farming and live near the beef operation that they ran for decades.
Newman said this honour is the result of a lot of people across Canada who supported and mentored him for over thirty years.
"Itís partly theirs," he said, "Especially for my own family and my wife, who worked beside me and worked on the farm. Itís a great honour, no question about it."