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OSCIA 2023 Executive Committee

2023 OSCIA President – Steve Sickle

Steve Sickle farms on the rolling hills at the north end of Brant county. The Sickle family grows corn, soybeans, black beans, winter wheat and hay in a no-till system to keep soil in place and to avoid picking countless stones in the field. Recently planting green has been implemented on the farm to further increase soil health. Having 25 beef cows on the farm also helps utilize covers for feed. The cows are grazed for upwards of 10 months, which saves hay costs and machinery start ups.

Steve has been involved in Brant Federation of Agriculture, Brant Beef Farmers and the Ag advisory council for the county. 

Steve has also been involved at the county level of soil and crop for many years and has been at the Golden Horseshoe Soil and Crop for more than a decade.

Steve has been mentored by many soil and crop members over the years to help improve his operation both financially but also environmentally. Steve truly believes the soil is in better shape now than when his father Bill purchased the farm and will be in good shape when and if their children Kara and Ethan take over.

1st Vice President – Phil Oegema

Phil is a cash crop farmer with his father west of St Thomas in Elgin county.  In 2015 the family began transitioning their farm to organic, and now operates a fully certified operation growing corn, soybeans, dry edible beans, and various winter cereals.  While challenging, farming organically has pushed the family into adopting innovative new technology such as camera guided equipment, precision implements, and even using electricity for weed control.  Phil also runs a small organic elevator providing custom services to other organic farmers.  Phil and his wife Rachel have three children aged 4, 8 and 9 who keep them busy with soccer practice, piano lessons, and the occasional trip to the emergency room. 

Phil has been a director in his local soil and crop for the past decade and has ESCIA to thank not only for creating a culture of continuous improvement in Elgin County, but also for meaningful friendships around the shared goal of improving the health of our soil and water.

2nd Vice President – Eleanor Renaud

Eleanor Renaud owns and operates a 1,000-acre fifth generation farm in Leeds County. It was a dairy farm and now she runs a cow/calf operation and grows corn, beans, barley, oats and hay. 

Eleanor has been part of Leeds County Soil and Crop for the last 10 years. She has also been part of the Leeds County Federation of Agriculture Board of Directors since 1988, serving in a number of positions from board member to President. She currently serves as Secretary-Treasurer. 

Eleanor served as a councilor for Elizabethtown-Kitley Township for 25 years and also served on the boards of the Rural Ontario Municipal Association and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario where she had input into the municipal budgets for 19 years. 

Eleanor served on the OFA Board representing Leeds County for many years until 2008, and then served as the Zone director for Leeds, Grenville, Frontenac and Dundas Counties from 2008 – 2017.

Eleanor is proud to now sit on the executive of OSCIA as third vice. As a member of the OSCIA board she represents OSCIA to Farm and Food Care. She also sits on a National Species at Risk committee again representing OSCIA. This committee is very educational from the point that not all Provinces have the same programs as we have in Ontario to protect natural lands as well as agricultural lands. She does not see the same types of BMPs. They could all benefit from an OSCIA type of organization in each province.

3rd Vice President – Andy van Niekerk

Andy’s “farmer-first” attitude in all his dealings and a never-ending curiosity to learn new things gives Andy the edge on trying new things and products.

Andy holds a Bachelor of Science (Agr) from the University of Guelph in 1980 and has been a Professional Agrologist (P.Ag.) since 1990 and a Certified Crop Advisor (CCA-ON) since 1999; most recently passing his 4R Stewardship requirements in 2016.

Andy is also a long time director on the board of the Innovative Farmers Association of Ontario, serving as their research committee chairperson. Serving also on the OSCIA board as Provincial Director for the Georgian Central Region since 2019.

Andy lives and farms with his family in Simcoe County, where he operates his agronomy consulting business from his farm.

OSCIA Past President – Warren Schneckenburger

Warren is a cash crop farmer from Morrisburg in Eastern Ontario. A long-time member of the Dundas SCIA, Warren has participated as a county and regional director for nearly as long as he has been a member.

Warren farms with his wife Christine and his parents, growing corn, soybeans, winter wheat and edible beans. The farm has spent the last decade implementing soil conservation strategies into the operation as it transitions from conventional tillage to no-till soybeans. These changes have been well rooted in the mission of the OSCIA and has been the main motivation of participating on the provincial board.

2023 Honourary President for OSCIA – Ian McDonald

Ian was the Applied Research Coordinator for the Field Crop Unit of OMAFRA between 2000 and 2015 and is currently the Crop Innovation Specialist. Ian continues to be involved in the coordination of research and demonstration activities within the OMAFRA Agriculture Development Branch Field Crops unit and is involved in scientific review, protocol and project development, data analysis, and reporting among other functions within ADB. In his innovation role he works with colleagues and partner organizations to find technology tools to enhance producer and advisor knowledge and access to information through research projects, collaborations with academic and farmer partners, online resources, and other outreach opportunities.   More recently, Ian has been exploring the integration of Ag Robotics into cropping systems to enhance awareness and management of precision agriculture and soil compaction.

Ian has a special interest in sustainable agriculture production systems and having the farm sector meet more of society’s needs and expectations.

Ian has long been a strong advocate for Soil and Crop and has worked closely with OSCIA for many years, including the OSCIA demonstration site at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show. Ian also sat on the OSCIA Research Committee for many years, helping guide research priorities for on-farm grassroots applied research. When OSCIA purchased the Mobile Soil Technology Suite (known as the MSTS), it was an obvious fit to partner with Ian and utilize his vast expertise, as part of the MSTS Compaction team.