The Gleaner

Local UPA elects new president

The Haut-Saint-Laurent syndicate of the Union des Producteurs Agricoles has selected a new president, following the retirement of long-time president and director Michel Hébert. Hinchinbrooke producer Éric Leboeuf will step into this role after he was formally elected during a gathering for the semi-annual general assembly on February 15 at Le Mangeoir in Saint-Anicet.

All the producers on the 20-member board of directors up for election retained their roles, while Guillaume Asselin, the co-owner of Le Mangeoir, was elected to replace incoming president Éric Leboeuf as the administrator representing direct-to-market farms. The election was presided over by Jérémie Letellier, the president of the UPA federation for the Montérégie, who later spoke about the many issues facing agricultural producers across the region.

At the conclusion of the election period, Hébert received a standing ovation for his dedication to the union which has spanned over 45 years. Vice-president Josiane Carrière spoke about his impact on local agriculture through the local union as well as his work at the provincial level. She also noted the achievements of the local syndicate under his presidency, which has been recognized for its bilingual status, as well as the number of women who sit on the board of directors, and numerous innovative initiatives that have taken place since the Saint-Anicet, Ormstown, and Chateauguay Valley syndicates officially merged in 2012.

Over 40 producers participated in the general assembly, which saw several resolutions pass on subjects relating to the Commission de protection du territoire Agricole du Québec (CPTAQ), the Financière Agricole du Québec and its programs for young farmers and successors, and the amount of administration and paperwork imposed on farmers by the Ministry of Agriculture (MAPAQ). Discussions also took place about fragmentation or dismantling of agricultural land, and the availability of mental health resources for anglophone farmers.


Hinchinbrooke producer Éric Leboeuf was elected as president of the Haut Saint Laurent UPA syndicate on February 15 He will replace long time president Michel Hebert who is retiring PHOTO Sarah Rennie


Producers were also informed of the work being done by the local syndicate. Following a resolution passed last February regarding the increase in backfill operations in the Haut-Saint-Laurent, the local UPA’s agri-environment committee has been very active on this file. Correspondences were sent to producers to clarify permitted practices, meetings took place with the regional council of mayors to request better supervision of backfill work at the municipal level, and directors consulted on an MRC interim control bylaw to ensure compatibility between regional land use planning and the regional wetland and water management plan.

Local directors have also consulted on several other key issues. For example, the regional federation recently worked with the union before transmitting its opinion to the CPTAQ about the installation of an asphalt factory on Covey Hill in Havelock. Members also consulted with Huntingdon MNA Carole Mallette on the drafting of a white paper about farming in the Haut-Saint-Laurent and the financial situation facing agricultural producers. Finally, the union demanded the MRC hold more regular meetings of the waterways and agricultural advisory committees to better address issues specific to agricultural businesses.

Along with Letellier, the keynote speaker for the gathering was Ian Ward, who represents other plant producers and sits on the agri-environment committee. He spoke about a zero-carbon farming future and adapting agricultural practices to climate change. UPA president Martin Caron then spoke about union priorities at the provincial level before answering questions from producers in attendance.

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