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Appointee Biographies

Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario


Dr. Hepworth is now retired, after serving for over 16 years as President and CEO of CropLife Canada, the trade association representing developers, manufacturers and distributors of plant science innovations for use in agriculture, urban and public health settings. Dr. Hepworth is a member of the board of Input Capital Corp; and, a director and Chair of the board of Canterra Farmland Holdings LP. He has served on the Canadian Council of Academies Expert Panel on Sustainable Management of water in the Agriculture Landscapes of Canada. He has served as a member and Chair of the board of Genome Canada; as a director and Chair of the Global Institute for Food Security; as a member of the board of CARE Canada; a member of the Scientific Advisory and Governance Committees of the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund; a member of the Advisory Board of the National Research Council of Canada, Plant Biotechnology Institute; the Canadian Agri-Food Research Council; and the federal government’s Pest Management, and National Biotechnology Advisory Committees. A graduate of Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan (1971), Dr. Hepworth was a veterinarian in Alberta and Saskatchewan until 1982, when he was elected to Saskatchewan’s Legislative Assembly. He subsequently served nine years in Cabinet, during which he was minister of Agriculture, Education, Finance, and Energy and Mines. From 1992 to 1997, he held several executive positions with the Canadian Agra group of companies specializing in agri-food/feed production, processing and marketing. In 2012 he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and in 2014 was inducted into the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame.


Rose Marie Gage is Chief Executive Officer of Ag Energy Co-operative Ltd. She is also a former Chief Marketing Officer of Schneider Electric Canada and former Chief Marketing Officer/Vice-President of Marketing at GE Capital Solutions, Commercial Distribution Finance Canada. Ms. Gage's community involvement includes serving as Chair of Agri-Technology Commercialization Centre, Chair of Guelph Energy Co-operative Inc. and Vice-Chair of Women-In-Leadership Foundation. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree from McMaster University.


David McInnes a Principal, DMci Strategies: a consultancy providing strategic advice to and facilitating opportunities for Canada's agri-food sector in an ever-changing global food system. As part of this role, he is the Coordinator, National Index on Agri-Food Performance, a coalition of stakeholders focused on developing a national benchmark on issues that matter to society and the marketplace; and a Senior Fellow, Canada 2020 (an Ottawa-based think tank) which led a national dialogue on leveraging Canada’s trusted food brand. Current advisor: Canadian Agri-Food Sustainability Initiative; McGill University’s Institute for Global Food Security; Nova Scotia Business Inc. Former positions: President & CEO, Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute; Vice President, International, MDS Nordion (a global medical isotope supplier); Canadian Bankers Association; Scotiabank. He is a former Trustee of London (UK)-based WaterAid International. Graduate: London School of Economics; Dalhousie University.


Nevin McDougall is an accomplished executive having over 25 years of agribusiness experience with innovative and industry leading companies including BASF Corporation, Cyanamid Crop Protection and La Coop federee. He is a graduate of the University of Guelph with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Science and master’s degree in Agricultural Economics and Business. Mr. McDougall is currently President & Chief Commercial Officer for A&L Canada Laboratories Inc., the largest privately held agri-food analytical laboratory in Canada. Nevin also acts as board member for Bioenterprise Corporation, a not for profit accelerator for the Canadian food and agri-tech sector; and as supervisory board member for K+S Aktiengesellschaft, one of the world’s largest producers of potash-based fertilizers. Leading agri-businesses in North American and International markets, Mr. McDougall provides a wide range of expertise in business management, research & development, and corporate governance.


David Jenkins is the owner of Haldrey Farms. His community involvement includes serving as a Chair (2005) and Vice Chair (2002-2004) for the Toronto Stockyards Land Development Board.


Ken Wall grew up on his family's Norfolk County fruit and vegetable farm. He graduated from Ridgetown College in 1980 and later completed a law degree from UBC. Ken practised Corporate and Commercial Law in Vancouver until returning east in 1994 where he re-joined the family farming operation, Sandy Shore Farms Ltd. Ken is the former chair of the Asparagus Farmers of Ontario and is currently the president of Fox Seeds Inc.


Dr. Youbin Zheng is an environmental horticulture professor at the University of Guelph. He joined the University of Guelph in 2000 and has more than 20 years research experience in the field of controlled environment (e.g., greenhouse and other indoor facilities) plant production, such as cannabis and other medicinal, nutraceutical plant, vegetable and ornamental plant productions. His teaching and research have been focusing on serving the greenhouse, nursery, indoor farming, green infrastructure (e.g., green roof) industries. He has strong connections with this industry sectors and always passionate at helping to improve these sectors’ performances. He has more than 130 scientific publications. For more details, please visit


Jennifer Doelman is the owner/operator of Bonnechere Haven Farms, and a former Provincial Director (Zone 8) for Ontario Federation of Agriculture. Her community involvement includes serving as a blood donor for Canadian Blood Services, and a former Director of Renfrew County Soil & Crop Improvement Association.


Denise Hockaday is a Climate Business Director in Canada for The Climate Corporation- Div of Bayer Crop Science. Her community involvement includes formerly serving as a board member for Community CRC.


Evert Veldhuizen is a graduate of Ridgetown College and farms, together with his brother, in Dairy, Hogs, Custom Work, Crop Input Supplies and Cash Crops (Corn, Soy, Wheat and Edibles) in Oxford Centre. He has served on the executive of the Norwich Township Chamber of Commerce and currently serves on the Agriculture Committee for the Chamber. He has been a volunteer firefighter for 13 years and is past president of Oxford Soil and Crop Improvement Association. He has completed C-Team (Canadian Total Excellence in Agriculture Management) and has served on the Progressive Dairy Operators’ Association Board.


Dr. Gordon Surgeoner, of Guelph, served for 28 years as a faculty member of Ontario Agriculture College, University of Guelph. He recently retired as President of Ontario Agri-Food Technologies, a not-for-profit consortium of grower associations, universities, private sector companies and government agencies. He has served on numerous federal and provincial advisory committees.