Registration now open for the Healthy Calf Conference

Practical and simple on-farm management changes to improve the health and welfare of dairy and veal calves are the focus of this year’s Healthy Calf Conference.

“We asked calf raisers what some of the  biggest issues are that they’re facing and they told us that feeding, health and housing top the list – so we’ve got a great line  up of speakers this year that will address all of those topics,” says Kendra Keels, Director of Industry Development with Veal Farmers of Ontario.

Dr. Michael Ballou, a professor of nutritional immunology at Texas Tech University, headlines the program with a presentation on the art of calf nutrition and how feeding calves a proper diet can help minimize or prevent common problems like respiratory disease and scours.

A new addition to the Healthy Calf Conference is a calf care panel. Ontario calf managers Jayne Dietrich of Character Dairy Genetics, Laura Shuurman with Joe Loewith & Sons Ltd, and Emily De Benetti of Oxford Cattle Company will offer virtual tours of their operations and share their tips for reducing calf mortality and raising high production animals.

The University of Guelph’s Dr. Trevor DeVries will address the why, when and how of group housing calves, and Dr. Dave Renaud, a consultant and University of Guelph assistant professor, will discuss how managing calf health and working with a herd veterinarian can ensure future profitability of a dairy herd.

“Our program is designed to offer relevant, easy to use information that conference participants can take back to implement on-farm right away,” says Keels.

The Healthy Calf Conference, which also includes a calf-focused trade show, will be held on November 27 at the Best Western Plus Arden Park Hotel in Stratford, and again on November 29 at the Maxville & District Sports Complex in Maxville, from 8:30 am until 3:00 pm. Cost is $90 per person until November 1 and $100 after that date. A student rate of $40 is also available. A hot buffet lunch, proceedings, and calf care resources are included. The first 90 producers to register also receive a free 3.7L Caf-Tel Bottle – perfectly sized for colostrum feeding!


Click here to see the speaker lineup

Click here for sponsorship information.

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Ontario Goat departs from Livestock Alliance

VFO and OG partnership wraps up by year-end

GUELPH, ON– Veal Farmers of Ontario (VFO) and Ontario Goat (OG) jointly announced the departure of OG from the Livestock Alliance partnership, and as a result, the dissolution of the Livestock Alliance, by the end of 2018.

“OG as an organization will still exist but our capacity to function as a member of the Livestock Alliance will wind up and be completed by the end of 2018,” stated Dirk Boogerd, OG President.  “It is important to OG that we are able to meet our responsibilities as part of the partnership that has shown us so much support and value over the years, and at this time, we are unable to do that.”

Despite the best efforts of OG to try and bring the Ontario goat industry together with a united voice, the sector remains divided.  With two failed attempts to become a recognized commodity organization that would see the implementation of stable funding, the volunteer board of OG is left with no other choice but to wind up its partnership with VFO.

“While we still firmly believe in the concept of the Livestock Alliance and what it can do for our members, the reality is that in order for it to work effectively, all partners must have stable funding so that costs are shared equitably on a consistent and ongoing basis,” stated Tom Kroesbergen, VFO Chair.

OG entered into the Livestock Alliance partnership in July 2009 with the goal of building organizational capacity so that Ontario’s goat farmers had a representative voice within the industry and with government.  Through the sharing of office space and staff resources, OG was able to leverage funding for a number of important projects, fund new research and facilitate industry development over the past nine years.  “The impact that OG has had on our industry over the past several years is significant.  The lack of producer representation at all levels and work on behalf of all meat, dairy and fibre producers in Ontario will be felt,” stated Boogerd.

Boogerd explains that after the second failed attempt to become organized, OG went out to its members with a flat rate annual membership fee as a result of member feedback.  However, support for this initiative has been underwhelming and has left OG without the financial resources necessary to continue its partnership with VFO.

“There is no question that Ontario’s goat producers recognize the need for investment in our industry so we can continue to grow, develop, and take advantage of new opportunities, but there is an incompatibility with what we need and how much producers are willing or able to invest to make sure our voice is heard,” explained Boogerd.  “Over the past nine years, OG has become a resource for producers, industry partners, and government.  We have built lasting relationships, but OG does not have the financial resources required to continue responding to their requests for producer input, assistance and support,” he added.

“We have appreciated all of the efforts of the OG Board members and while we are disappointed with the outcome, we respect their decision to depart the partnership on good terms as they assess their current needs and resources.  Moving forward, our dedicated staff will focus solely on a number of key VFO priorities and issues that will benefit the veal industry,” added Kroesbergen.

“The transition will take place over the coming months as we work to resolve some of the joint initiatives and projects between the two organizations,” explained Jennifer Haley, Executive Director.  Haley also explained that some of the Livestock Alliance initiatives will remain as status quo until the end of the year, while other OG specific initiatives have been suspended.  Effective immediately, there are no staff resources being allocated to goat projects or issues.

OG remains a non-profit agricultural organization in good standing recognized under the Agricultural & Horticultural Organizations Act with voluntary  membership and a voluntary board comprised of producers elected by their peers.  “As we work through this transition, we will have a better idea of what the role of OG will be in the future,” stated Boogerd.

Click here to download this news release.

2018 Healthy Calf Conference Sponsorship

Furthering knowledge and education in calf management is a top priority for Veal Farmers of Ontario (VFO). VFO’s core focus on calf care promotes viable dairy, veal, and dairy-beef industries. VFO is once again organizing the Building the Foundation: Dairy and Veal Healthy Calf Conference, the eighth biennial event which marks sixteen years in healthy calf promotion. This year’s agenda boasts an impressive program with some of the most respected experts in the field of calf management. As part of this exciting event, we will once again be hosting the popular Vet Night, an educational and networking opportunity designed exclusively for bovine veterinarians.

Healthy Calf Conference (HCC) and Vet Night bring together the dairy, veal, and dairy-beef industries to discuss some of the challenges in calf raising to find solutions for raising strong, healthy calves. The HCC has a strong following among calf raisers in Ontario, with our last conference in 2016 garnering positive reviews from our 350 attendees. With the excitement already building for this year’s event, the 2018 conference is an event you don’t want to miss. Being involved provides the opportunity to ensure that your company reaches the most progressive and engaged dairy, veal, and dairy-beef producers in Ontario.

HCC will once again be hosted in two locations to reach the maximum number of Ontario producers. This year, HCC is on Tuesday, November 27th, 2018 in Stratford, Ontario and Thursday, November 29th, 2018 in Maxville, Ontario. Each event will run from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm. Vet Night is 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm in Stratford on November 26th, 2018. Title, Platinum, and Gold level sponsors are invited to attend this exclusive evening to network with top bovine veterinarians.

To keep costs feasible for producers, the cost of attending the conference has not increased this year. This ensures that our sponsors are able to reach a large audience. Sponsors are key to the success of HCC and help make the conference a top learning and networking opportunity for calf-raisers. HCC is the premier opportunity to share your company’s innovative calf care solutions with this receptive market.

to reserve your spot. Payment can be made by cheque or credit card. If you have any questions or would like to discuss your company’s participation further, please feel free to contact the office.

Click here to see this year’s sponsorship options

Click here to download a sponsorship contract

Click here to see a draft speaker agenda 

Thank you for your continued support.

Veal Farmers of Ontario

449 Laird Road, Guelph, Ontario N1G 4W1
Tel: 519-824-2942
Fax: 519-824-2534

Finalists revealed in the search for Ontario’s Best Veal Sandwich 2018

Following months of searching, Veal Farmers of Ontario (VFO) is one-step closer to choosing Ontario’s Best Veal Sandwich 2018. This year’s competition has been so intense that four finalists instead of three will compete in the last round of judging on June 23rd at Toronto’s historic St. Lawrence Market.

This year’s finalists are:

–       Nostra Cuccina of Kitchener, ON

–       Kantene of Mississauga, ON

–       Paninoteca of Hamilton, ON

–       Mettawas Station Mediterranean Restaurant of Kingsville, ON

The exclusive event will be judged by comedian and host of the Food Network TV show, You Gotta Eat Here, John Catucci, grilling aficionado and cookbook author, Ted Reader, National Post sports writer Steve Simmons, executive director of Veal Farmers of Ontario, Jennifer Haley and “guest-judge” contest winner Tracy Luker of Hamilton, ON, who won her place at the table in an online contest through!

We wish all the competitors the best of luck!

Nostra Cuccina's entryKantene's submission
Paninoteca's creationMettawas Station's sandwhich

New executive elected for Veal Farmers of Ontario

GUELPH, ON– At a recent meeting of the Veal Farmers of Ontario (VFO) Board of Directors, Tom Kroesbergen Jr. was elected to the position of Chair while Pascal Bouilly was elected as Vice Chair.

A board member since 2015 when the VFO was formed, Tom and his brothers Bob and Steve, along with their families, operate Sunnydale Acres near Ailsa Craig. The Kroesbergen family have been raising grainfed veal full time for over 25 years. The family also cash crops, finish beef cattle and have a broiler operation.

“As VFO Chair I am looking forward to the coming year as we focus in our core business to address the issues directly impacting dairy calf and veal producers” stated Kroesbergen. “We have a busy agenda in trying to finalize the VFO Regulations review work with the Commission, collaborations with the Canadian Veal Association, research and projects supporting healthy dairy calves and our search for Ontario’s Best Veal Sandwich to name a few”.

Pascal has been a VFO board member since 2015, and prior to that served on the board of the Ontario Veal Association. Pascal is the Dairy Calf Supply Chain Manager with Grober Nutrition based out of Cambridge. In his current role Pascal is responsible for the development of the started dairy calves program at Grober as well as providing technical support for the Grober Sales Team.

“While I am new to a VFO Executive position, I look forward to sharing my experiences and insight working in the industry” stated Bouilly. “I am also looking forward to learning from my colleagues in both the veal and dairy sector, my goal being to further strengthen the relationship between these two sectors” added Bouilly.

Re-elected to the 8 member VFO Board of Directors were Judy Dirksen, Rita Maciukiewicz, Joyce Feenstra and Phillip Kroesbergen. The Veal Farmers of Ontario provides leadership to promote industry growth and viability through collaboration, innovation, marketing and education.

For more information contact:
Jennifer Haley, Executive Director

Tom Kroesbergen, Chair

VFO news release 03.04.18

Veal Farmers of Ontario Board of Directors: CALL FOR NOMINATIONS

The Veal Farmers of Ontario (VFO) Board of Directors is seeking interested veal producers to get involved in their organization.  Your input into the future direction of the organization is vital to maintaining a strong and active voice for the VFO.  All voting producer members of VFO, with their membership in good standing, are eligible for nomination.  VFO Board members are provided a meeting per diem of $250/day and reimbursement for travel expenses. Directors actively participate in approximately 6-8 Board meetings per year (in person and conference calls) held at our offices in Guelph.  Directors work on behalf of the Ontario dairy calf/veal sectors on projects, issues and initiatives that benefit the membership of the organization.

Interested candidates must complete a self-nomination form and submit by no later than February 16, 2018 for review by the Nominating Committee.  There will be no nominations from the floor accepted.  Elections, if required, will take place at the VFO Annual General Meeting on Wednesday March 7, 2018.

For more information please contact:

New Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Veal Cattle Released

The Canadian Veal Association (CVA) and the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) are pleased to announce the release of the revised Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Veal Cattle.

Canada’s Codes of Practice are nationally developed guidelines for the care and handling of farm animals. They serve as the foundation for ensuring that farm animals are cared for using sound management and welfare practices that promote animal health and well-being. Codes are used as educational tools, reference materials for regulations, and the foundation for industry animal care assessment programs.

“The Canadian Veal Association is pleased to have an updated and revised Code that will support the sustainability of the Canadian veal cattle industry and the success of our producers,” states Bob Wynands, veal producer, President of CVA, and Chair of the Code Development Committee. “Our industry’s participation and leadership in the Code development process demonstrates our producers continued commitment to animal health and welfare, and dedication to responsible animal husbandry.”

Wynands added that “this Code also represents a true collaboration of industry partners and stakeholders where all voices and opinions were shared at the Development Committee in order to develop a Code that truly has the support of all involved. I am very proud of the Code that has been the result of the hard work, dedication and focused efforts of all committee members.”

NFACC’s Code development process is a uniquely consensus-based, multi-stakeholder approach that ensures credibility and transparency through scientific rigour, stakeholder collaboration, and consistency. Updates to the Veal Cattle Code were led by a 17-person Code committee comprised of veal producers, animal welfare and enforcement representatives, researchers, veterinarians and government representatives. Aiding in their work was a four[MC1] -person Scientific Committee that included research and veterinary expertise in veal cattle behaviour, health and welfare. A public comment period was held in the winter of 2016 to allow the public and all stakeholders to provide input.

Canada’s Codes of Practice are a powerful tool for meeting rising consumer, marketplace and societal expectations relative to farm animal welfare. Codes support responsible animal care practices and keep everyone involved in farm animal care and handling on the same page.

“The new Code provides updated standards for the welfare of veal calves in Canada,” said Dr. Jeffrey Rushen, who represents the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies on the Code Committee. “The recommendations are science-informed and will evolve the welfare practices of the veal industry to better meet the needs of the animals.”

The Veal Cattle Code is the eleventh Code of Practice updated through NFACC’s Code development process. For more information on the Codes of Practice and NFACC’s Code development process visit

Click here for official news release.

Click here for a copy of the new Code of Practice.

Funding for this project has been provided through the AgriMarketing Program under Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.