Submitted by the Thunder Bay Agricultural Research Station
Recently, Thunder Bay Agricultural Research Station (TBARS) received a new board of directors. This group of individuals hopes to secure the future of TBARS as it stands now. TBARS’ mission statement is as follows: To help and commit to the establishment, operation, promotion and transfer of agricultural research for the further development and diversification of the agricultural industry. TBARS welcomes these members as a new group of representatives who will carry out what the future holds in store for the research station.
Kevin Belluz, B.Sc.
Kevin is a third-generation owner of Belluz Farms in Slate River. He graduated from the University of Guelph with a B.Sc. in Plant Biology, while working in Alberta and England shortly after at a horticulture supply company. In 2003, he took over the family farm. His family is focused on producing fruits and vegetables for the local market with the help of over 50 local employees at peak season.
Bernie has been an active member of Thunder Bay’s agricultural community for over 20 years. He has served on many boards and committees including the Thunder Bay District Soil and Crop Improvement Association, Thunder Bay Cooperative Farm Supplies, Thunder Bay Dairy Producers, Thunder Bay Christian Farmers, and the Thunder Bay Federation of Agriculture. Currently, Bernie is active in his second term as a Councillor for the Municipality of Oliver Paipoonge, as co-chair of the Thunder Bay and Area Food Strategy and the Agricultural Representative on the Lakehead Source Water Protection Committee. Bernie is a third-generation owner of his family’s dairy and crop farm, and continues to invest in new technology and practices through his livestock and crops. Through these changes, he makes his business more sustainable for the environment and secures his farm’s long-term financial success.
Andrew, son to a first-generation Thunder Bay dairy farmer, is currently involved on the farm at home and hopes to one day become a farm owner himself. He is a recent graduate of the University of Guelph-Kemptville Campus’ Agriculture Diploma Program and has also worked at many different farms over the years. In the past, he has served on many committees including the Oliver Agricultural Society, Kemptville College Royal Education Committee, Thunder Bay Steps to Leadership Steering Committee, and currently serves as a director of Thunder Bay District Soil and Crop Improvement Association. Andrew strives to take advantage of new research and learning opportunities in order to apply this knowledge to the family farm at home.
Arnold Breukelman– Arnold was born and raised in Thunder Bay and currently serves on the board of Thunder Bay Agricultural Research Association. Other boards and committees he has previously served or is presently serving include Thunder Bay Soil and Crop Improvement Association, Thunder Bay Cooperative Farm Supplies, and Oliver Paipoonge Committee of Adjustment. Arnold and his brother Dan are in partnership on Breukelman’s Potato Farm. Breukelman’s specializes in quality potatoes but also grows barley, wheat, and rye grass. Together, their families grow, wash, store, grade and pack the potatoes, then deliver them to local grocery stores. They also do custom work, including combining and delivery of minerals and machinery.
Dennis Ellchook– Dennis is the owner of Sunrise Farms, a 500 + acre cow/calf and crop farm in Murillo, Ontario. Along with this, he works as a mechanic at Narvi’s Truck and Auto Service. In the past he has served on the boards of the Thunder Bay Federation of Agriculture and Thunder Bay and District Cattleman’s Association. Dennis uses resources like the Thunder Bay Agricultural Research Station to attain a better understanding of what’s happening in his farm’s soil and what forages can he can grow in it.
Ewa Gulbinowicz– Ewa has been a volunteer for the Sister City Advising Committee since 2010. She is a graduate of the Bachelor of Business Administration program at Lakehead University, and has taken additional marketing and IT courses at Confederation College. She has also earned a 1-year diploma in Business and Human Resources at Confederation College. Additionally, she is a graduate of a Civil Engineering course in Poland. Ewa has run her own hobby food manufacturing business for over 3 years, having worked within this industry for over 20 years. Her other skill sets include not-for-profit organizations, assisting businesses to better operate through implementing better business planning, and overall business management. She utilizes her strong IT and information systems knowledge throughout these areas. Since 2013, Ewa has worked as an Executive Director for CCA and as an agent for United Way.
Fritz Jaspers– Fritz, along with his two sons, operates a dairy farm while managing approximately 1000 acres of crops. Additionally, he provides custom work for other farmers in the area. He has served as a chairman on both the Thunder Bay Milk Producer Committee and Thunder Bay Co-operative Farm Supplies. Fritz brings experience to this board as he has been a previous board member for a three-year term.
Shannon Vanlenthe– Shannon and her husband Dan have a 5-acre vegetable production, greenhouse and pastured pork operation in South Gillies, Ontario. She has a Bachelor of Environmental Studies in Forest Conservation from Lakehead University. Shannon is currently on the Board of Directors for the Thunder Bay Country Market, and is an advocate for local farming through her love of gardening.