Your Farm Voice: Chuck Fossay – President
Charles (better known as Chuck) is a grain farmer from Starbuck, Manitoba. Chuck farms with his three brothers Dale, Rick and Bryan. The Fossay brothers farm roughly 3,600 acres of canola, red spring wheat, soybeans and grain corn; and depending on the markets may grow oats, flax and sunflowers.
Chuck has played an active role on different committees and boards for 30 or more years and has served as a director of the Manitoba Canola Growers Association (MCGA) board since 2014. His involvement in the merger of Manitoba Pool Elevators with Alberta Pool Elevators, and his role as vice-president of Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) are among a long list of his achievements.
In his spare time Chuck enjoys reading, watching movies from the 40’s and 50’s, attending meetings and golfing in the warm months.
Q&A with Chuck
Q: What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?
A: Break big problems down to small solutions or in other, words keep things simple.
Q: If you were stranded on a deserted island what three things would you have, and why?
A: If I was stranded on a deserted island I would want some seeds so I could grow food, a long novel to read (like War and Peace) and a fire starter so I could cook my food and light my nights.
Director First, President Second
I always think of myself as a director first, and president second. As the president of MCGA I have two or three main duties, but there are many other tasks as directors we are often called upon to do to represent Manitoba canola producers.
As the president, my first and foremost role is to be the public voice of MCGA. I’m the lead person in meeting with the government and I attend various meetings on behalf of the association. As chair of MCGA board meetings it is my responsibility to help lead our directors to reach agreements on policies and initiatives we get involved with as an organization.
An area we’ve been focusing on is Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency’s (PMRA) ongoing assessments of neonicotinoid seed treatments on canola seeds. As an organization we’ve been working with the Canadian Canola Growers Association, Keystone Agricultural Producers, SaskCanola and Alberta Canola to write letters outlining our concerns requesting good, scientific information be used in the decision making process. It is important there will be time for producers to find new technologies and ways to control flea beetles if neonicotinoids become banned. We encourage producers in all the provinces to write similar letters to the PMRA outlining your concerns.
Another issue the board of directors has been focusing on is the spread of clubroot in Manitoba. Two or three years ago we found clubroot in the Swan River Valley and now (I’m told) we’ve found 33 confirmed fields with clubroot in Manitoba. This is an issue we have to take very seriously. Moving forward as a board we will be looking at opportunities to meet with producers to talk to them about the latest research and management techniques on minimizing the spread of clubroot.
I also represent MCGA at the KAP advisory, board and annual meetings. In these meetings I bring forward issues of concern from MCGA to try to gain support from KAP delegates and directors, and support KAP on their initiatives or programs that benefit canola growers.
I attend meetings and workshops as a director to learn about things that are happening in the industry (research, improved varieties, trade issues, etc.). Learning what’s happening out there allows me and the other directors to come up with suggestions and ideas of how to go forward to address concerns that impact Manitoba canola producers. MCGA has to be vocal in voicing the concerns of Manitoba canola farmers.