WELLINGTON COUNTY – From a young age, Barclay Nap has believed everyone should be ready to step into a leadership role at some point in their life.
Now, after a lifetime of being involved in agriculture and a decade of Wellington Federation of Agriculture (WFA) board experience, Nap gets that change as the new WFA president after being acclaimed at a recent annual general meeting.
The WFA is an affiliate of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture that lobbies for farmers’ economic, environmental and social wellbeing.
“We get a lot of issues brought to our board and we discuss them, we give different angles and how it would affect agriculture whether it’s trespassing, land use, zoning bylaws or economic development,” Nap said. “There’s so many things that affect agriculture.”
Nap takes over for longtime president Janet Harrop, who he said has been an excellent leader to learn from.
“I definitely want to continue the great work that Janet has led us through,” Nap said, referencing a recent delegation to Wellington County council where she presented a report on the economic importance of agriculture in the county as an example.
“We do want to continue bringing forward issues to the lower-tier municipalities and helping councillors and staff understand the role of agriculture and how some of their decisions may or may not affect agriculture.”
Harrop, first elected president eight years ago, will continue to serve on the board as past-president.
“My long-term goal for the WFA organization was to bring members to our board table that work on projects and events that advocate for producers and bring the voice of agriculture to the public,” Harrop said via email. “Creating the relationships with OFA, media, county and local tier staff and elected officials has placed WFA in a position where we are viewed as approachable and available for questions and discussions — we want to be part of the conversation.”
The 46-year-old Nap runs a market garden at his farm in Puslinch, mainly focused on farm share boxes, where he grows about 60 different types of vegetables, herbs and plants.
Agriculture has deep roots in Nap’s family.
On his father’s side, his grandfather brought his family from the Netherlands post-World War II as part of a provincial program to make up for a labour shortage in agriculture. His mother comes from a long line of beef farmers in the former Guelph Township.
Nap’s parents eventually took over the paternal grandfather’s farm.
“I was lucky enough to have grown up on a farm and have the lifestyle experiences I did because not many of the population today has that,” Nap said. “I went to high school in Guelph and for most people I was the only farmer they probably ever met.”
Nap first got involved as a WFA director a little over 10 years ago before eventually stepping into the role as a vice-president.
After discussion with Harrop, he said he decided he wanted to take on a leadership role, something he said he believes everyone should prepare themselves to be able to do at some point in their life.
“We all have our own different styles of leadership, I know I am different from Janet, she has a lot of great skills but every person has the ability to be a leader in their own way,” Nap said. “When an opportunity arises, you should meet that opportunity.”
Nap said he hoped to encourage some new members to join the board to bring in more perspectives from commodity groups that aren’t represented right now.
“I’d love to hear those voices at a board table and I do know we’re looking for some more directors in some of the lower-tier municipalities that don’t have directors right now,” Nap said. “I would love to expand our board that way.”