Staff Profile: Barry Potter, Agriculture Development Advisor

Get to know our staff. We’ll be profiling them here so you can get to know who can help you grow your ideas. Barry Potter

  1. What is your role in the Regional Economic Development Branch?

I cover all of Northern Ontario as an Agriculture Development Advisor with a Livestock specialty. I work with the other advisors in the north, and provincial teams on livestock projects.  I work closely with Daniel Tasse, fellow advisor in New Liskeard to cover general agriculture economic development questions in the districts of Temiskaming and Cochrane.

  1. What initiatives or projects are you currently working on?

I am working with the Agriculture in the North working team. We’re focusing on new soil maps for Cochrane district, plus the pilot project development for expansion of beef farming in the north with Beef Farmers of Ontario.  I sit on the Agriculture as Economic Development
provincial team developing tools and strategies for municipal economic development advisors to use.  I write for a number of provincial and national magazines on livestock topics and work closely with the University of Guelph beef researchers to plan and implement research at the New Liskeard Agriculture Research Station. During the winter months I travel much of the north, bringing current information to stakeholders at various annual general meetings and other opportunities where there is a chance to share information. I am learning to use social media more effectively so I can stay in touch with key clients.

  1. What do you most like about the work you do?

Every day is a new challenge with different opportunities to directly impact and help our agriculture producers and communities.  I also enjoy the fact that I get to be involved in leading edge research and technology for the ag community. The breadth and depth of the opportunities with OMAFRA are endless.

  1. What are your top skills?

Most people would say I am devoid of any skills.  My little successes are mostly achieved by throwing all my energy enthusiastically into a project and expecting to have things happen.

  1. Professional background or How did you become involved with Agriculture Development?

I think I’ve always been somewhat involved in Agriculture Development. I grew up on a beef and cash crop farm in Earlton, Ontario. After graduating from the University of Guelph with a degree in Animal Science, I worked as a feed and crop sales and technical advisor across northeastern Ontario. I left there to teach Livestock courses at the New Liskeard Agriculture College. After it closed, I joined the management team at the newly formed Temiskaming Ag Centre. In 1998, my wife and I purchased Golden Meadow Farms, in Earlton, which has become one of the top beef breeding establishments in Canada.

From there I had the opportunity through U of G to conduct research with Tom Hamilton (OMAFRA), on various beef production, stockpile grazing and digitalizing all beef research in Ontario. In 1999 I joined OMAFRA as the Livestock Specialist covering northern Ontario.

I’m currently on the dairy, beef and sheep teams for OMAFRA, assisting with livestock extension in the province and I am a graduate of the EDAC year 3 economic development course.

  1. What is the value add that you give OMAFRA clients?

My background and experience allow me to work with clients to find practical working solutions and build collaborative teams that get results. I have been on almost all farms in northern Ontario at some point, so I understand farmers and their needs.

  1. On a personal note

I am married with three children. My oldest daughter is a 2nd yr aggie at UofG. My son is at college studying to be an electrician and my youngest daughter is in grade 10. We are active with our Church. We raise purebred Charolais cattle and enjoy showing them at fairs across Ontario including the Royal Agriculture Winter Fair.

  1. How do people contact you?

I can be contacted a number of ways:
barry.potter@ontario.ca, twitter: @livestockpotter, office phone: 705-647-2086, cell phone 705-648-1799.  Oh and my home number is in the phone book, which is how a lot of farmers get me, much to my family’s chagrin.

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