Their actions speak volumes

Volunteers celebrated for their community contributions

It’s all about setting a good example … for their children and others in the community.

That’s what inspires these two busy women to contribute as much as they do, and they do a lot.  For their efforts, Cynthia Guindon of Verner and Amy Schoppmann of St-Charles recently received Volunteer Recognition Awards, presented by their local MP, Marc Serré.

Volunteer Recognition Award pinBoth Amy and Cynthia are extremely active in their community and have taken on leadership roles in bringing the International Plowing Match & Rural Expo (IPM) to Northern Ontario this September – another volunteer venture. They were among 20 people to take part in a recent ceremony to celebrate outstanding community contributions.

“I would like to congratulate each and every one of these 20 exemplary individuals for their community involvement, their leadership and being an inspiration to us all,” says MP Serré, who represents the Nickle Belt riding, in a news release. “We all have something to learn from these 20 dedicated leaders. I wish them all the best for achieving their goals in 2019 and much more! Bravo!”

The awards are presented annually to celebrate the dedication of volunteers to the well-being of their community.

Despite being a nurse and a mother of four, Amy still finds time to pitch in at her children’s school, organizing fundraisers such as the Bears Fish Fry, the Christmas parade, bake sales and more. In fact, she was nominated for this award by the school principal and secretary.Amy Schoppmann receives a Volunteer Recognition Award from MP Marc Serre

“I just have a passion for helping others,” Amy says. “It’s very humbling to be nominated for such an award. I don’t expect anything for what I do. I do it because I love to do it.”

Amy is also co-chair of Tented City for the upcoming IPM set for Sept. 17 to 21 in Verner, West Nipissing.

“It’s a huge event that will greatly benefit the community and surrounding areas,” she says of the IPM. “It’s important that everybody in the community is involved.”

Cynthia agrees.

“It’s one of the most amazing experiences that our community could have and I want this event to be a success,” she says. “I’m trying to get my fellow people in the community to get involved also.”

To learn about volunteer opportunities at the IPM, visit

Cynthia’Cynthia Guidon receives a Volunteer Recognition Award from MP Marc Serres community contributions have included five years as a volunteer firefighter and donating her time with the Verner Minor Hockey Association, including serving as trainer for the novice team. In terms of IPM 2019, she’s the Special Events chair.

Her nomination for the volunteerism award came courtesy a co-worker at Caisse populaire Alliance, where Cynthia is an executive assistant.

“My family has always been really involved,” the mother of two explains of her vast volunteer experience. “If nobody gets involved, nothing happens and I want us to have a great community.

“I believe an involved community gets amazing results.”

The International Plowing Match & Rural Expo is a five-day celebration of agriculture and rural living. It features plowing competitions, live entertainment, hundreds of exhibitors, demonstrations, antique equipment, the newest technologies and much more.

Bringing with it an economic impact of about $25 million, the IPM is held in a different community each year and attracts about 80,000 people.

For more information about the IPM, visit

- by Richard Vivian


Advance tickets for IPM 2019 available online, by phone, by mail and in person

Advance tickets for the 2019 International Plowing Match and Rural Expo are available now.

IPM 2019 runs Sept. 17 to 21 in Verner, West Nipissing (near North Bay). This annual five-day celebration of agriculture and rural living features plowing competitions, a range of activities for people of all ages, near-constant live entertainment in multiple Match venues, hundreds of vendors and a wide variety of food … the list goes on.

It’s the largest event of its kind in North America. With so much to see and do, plan to spend more than one day!

Advance tickets cost $15 each for adults and $5 each for children per day. This is the first year advance tickets for children are available.

New this year, tickets are available online at Our online store accepts VISA, Master Card, AMEX and Apple Pay. There’s a $1 service fee per ticket when purchased online.

Alternatively, you can give the Ontario Plowmen’s Association a call at 1.800.661.7569 to order tickets or stop by our office at 188 Nicklin Road in Guelph, or 30 Front Street in Sturgeon Falls to pick some up.

You can also download an order form, fill it out and mail it to:

Ontario Plowmen’s Association

188 Nicklin Road

Guelph, Ontario

N1H 7L5

If you wait to buy them at the gate, tickets cost $20 each for adults and $5 each for children per day.

Once ordered, we’ll do our best to get your tickets in the mail as soon as possible, but a timeline for delivery depends on Canada Post.

Lampton County Scholarship Winners
This year's Lambton International Plowing Match ‘91 Trust Fund scholarship recipients were named during the Brigden Fair in October. From left, fund trustee Bill Bilton, recipient Jessica Kennedy, recipient Clayton Shaw and fund trustee Bryan Boyle. Scholarship recipient Megan McGrail wasn't able to attend. Photo by Paul Morden, The Sarnia Observer

IPM leaves 'living legacy' in communities 

Event proceeds used to create scholarships, grants

It’s been more than a quarter-century since the International Plowing Match (IPM) was held in Lambton County, Ontario but the event’s success continues to benefit the community. And Lambton isn’t alone –several IPM-funded grants and scholarships are offered throughout the province.

“We wanted something that would be lasting, renewable and has an impact,” explains Bryan Boyle, who was on the IPM 1991 executive committee and serves as a trustee for the Lambton International Plowing Match ‘91 Trust Fund scholarship program. “Over 27 years, we’ve now given away more than the principal and we still have all the principal.”

The trust was launched using $103,000 in IPM proceeds (profits are always distributed within the host community, as directed by the local executive committee). Interest earned on that investment is awarded annually to three second-year, post-secondary students from Lambton County.

By disbursing only the interest, the scholarship is designed to continue “indefinitely”, notes Boyle.

The precise amount of the scholarship fluctuates based on interest rates, but through the years, $139,400 has been handed out to 103 students (average of $1,353 each).

“The youth is the future of our community,” Boyle continues, noting the scholarship evaluation criteria is “heavily weighted to those who are active in our community.”

Using a portion of profits from the 2005 and 2013 IPMs held in Perth County (about $100,000 in all), a community fund there supports environmental projects impacting farms. The Stratford Perth Community Fund’s International Plowing Match (IPM) Fund has handed out about $2,000 every year since 2006 using interest earned.

“If we ever have the Plowing Match again, we’ll probably put some more money toward that,” says Bert Vorstenbosch Sr., who served as a vice-chair for IPM 2005 and was chair during 2013. He’s also on the nominations committee for the Stratford Perth Community Fund.

“It keeps (memories of) the IPMs alive and it’s a project that keeps on giving,” he says of the grant.

A community grant is also available in Waterloo Region, where the IPM was held in 1995 and 2012 ­- both times in North Dumfries Township. The grant, administered by Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation, was seeded with about $250,000 and $40,000 from the respective IPMs.

Grants are awarded annually to projects that focus on agriculture, health and/or education. Funds come from the interest earned on the principal, minus an inflationary increase.

“We recognized that to make one of these Matches successful we had to involve every age group in our community and so we wanted the results of their effort to be perpetuated in perpetuity so it would respond to the needs of the community into the future,” explains Reg Cressman, who chaired the 1995 IPM.

“We wanted a living legacy.”

Following the 2012 IPM, a $40,000 contribution was also made to the Cambridge and North Dumfries Community Foundation, which operates a similar grant specific to initiatives in North Dumfries.

Like in Lambton, IPM officials in Elgin County established a scholarship following the event in 2010, but they took a different approach. They put aside $50,000 to be handed out to second-year post-secondary students from Elgin during a 10-year period.

Each year $5,000 is made available for two or more students.

“It is a tangible legacy of a real successful event that generated a lot of goodwill in our community,” says Brian Masschaele, Director of Community and Cultural Services for the County of Elgin, which administers the scholarship. “It’s an opportunity to invest back in our youth in the most vital sector of our economy in the hopes that they will continue to reside here and pursue a career in agriculture here in Elgin County.”

Recipients must be actively involved in the local agricultural community and must share their ideas to strengthen the industry in the area.

Though there are several examples of establishing scholarships and long-lasting community grants, most of the time IPM proceeds are distributed to community organizations, agencies and initiatives in the form of one-off donations. Hospitals, service groups and local charities are among the most common recipients.

- by Richard Vivian


BMO Ontario Farm Family Awards for 2019BMO Ontario Farm Family Awards logo

Nominations are now open! Nominate a farming family who positively showcases how the values and hard work of the farm family enhance our quality of life. The nomination deadline is February 28, 2019. The online nomination form is posted here.

The honoured families will be formally recognized for their dedication to Ontario's agriculture sector and the rural way of life at IPM 2019 on Saturday, September 21, 2019.

Ontario Queen of the Furrow presented by Ontario Mutuals

Twenty-five Queen contestants from Branch Associations across the province competed at IPM 2018. Derika Nauta of Oxford County Plowmen’s was crowned the 2018-2019 Ontario Queen of the Furrow. Derika will spend the next year helping promote IPM 2019 and the plowing tradition. Find out more about the Queen of the Furrow Competitors here.

IPM 2018 promotional header

From September 18th to 22nd, 77,807 people experienced IPM 2018 and “became a part of history” for Chatham-Kent and the IPM. There were so many historical-worthy features:

  • The Canadian Cowgirls --- performing to their home town after touring throughout North America.
  • An amazing “Crops Garden” that highlighted more than 70 different crops --- all grown in Chatham-Kent.
  • 175 World-Class plowing competitors from the United States, Quebec and Ontario.
  • 25 of Ontario’s best Agriculture Ambassadors competed in the Ontario Queen of the Furrow competition.
  • Guinness World Record set for the largest Bloody Caesar (Bloody Mary) --- made totally from scratch with Chatham-Kent products.
  • The impressive longest Fire Truck Parade and the most people Bobbing for Apples.
  • Thrilling Rodeo and Equine demonstrations. 

On behalf of IPM co-hosts the Ontario Plowmen’s Association and the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, a special THANK YOU to the many Local and Provincial Volunteers, the Landowners, the Corporate Partners, the Exhibitors and the local and provincial staff. CONGRATULATIONS ON A TRULY HISTORIC MATCH!!!


Request for Equipment for World Competitors

The United States Plowing Organization is looking for Competitive Plows and Tractors for the 2019 World Plowing Championships in Baudette, Minnesota -August 30 and 31, 2019. This is a unique opportunity to be part of the World Plowing Championships as it returns to North America and isn’t scheduled to return for a couple of decades.

Plans are being worked on to connect World Competitors with needed equipment. Questions regarding logistics, etc., will be developed over the next few months. There will be a North American Challenge Match for those that have provided their equipment that will happen after the competition. Find out more here

2018 Canadian Plowing Competition News

Bert Beyens (Senior Conventional) and Tom Evans (Senior Reversible), both from Ontario, will represent Canada at the 2019 World Ploughing Contest in Minnesota, USA. Ben Henderson (from Ontario) is the new Canadian Junior Champion.

Competitors Attending the 2019 Canadian Championships

The following competitors qualified to represent Ontario at the 2019 Canadian Championships. At the Celebration of Excellence Gala, they were awarded the Graeme, Helen and Michael Craig Special and received a coat and hat on behalf of the Craig family. Congratulations to all the competitors!
Junior: Lucas Townsend and Allison Davenport
Senior Conventional: Brian Davenport and Carman Weppler
Senior Reversible: Tom Evans and Daryl Hostrawser




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