LANARK COUNTY -- Rural Expo 2003, Lanark County International Plowing Match and Farm Machinery Show gives the community a wonderful opportunity to showcase itself, says executive vice-chair Lynda Foster.
"Lanark County is a very unique and interesting place in which to live, work and play," she says.
As a native of Lanark County, a registered nurse by profession, a dairy farmer and community volunteer, Foster has a background which suits her position as a vice-chair to a T.
Together with her husband, Jim, mother-in-law Vera and son-in-law Shawn Powell, Foster helps run Jockbrae Farms, a milking operation with 50 registered, classified and production recorded Holstein cows and they also crop 350 acres of mixed crops.
In the past, she was involved with her church choir and Beckwith School Council. Prior to school board amalgamation, she was a trustee on the Lanark County Board of Education from 1993 to 1997, and a member of the Ice Storm Committee
Foster started working on the International Plowing Match when the Lanark County Plowmen's Association established a bid committee. "Because I was involved with the Lanark County Plowmen's Association, I was assigned on the bid committee because of my interest in the event," she states.
"We got the bid in February 2000, and I became a member of the executive at large. They needed vice-chairs to divide up areas of responsibility."
As one of four vice chairs on the executive, Foster has responsibility for liaising with Lifestyle, Education, Marketing and Maple Syrup Producers sections. It is her job to attend meetings and to remove "roadblocks" for the committees and to find answers to their questions. The process is a two-way street, as Foster receives direction from the executive which she relays to the committees by phone, e-mail or meeting.
As a member of the Rural Expo 2003 executive, Foster performed various tasks such as looking after community displays, but as the team grew larger, others have taken on those duties.
Foster describes the IPM executive committee of 10 or 11 people as the "hub of the wheel, who work together to draft policies and procedures, and build relationships with anyone who is associated with the match."
"The coordinators who are in charge of specific areas are the spokes that go out. Under the coordinators is the rim of the wheel, the team leaders or task masters and the team members. They're the ones who make the machine work and come the distance."
Foster says the IPM has become a project in which the family is involved, as Jim is on the Land Committee, and her son Mark will be occupied with competitive plowing at the match.
Having tied for first place with Jeremy Degeer of Leaskdale, Ontario at the Rural Expo Middlesex International Plowing Match in September 2002, Mark will represent Ontario and Lanark County at the Canadian Plowing Competition at Wanham, Alberta, June 20-22.
Mark had his first experience with plowing in the 4-H club, sponsored by the Lanark Plowmen's Association, and began plowing competitively at age 10.
After competing at several local matches he earned enough points to enter the 2001 International Plowing Match in Navan.
Foster's14 year daughter Melinda has also volunteered for the match in any way possible with displays, posters and participating in a fund-raising fashion show called "Celebration of Bridal Fashions Past and Present" at Almonte Civitan Club on April 27.
"Undoubtedly this is probably the most significant event ever to come to hit Lanark County and probably for some time in the future as well."
"I see the most beneficial outcome of this event is building our community, and hopefully bridging any gap between rural and urban, young and old within Lanark County. And I believe this is happening now," says Foster.