Dr. Rene Van Acker

Rene Van Acker, PhD, PAg

Rene Van Acker, PhD, PAg
Professor and Dean, Ontario Agricultural College, University of Guelph

Dr. Rene Van Acker is Professor and Dean of the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) at the University of Guelph. Prior to his appointment as Dean, Rene was Associate Dean external of OAC (2009-16) and chair of the department of Plant Agriculture (2006-09). Prior to his appointments at Guelph, Rene was a professor at the University of Manitoba (1996-2006). Rene is a co-founder of the Food Institute at the University of Guelph (now the Arrell Food Institute) and has played a key role in fundraising for OAC since 2009. Rene's research interests include weed management and agronomy. He has published over 130 peer-reviewed works to-date and over 300 other non-peer reviewed contributions. His research on coexistence and genetically modified crops has led to work in Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, France, Germany, Australia, and the US. Rene grew up on a farm in southern Ontario. He holds BSc and MSc degrees from Guelph and a PhD from the University of Reading (UK).

“Are Farmers the New 1%: Reflections on the Social Licence Movement in Agriculture”
The number of farmers in Canada continues to decline. In addition, we are at a point now in Canada that well over 90% of all agricultural production is delivered by less than 10% of farmers. This poses significant challenges to farmer voice and farmer power and it begs questions about the future of farmer organizations and whether farmer organizations need to adjust to maintain voice and power on key issues including social licence. Options may include new partnerships that cut across food chain lines and that create new alliances on common and key issues including environmental protection, food safety and care for animals.