Kim Cooper a respected ambassador for agriculture

first_imgKim Cooper grew up in Chatham, never farming a day in his life, but his career of more than four decades in agriculture has taken him to more than 30 countries and earned him the respect of the farm community.The author of the popular Food for Thought column, which has run in The Chatham Daily News for nearly 20 years, is retiring on Aug. 2.Cooper recalled visiting his grandparents’ farm in Jeannette’s Creek as a child but said a career in agriculture wasn’t on his radar.He credits Stu Irving, the former manager of the M.J. Smith Grain Company and fellow church member, for calling to offer him a job in the early 1970s.He took the job stocking shelves and began learning about seeds. He also met several farmers and learned about the chemical trade and fertilizer.“I just fell in love with agriculture, that was the start of it,” Cooper said.During this time, he developed some health problems but wanted to attend Ridgetown’s agriculture college. His employer paid his tuition, and he returned with a diploma and a desire to learn more about agriculture “because I was just eating this up.”Cooper went to the University of Guelph, but had to drop out due to health reasons. Not obtaining that degree is something he’s always regretted.He came back to work at M.J. Smith before landing a job at King Grain in Pain Court in 1985. He spent 10 years there, gaining a lot of knowledge by doing everything from loading fertilizer and making deliveries to formulating fertilizer blends and selling.“Eventually, I got into grain trading, so I bought and sold all the corn, wheat and soybeans out there for a number of years,” Cooper said.He spent another year with the company after it was purchased by Thompsons, working in the soybean export program,From there, he joined the Ontario Soybean Growers’ Association for 10 years, working as their marketing specialist. He later joined Southwest Ag before taking a position with Chatham-Kent’s economic development department nearly 12 years ago to work as an agriculture specialist.Cooper’s career has taken him across the globe, including visits to Japan and China, where he’s met farmers from many different countries along with company presidents and ambassadors.He also became well respected for raising awareness about local agriculture through his weekly newspaper column.He recalled being on the agriculture committee of the then Chatham and District Chamber of Commerce at a time when there was a lot of bad press about farming.“I said, ‘We need to have some good news stories in the media. How about we go to The Chatham Daily News and see if we can submit a monthly article on some of the positive benefits of agriculture.’”Since it was his idea, Cooper was chosen to write the first column.The Daily News agreed to run the piece, but Cooper said it wasn’t long before he was requested to submit a weekly column, which he has done faithfully on a voluntary basis.Cooper said writing that column has helped him learn even more about agriculture over the years.“I know it’s a good article when people come up to me and say, ‘Hey, I read your article, I didn’t know that.’”He said that kind of response is the reason for writing the column, helping bring more awareness to the $3-billion agriculture industry in Chatham-Kent.Cooper has even arranged meetings between readers and farmers because readers wanted to learn more about agriculture.“I see myself as a conduit between the average citizen who doesn’t really understand agriculture and the ag sector.”Cooper has earned the trust and respect of the local agricultural community.Ron Faubert has worked with Cooper both as a farmer and in his capacity as president of the Kent Federation of Agriculture.“Kim was always an ambassador for agriculture,” Faubert said.He credits Cooper for working hard to move agricultural issues forward, saying the columnist “understood our issues.”“(It was) because he was involved in agriculture through the different employment he’s had over the years,” Faubert added.Even though Cooper didn’t grow up on a farm, Faubert said his friend “developed a passion for agriculture and you could tell that in everything he did.”He suggested this passion is unique, noting most people who weren’t raised with farming aren’t that interested in agriculture or share the sector’s concerns.“But, for some reason, Kim had some of that in his blood, and he was very good at it.”Cooper said deciding to retire “was a tough decision because I love what I’m doing.”“I’ve loved all my jobs in agriculture,” he said,  “and the people I’ve worked with.”As readers of his column know, faith is major part of Cooper’s life.“My philosophy on life as Christian is God’s got a plan for my life and he’s got a plan for this next chapter in my life,” he said.Cooper said he’ll miss his job in agriculture, but added he still has his relationships with people and he’ll still stay connected.“But it’s time to move on.”eshreve@postmedia.comlast_img read more

Pre-trial to be set in case involving record $2.6M drug bust

first_imgProgress is being made in the case involving a Chatham man facing several charges in connection to a $2.6 million drug bust last April – the largest in Chatham-Kent’s history.Jonathan Toornsta, 36, made a brief appearance in a Chatham bail court, via video, on Tuesday.Toornsta’s lawyer Ken Marley told the court he has received additional disclosure from federal prosecutor Tim Mathany regarding the charges against his client.He requested the matter return to court Friday to schedule a pre-trial.Toornsta is facing 18 drug and weapon-related charges in connection to a raid of a Chatham apartment by Chatham-Kent police on April 10.According to previously published reports, officers seized cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, hydromophone, GHB, ecstasy, morphine and fentanyl, along with an electronic digital scale, packaging materials, and $52,000 in Canadian currency.A 9mm handgun and ammunition were also seized in the raid.Toornsta has remained in custody since his arrest and faces an added challenge if he wants to seek bail.Mathany previously told the court Toornstra is in a “reverse onus position to show cause why he should be released (on bail)” since the drug charges against him are a straight indictable offence He also indicated at that time, the Crown would not be consenting to Toornstra’s release on bail in this matter.last_img read more

Neotel launches home phone service

first_imgPrice differentiator 23 October 2008 “We believe that we have hit the nail on the head with this product, particularly in light of the current economic conditions,” Neotel Consumer Business Unit head Mukul Sharma said in a statement this week. According to Neotel, a key differentiator of the company’s home phone offering is the call rates. “During the course of 24 months, a usage discount of up to R25 will be given back to the consumer every month,” Sharma said. “This effectively means that consumers could be reimbursed for the full purchase price of the phone.” “This eliminates the risk of losing your service due to copper [cable] theft.” Two packages There is no differentiation between Neotel-to-Neotel peak and off peak rates, which are charged at 17 cents per minute for local calls at all times. Both packages operate on true per-second billing for all calls, from the first second onwards. SAinfo reporter Neotel’s home phone is available in two packages, the first of which allows the consumer to purchase the phone upfront for R599, followed by a monthly service fee of R99. “While the product focuses on providing consumers with high-quality voice, they also have the option of utilising data, sms and e-mail, which is provided as part of the service,” Sharma said, adding that a further benefit of Neotel’s home phone was that the service was delivered via a fixed-wireless product. The second package does not require an upfront payment for the phone, and is charged at R199 per month. “Consumers are feeling the pinch of global and local economic pressures and are continuously looking to save costs, but still stay in touch. “At 34 cents per minute for local peak landline calls, and 17 cents per minute for local off-peak landline calls, communicating will become more affordable for the consumer,” Sharma said. Neotel has launched a home phone service in South Africa’s major metropolitan areas, making use of the company’s fixed-wireless network – with local peak rates to all landlines set at almost half the price consumers are currently paying. “Neotel’s home phone is a home phone that offers impeccable voice quality, delivery within 48 hours of successful order completion and no installation required,” he said. “On this package, users receive 1 000 free Neotel-to-Neotel minutes and 200 free sms within Neotel’s coverage area, [with] the free minutes [being] applicable for local, regional and national calls,” Sharma said. Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Springboks win 2009 Tri-Nations

first_img14 September 2009South Africa secured the 2009 Tri-Nations title with a 32-29 win over New Zealand in Hamilton on Saturday. It was the Springboks’ fifth win from six Tri-Nations matches.After the Boks’ somewhat flat display against the Wallabies the previous weekend in Brisbane, where the Australians notched a 21-6 win, SA captain John Smit had come in for plenty of criticism. Against the Kiwis, he answered his critics with an inspired display.He was solid in the scrums and won a hugely important penalty on the hour mark when he overpowered Tony Woodcock with the All Blacks deep in South African territory. He also put in the tackle of the night, smashing Brad Thorn back and forcing the lock to cough up the ball in what some deemed a measure of revenge for Thorn’s spear tackle on Smit in last season’s Tri-Nations competition.InspirationalSmit was also, as usual, inspirational in his role as a leader. The general opinion among leading experts is that he is the finest international captain in the game today.The skipper was well backed up by his deputy Victor Matfield, who was in imperious form at lineout time, turning the All Blacks’ throw-ins into a lottery, and a losing one at that most of the time.In fact, New Zealand failed to win a single lineout in the first half. When they eventually won one in the second half their attempt to move the ball wide went horribly wrong when Jean de Villiers intercepted a Daniel Carter pass and sprinted away for a try.Another of the senior players, Fourie du Preez, was superb in the manner in which he controlled the game from the base of the scrum. Opinion is fairly united that he is the best number nine in the game at present.SensationalAnd Francois Steyn, in his final match before joining French club Racing Metro, was simply sensational with three long-distance kicks at goal. His first kick, from South Africa’s 10-metre line, 60 metres long, silenced the Hamilton crowd. He then followed that up with others successful kicks from 58 and 52 metres.Captain Smit described Steyn’s boot as a “siege gun”.Besides winning the Tri-Nations, South Africa’s third win of the season was the first time the Springboks had managed the feat of three wins in succession over the All Blacks since 1949, when Felix du Plessis, the father of Morne du Plessis, led SA to a 4-0 sweep of New Zealand in South Africa.When South Africa won 30-28 in Dunedin last year, it was the Boks first win in New Zealand in 10 years. Now they have managed two in as many years.Behind earlyThe game got off to a disappointing start for the Springboks when captain Smit was blown up for obstructing while supporting Matfield as he fielded the kick off. It was a disputable award by referee Nigel Owens, but it cost the South Africa as Daniel Carter landed his shot at goal.In the fifth minute, the All Blacks were penalised for going offsides at a ruck. When Francois Steyn indicated he wanted to kick for goals, there were some who laughed at the idea of a 60-metre attempt. When the kick went over, the Waikato Stadium was stunned, causing the shouts to die down in the throats of New Zealand supporters.Three minutes later, Steyn was at it again. Strong defence from the Springboks led to Stephen Donald holding onto the ball on the ground. The SA fullback knocked over another big kick to put South Africa 6-3 in front.LevelThe first scrum took place after about a quarter of an hour. It went down when Bok skipper Smit slipped. Slips are supposed to result in reset scrums, but even though referee Owens acknowledged that it was a slip he awarded a penalty to New Zealand. Carter took advantage of the opportunity to level the scores at 6-6.Only three minutes later, the Boks, despite having played most of the game in their half, were back in the lead. This time it was Morne Steyn who provided the points, calming slotting a drop goal.Midway through the half the Springboks scored the first try of the contest.TryScrumhalf Du Preez hoisted a high-up-and-under onto Joe Rokocoko. Under pressure from the SA number nine, Rokocoko failed to field the ball. Mils Muliaina also couldn’t gather it up, but Bakkies Botha could. He drove towards the tryline and was brought down only a metre short. Du Preez was back up in support and sold a dummy to the short side before forcing his way over for the try.The Springboks’ 10-point lead was soon reduced to seven points when the South African forwards were penalised for entering a ruck from the side. Carter was pinpoint in his accuracy from a difficult angle to make the score 16-9.Fullback Steyn was back to punish the All Blacks shortly after that, converting another penalty from the halfway line to put the Springboks 10 points clear again.FrustrationNew Zealand’s frustration, which was compounded by their inability to win a lineout, cost them points in the 32nd minute when Kieran Read shoulder-charged Bryan Habana after the whistle had sounded. Morne Steyn made them pay with a three-pointer that extended South Africa’s advantage to 22-9.Carter, with another assured kick, made it 22-12 two minutes later after the Boks were blown up for going offsides at a ruck.The teams turned with South Africa in the driving seat; Coming into the game, New Zealand knew they needed wins over the Springboks and Australia, and at least one bonus point, as well as to keep the Boks without a point, in order to be in with a shout if winning the Tri-Nations. It wasn’t going well for the home side.South Africa began the second half strongly, forcing New Zealand to play from inside their half. A drive for the line by Bismarck du Plessis was stopped when SA was blown up for accidental obstruction only five metres from the whitewash.Captain John Smit earned high-fives all round when he crushed Brad Thorn in a tackle, driving the big lock backwards in the air as the ball flew forwards out of his hands and gave the Springboks possession.InterceptionIn the 51st minute, the All Blacks finally won a lineout. They tried to run the ball, but Jean de Villiers read the move perfectly and intercepted Carter’s pass with ease before racing away to score under the posts. Morne Steyn added the extras to put South Africa over two converted tries clear at 29-12 ahead.Four minutes later, the All Blacks hit back. Jimmy Cowan took a quick penalty and fed the ball left. Isaia Toeava, on for Donald, took the outside gap and fed Sitiveni Sivivatu, who went over for the try. Carter’s boot was smoking hot and his conversion attempt was again on the money. 29-19 to the Springboks.Just after the hour-mark, Carter punished Bakkies Botha for side entry at a ruck with a penalty kick that made it 29-22.With 10 minutes to go, the gap was back to 10 points. A clever kick into space by Fourie du Preez left mils Muliaina isolated at the back with Habana and Jaque Fourie on top of him when he field the ball. He was forced to hold onto it on the ground, resulting in a penalty to South Africa. The dependable Morne Steyn slotted the penalty to make it 32-22.The All Blacks were desperately trying to haul in the Springboks, giving the ball air and trying to move it wide, but time after time John Smit and company put in punishing hits to stop the home team’s momentum.Cross kickFinally, with two minutes left on the clock, Carter found captain Richie McCaw with a superb cross kick on the right hand touchline, right on the Springboks’ try line. McCaw fell over for the try and Carter duly converted from the sideline to make it 32-29.The All Blacks surged back onto the attack, looking for a last gasp win and once again they tried to catch the Springboks out with a cross kick to the corner from Carter. His kick, however, passed just over the outstretched arms of lock Isaac Boss and went into touch.The final whistle sounded and South Africa had won their third Tri-Nations title and their first since 2004.South Africa’s trophy cabinet now includes the Tri-Nations trophy, the World Cup, the Nelson Mandela Challenge Plate (for beating Australia overall in the Tri-Nations), the Freedom Cup (for beating New Zealand overall in the Tri-Nations), the British and Irish Lion series trophy, the Super 14 trophy, and the IRB Sevens World Series Trophy. It’s been an excellent year for the country’s rugby teams.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Africa, mining industry ‘must grow together’

first_img3 February 2014A major shift in how mining companies operate in Africa is required for the industry to contribute effectively to the continent’s growth, South African Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu told the Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town on Monday.“This should entail a shift from the exporting of largely raw material to ensuring that minerals serve as a catalyst for accelerated industrialisation through mineral value-addition,” Shabangu said in her opening address to the 2nd annual Mining Indaba Ministerial Symposium.“This will also require development corridors that are a subject of multi-purpose infrastructure development.”Shabangu pointed out that mineral resources generally occured in remote areas that were often characterised by high levels of poverty, the marginalisation of host indigenous communities, and a lack of of both physical and social infrastructure.She said that the financing of multi-purpose infrastructure development should not be the burden of one stakeholder at the expense of another, as had been the case in the past.“It requires clear goals and objectives to be outlined, infrastructure requirements delineated and costed, and partners in development to agree on a creative win-win formula for financing of such infrastructure that will deliver ‘Africa’s Promise’ and enable the emergence of a resilient African continent.”She further stressed the importance for African mining development to be integrated and interlinked with infrastructure development initiatives such as the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa that had been adopted by the African Union (AU).The programme, which is led by the AU and chaired by South African President Jacob Zuma, seeks to integrate regional and continental infrastructure networks and services in order to improve intra-African trade and promote socio-economic development on the continent.Shabangu also highlighted the need to establish enduring partnerships between Africa and mining development partners, based on their respective strengths, in order to achieve mutual development priorities.However, she said it was important that Africa’s “mining vision” be driven and led by Africans, who had to ensure that Africa’s mineral resources were exploited in an equitable and optimal manner that underpinned sustainable, inclusive growth and socio-economic development.At the same time, the exploitation of these resources “should be undertaken in a manner that addresses environmental concerns, especially on water and biodiversity and other related mining pollution”.Source: SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more

The Perfect Job is a Myth

first_img“Land the job that gets you here so you can work to get the job that keeps you here.”I tell this to every current intern or job-seeker who wants to move to Washington, DC. Unless you’ve got a lot of money saved or a source of “supplemental income,” you’ve only got a finite amount of time to find a paid gig. Many job seekers spend all of their time looking for their dream job. You’re going about it the wrong way.Your dream job today won’t necessarily be your dream job in 10 years. And if it still is, you won’t be able to get there if you’re only willing to wait for that one perfect job. Opportunities are not guaranteed for anyone.Here are some helpful tips that can speed up your job search:1.  Make a list of organizations, companies, and causes you are interested in working for and find out what open positions they currently have. If your dream job isn’t on that list, so what? The staff assistant opening listed today could turn into that policy job you really want tomorrow. Many places hire from within, and you’ll have the advantage other jobseekers lack.2.  If you need to pay the bills, you are not above any (legal) job. If your dream is to live in Washington, DC, do what it takes to get here. If those interviews just aren’t working out, there is nothing wrong with getting a job at a restaurant or small business that will help pay your bills while you’re still looking for full-time work. In fact, I know many people who have full-time jobs that work part-time gigs so they can expand their network. That person you met while waiting tables could end up offering you a chance to interview at their company.3.  You are not tied to the first job you take. My first job in DC was in an industry I had absolutely no interest in, but I needed a paycheck. I was there for approximately eight months before I was recruited for a new position off of Conservative Jobs. By no means am I advocating that you jump from job to job early in your career, but know that you will get more opportunities if you are currently employed in the city in which you want to live.4.  Have an open mind. Perhaps this is wisdom that comes from being in the work force for over a decade, but most people don’t really know what they want to do. Choose opportunities that allow you to learn how to work hard and get results. Working hard doing things you don’t necessarily want to do will allow you to eventually narrow down what you enjoy doing. That is when careers begin.If you work hard, produce results, and expand your network, you will eventually get that dream job. But for now, focus on getting that first job that allows you to be in Washington, DC. Patricia Simpson is Director of Political and Career Programs at the Leadership Institute.last_img read more