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New president confirmed for Quebec’s UPA

A dairyman from southern Quebec’s Chaudiere-Appalaches region is formally the new head of the province’s ubiquitous and influential general farmers’ organization.

Marcel Groleau, a dairy producer from Thetford Mines, was acclaimed Thursday as the new president of the Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA), replacing Christian Lacasse, who chose not to seek a third term.

Groleau, who had served on the UPA’s executive committee from 2005 to 2009 and again since June, had run against Lacasse for the group’s leadership in 2009 and was narrowly defeated.

He comes to the post with a resume of commodity group leadership, most notably as president of the Federation des producteurs de lait du Quebec (FPLQ) since 2004.

The UPA’s two vice-presidents, dairy and maple syrup producer Pierre Lemieux of Cap-St-Ignace and livestock producer Denis Bilodeau of Warwick, were also acclaimed to their posts.

Groleau said in a release Thursday that Quebec’s farmers don’t want to their industry to be perceived as a burden on the public, but rather as an economic driver for the province and its regions.

Agriculture, he said, "must be viewed for what it is: a profitable investment, in the same fashion as other sectors receiving public support, such as aluminum or video games."

The executive elections were held as part of the UPA’s annual convention, which wrapped up Thursday in Quebec City.

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