In Ontario, there may be some unrest between producer groups and commodity organizations (see earlier posts about soybean growers opt-out opt-in decision), but it's fair to say relations between the province and the largest general farm organization, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, are at an all-time high. Check this open letter to Premier Dalton McGuinty from federation president Geri Kamenz:
Open letter to thank the Premier
By Geri Kamenz, President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture
When a decision is made that is right for Ontario agriculture, it is only right that those responsible get a message of appreciation from the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.
That’s why we’re sending an open letter to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and his colleagues at Queen’s Park. That’s why we recommend that farmers across the province contact their MPP, both Liberal and opposition members, to pass on the industry’s appreciation.
Our sincere appreciation is going out to the Ontario government for its recent decision to get 130 million into the hands of beef, pork and horticultural producers. Current economic conditions have resulted in devastating losses for these producers. Many are on the brink of getting out of agriculture because they can’t survive any longer. The government announcement may provide some breathing room and hope to these producers.
Our letter states the government decision to provide the special funding ‘shows an understanding and appreciation of the agricultural sector, its impact on the well-being of Ontarians and the livelihoods of the 650,000 Ontarians who depend on the farm sector for their jobs.’
We note to the Premier and his colleagues that with such investments the government ‘clearly communicate that the success of Ontario farm families is the foundation of strong rural communities, a healthier population, and a cleaner and more sustainable environment.’
The province’s assistance to agriculture is just a part of the formula we know is essential to the future success of Ontario agriculture. Another element of the formula is a recognition by our federal government that Ontario agriculture needs Ottawa’s active participation to develop long-term programs and plans that work in Ontario. Our letter to Premier McGuinty promises OFA’s support and the participation of all farmers to secure action from Ottawa.
‘We will stand with you to secure the programs, funding and trade policies fundamental to the success of Ontario agriculture and the Ontario economy as a whole,’ the letter states.
Recent announcements from Ottawa have been speaking of programs previously announced. Most recently the pork industry wondered out loud exactly what Minister Ritz was offering its beleagured producers. The conclusion seemed to be: “nothing new was coming from Ottawa.”
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture and its federal partner, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, will continue to work together to convince our federal government that more needs to be done to ensure Canadian agriculture has the regionally effective programs and policies we need.
Farmers across Canada play a critical role in feeding the citizens with safe, nutritious food – all part of keeping Canada a sovereign nation. Our federal politicians need to be reminded that money invested in agriculture goes a long way to keep the citizens and the economy strong and healthy.