Photo courtesy of Ontario Farm Animal Council.

Last week, Ontario beef and pork producers got together to publicly plead for government support for an insurance program to protect them from wild swings in the marketplace.

They call this program their number one priority, boldfaced in a news release distributed far and wide.

They’re taking a new approach to rally support. They say they need this insurance program — to which they would pay 30 per cent of the premium (with the provincial and federal governments picking up the rest) — to “capitalize on a growing consumer demand for locally grown, safe, environmentally responsible food … (grown by) Ontario’s local farmers.”

Smart.  People are starting to get the message that local food is not restricted to only those with small farms, niche products and roadside sales. Local agriculture also includes crops and livestock that need further processing and are not immediately seen as consumer products, but are nonetheless vital for the sector.

I write about their appeal for support in my Urban Cowboy column in the Guelph Mercury.