SDG Agricultural Advisory Board to sprout from new Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan

United Counties of SDG headquarters on Pitt Street, Cornwall. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

CORNWALL — Agriculture is reaping renewed attention under a new Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan that places substantial emphasis on the farming sector in Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. An ‘Agricultural Advisory Board’ is already in the works as a result of the newly enshrined document approved this week by United Counties Council.

“This plan will provide direction for our strong agriculture sector base in SDG,” says Terry Besner, economic development and communications officer, on the plan prepared by  MDB Insight. “Agriculture plays such an important role, I’m looking forward to the creation of an Agricultural Advisory Board that will be comprised of key partners and agriculturally-focused champions.  The activity that this Board will undertake ties into all agriculture-related opportunities, from local food, to agri-tourism and farmers’ markets, to direct business growth and value-chain spinoff.”

The upper-tier council adopted the plan presented by its contracted consultant Jan. 23 at SDG’s Pitt Street headquarters in Cornwall.

The same consulting firm has simultaneously created individual economic strategy plans in four participating townships — North Dundas, North Stormont, South Stormont, and North Glengarry.

Last done in 2012, the United Counties’ update covers a five-year outlook through 2021. Expected to guide county economic development and communications officials over that period of time, the new plan aims for strategic goals of:

  • Regional Promotion and Investment Attraction
  • Small Business and Entrepreneurship and Business Retention and Expansion
  • Investment Readiness.

The Economic Strategic Action Plan/Work Plan serves as a roadmap that will take us from where we are today to where we want Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry to be in the future,” says SDG Warden Jim Bancroft.

Officials also tout the plan because it:  

  • Summarizes the most relevant changes in SDG’s demographic makeup;
  • Identifies immediate, short- and long-term priority initiatives as well as corresponding action items;
  • Rolls up common goals, priorities and areas of responsibility at a regional level;         
  • Provides metrics for measuring the progress and success of each of the identified initiatives.

“We are looking forward to working closely with our local municipalities, SDG residents and businesses as the new strategies are implemented over the next few years.  The timing is right as the county strives to continually enhance economic development and regional tourism marketing services,” says Tim Simpson, Chief Administrative Officer.

The complete Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan Update as well as the Economic and Agriculture Base Analysis – Technical Report, are available from the Economic Development and Communications Division of the Corporate Services Department.

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