By Mark Reusser
Vice President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture
Over the past few weeks, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) delivered 13 priority letters to several provincial ministries outlining the key issues and concerns for Ontario agriculture and our rural communities. These letters outline the short-term areas on which OFA feels the ministers can make quick improvements for the benefit of our farm members.
Since the PC government took power in Ontario this summer, OFA has been working to introduce the new government to the agri-food sector – highlighting the depth and diversity of our economic powerhouse. We also continue to work on a long-term investment strategy by working with government policymakers to support economic growth and competitiveness in our industry and in our rural communities.
OFA’s letters follow a simple format – providing a context for the issues governed by the ministry and OFA’s request for action and next steps. We’ve covered issues from rural economic development, rural school closures, the state of rural roadways, excess soil management, the proposed high-speed rail line, farm property tax and farm labour.
We have delivered letters to the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the Minister of Education, the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, the Minister of Transportation, the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, the Minister of Finance, and the Minister of Labour.
Two issues have been touched on in recent government announcements, providing positive news for the agriculture sector – addressing the concerns raised by farmers with the Ontario Wildlife Damage Compensation Program and proposed new legislation to expand access to natural gas in rural and northern Ontario.
We look forward to continuing to make inroads for Ontario farmers and rural communities across the range of provincial ministries that impact life, work and business in rural Ontario.
OFA priority letters are at ofa.on.ca under the Resources section.