By: Bruce Buttar
Director, Ontario Federation of Agriculture
One year ago, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) unveiled a plan to promote rural economic growth in the province with its Producing Prosperity in Ontario campaign as a focus for the provincial election campaign. OFA’s focus on growing Ontario’s agri-food sector and rural communities has gained momentum throughout the past year, and OFA members are heading to Hamilton next week to attend the 2018 AGM to continue the conversation and celebrate successes.
This year’s AGM theme is an extension of the campaign for rural economic growth – Prosperity Grows Here. The theme celebrates the opportunities Ontario’s agri-food industry and rural communities offer for the economic wellbeing of the entire province. The event runs November 19-20 in Hamilton and will draw more than 350 OFA members, industry representatives and government.
Keynote speaker and author of 13 Ways to Kill Your Community, Doug Griffiths will highlight the importance of rural and small communities. There will be leadership elections for two vice president positions and one director-at-large. And five workshops will cover mental wellbeing, technology and data on the farm, succession planning, supporting value-added opportunities and how to influence municipal politicians. All speakers and workshop topics support this year’s event theme and provide learning and interactive opportunities for event attendees.
OFA’s continued focus on prosperity stems from successes the organization has seen over the past year. The Producing Prosperity in Ontario theme drove OFA’s provincial election campaign in 2018, where the organization outlined a plan to deliver economic growth for the province. As a result, OFA has been diligently working with the new provincial government, asking them to invest in the agri-food sector and rural communities to boost jobs, build affordable housing and secure a sustainable local food system. And our efforts are beginning to pay off. Ontarians have seen new programs to expand natural gas, a more affordable energy option, revisions to labour regulations that will help farm employers and a commitment to reduce legislative red tape.