By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com
Farmers like to wear hats. It’s part of their signature look. And now that we are in election mode in Ontario, farmers are demanding to be heard. But they are competing with many other groups who are also trying to grab politicians’ attention, so that’s why farmers representing the non-supply managed farm sectors took the time to get clever with their messaging.
In a true farmer fashion, hats were used as a prop to get their message across. Members of the Ontario Agricultural Sustainability Coalition (OASC) gathered on a farm near Staffa, Ont., where they took off their hats and raised their hands high, and asked the various parties to support their campaign to “raise the cap for RMP.” RMP stands for Risk Management Program.
Their message is simple – raise the cap to $175-million, $25-million per year for the next three years. Currently, the cap is set at $100-million per a year. OASC represents more than 50,000 farms. Participating commodities include – grains and oilseeds, beef, pork, veal, sheep, fruit and vegetable sectors.
“Business risk management tools are essential for farmers who want to invest in their operations, foster long term growth and create jobs.” said Henry Van Ankum, Wellington County area farmer and Chairman of OASC.
But farmers argue that the recently imposed funding level on RMP is not enough for farmers to deal with fluctuating costs and volatile market prices. It “is proving to be inadequate to provide the kind of price stability that the farms we represent need to weather the storms of the market place,” he explained.
Van Ankum also acknowledged the political candidates in crowd. “We are very pleased to see a number of candidates here today,” he said.
Candidates who attended the event included, two Perth-Wellington hopefuls - Stewart Skinner (Liberal), Romayne Smith Fullerton (NDP) and Mike Radan (Liberal) running in the riding of Lambton-Kent-Middlesex.
(Photo: Members of the Ontario Agricultural Sustainability Coalition raising their caps in support of an increase in RMP funding).