Organization hopes to build a case to make the program more effective
By Kaitlynn Anderson
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) wants farmers to share their thoughts on, and experiences with, the Ontario Wildlife Damage Compensation Program during the current government consultations.
Many farmers have encountered issues with the program since the government introduced changes last year.
“New program guidelines … have created problems for livestock producers making claims and municipal investigators who are responsible for investigating claims,” Pat Jilesen, director of the OFA, said in a Friday release.
“The main challenge associated with the program is ensuring producers with valid claims are approved for compensation in a fair and consistent manner, regardless of region or previous claim history,” Richard Horne, manager of policy and issues with the Beef Farmers of Ontario, said to Better Farming last month.
Producers have also faced difficulties proving that an eligible predator caused the kill or injury, Ben Lefort, a farm policy researcher for the OFA, said in the Better Farming article.
While the OFA has worked with livestock groups to address the issues with the program, it is now looking for members to share their experiences with the claims process. The organization also wants to know about any preventative measures producers have taken to deter predators, according to the OFA release.
These examples will help the organization make its case to the government about the need to improve the program, the release stated.
The Honourable Jeff Leal, minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs, announced last month that the ministry and its partners would work “in the coming months to examine the program to ensure farmers are being fairly compensated for their losses.”
Producers who would like to share their experiences are encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org.