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OFA wants stronger ag communities with Ford gov’t

OFA wants stronger ag communities with Ford gov’t

OFA seeks to work with provincial government to expand reach of supply chain resiliency, land preservation, and distributed economic development.

By Andrew Joseph,; Image via OFA

While sometimes familiarity breeds contempt, or so the old adage goes—the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) instead sees the re-election of Premiere Doug Ford as an opportunity.

With an election that essentially returned the status quo to Queen’s Park, the OFA said that it is looking forward to continuing to work with the provincial government and opposition Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) to build a stronger agriculture industry and rural Ontario.

In a released statement, the OFA noted that agriculture is a critical economic engine in Ontario, and with the right policies and political support it can be a key driver of the province’s recovery from the pandemic.

The agri-food sector contributes $47 billion a year to the economy, and supports over 860,400 jobs across the province.

OFA’s statement congratulated Premier Doug Ford and his Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario on their return for a second majority term, and is looking forward to building on existing relationships with returning MPPs and forging new ones with newly elected representatives.

For the OFA, relationship building and collaboration with government policymakers is vital to ensuring that agriculture priorities remain at the forefront.

As the leading advocacy voice for farmers and their communities at Queen’s Park, OFA looks to expand and amplify the economic and social importance of agri-food in Ontario.

“We are excited to build on past relationships and create new ones with recently elected MPPs,” stated Peggy Brekveld, OFA President. "Ontario's agriculture story is exciting and growing, if you'll pardon the pun. Now is the best time to collaborate on a long-term strategic investment approach for rural Ontario to ensure our agri-food industry can continue to drive our economy forward.”

Heading into this second term of Doug Ford leadership, the OFA aims to work with the government on:

  • Supply chain resiliency: The pandemic underscored how fragile our supply chains can be and the importance of protecting domestic sources of food production. The OFA maintains the supply chain can be bolstered with policies that address the labour shortage in the sector, with an estimated shortfall of 29,000 farm workers currently facing the sector. Promoting jobs across the agricultural chain and creating pathways for temporary foreign workers to get permanent residency status will help create a more sustainable workforce.
  • Land preservation: The OFA’s mission is Farms and Food Forever, and to meet that mission Ontario needs to preserve what is perhaps its most valuable, but finite, resource—farmland. According to the 2021 Census of Agriculture, Ontario is losing 319 acres of productive farmland every day—the equivalent of nine family farms every week. Strong policies are needed to contain urban growth within existing urban boundaries, while consumers are encouraged to continue to look for local products on the shelves of their local grocery stores.
  • Distributed economic development: The economic importance of the agri-food sector has been noted. Investing in critical infrastructure in rural Ontario will bolster this and ensure food, fuel, fibre, and flowers get to market safely and efficiently. Long-term infrastructure investments in rural roads and bridges, affordable access to natural gas, continued expansion of rural broadband and building stronger social infrastructure will attract new businesses and residents to rural communities.

“As the largest general farm organization in the province, we want to ensure all of our farmers and their neighbours have access to the critical tools, resources and support necessary to keep their businesses strong, profitable and sustainable so they can continue to feed families across the province,” stated Brekveld.

The OFA represents 38,000 farm families across Ontario, a farmer-led organization based in Guelph, it works to represent and champion the interests of Ontario farmers through government relations, farm policy recommendations, research, lobby efforts, community representation, media relations and more.

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