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Ontario Invests in Building Rural Leaders


The Ontario government announced an investment of up to $836,250 over three years to support rural communities. This initiative aims to enhance the capacity of volunteers and organizations across the province, with a focus on agricultural societies. 

"Ontario's agricultural societies play a vital role in rural communities," stated Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. "This investment demonstrates our appreciation for their dedication and leadership." 

The funding will be used by the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies (OAAS) in collaboration with the Rural Ontario Institute (ROI) to deliver training and workshops. These programs will focus on leadership, governance, and community engagement, benefiting over 200 agricultural societies across Ontario.  

Additionally, resources will be developed to assist societies in organizing events that promote agriculture and the agri-food industry. 

"This initiative is an investment in the future of agricultural societies," said Vince Brennan, Executive Director of the OAAS. "It strengthens leadership, ensures the vitality of the agri-food sector, and benefits rural communities." 

Agricultural societies are primarily volunteer-driven organizations that play a crucial role in educating the public about agriculture and celebrating rural life. This investment supports these societies, ensuring their traditions and economic contributions can continue to thrive.  

By fostering leadership and engagement within the agricultural and food industry, the initiative strengthens rural communities while preserving the tradition of showcasing the "best of the best" in community, homecraft, and agricultural competitions at local fairs. 

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