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BIL 97: Farmers urged to lobby provincial politicians

GUELPH — The National Farmers Union – Ontario (NFU-O), Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), and the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario (CFFO), along with numerous commodity and agricultural organizations are united in their opposition to Bill 97 and the Proposed Provincial Planning Statement.

Together, they are urging farmers to tell their MPPs and Minister Clark that they oppose Bill 97 and the Proposed Provincial Planning Statement, and that the government should abandon its proposal to allow for the severing of farmland parcels, in recognition of the current and future value of agriculture to the province’s economy, to our long-term food security, and long-term vibrant rural communities.

The Ontario government’s newly introduced Bill 97 and Proposed Provincial Planning Statement will weaken farmland protections by allowing up to three lot severances per farm parcel in prime agricultural areas province-wide for residential, non-farm uses in addition to weakening important protections for specialty crop areas.

“This legislation will have impact on all Ontario farmers now and in the future. It will fragment and permanently remove farmland from productive agricultural use, and limit farm business growth,” states Peggy Brekveld, President of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture. “Ontario’s productive farmland is a scarce resource, making up less than five per cent of all the land in the province. Agricultural production is the most valued and best use of this land.”

“Directing growth to settlement areas, urban and rural is better for both agriculture and municipalities,” adds Max Hansgen, President, National Farmers Union – Ontario. “Housing needs can be met in serviced settlement areas on a much smaller land base, reducing farmland loss and potential land use conflicts while ensuring efficient use of municipal infrastructure investments.”

“As farm leaders and organizations, we have worked diligently to manage and mitigate conflict between farming and non-farming neighbours in all types of agriculture,” says Ed Scharringa, President of the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario. “The proposed changes will exacerbate conflict between farming and non-farming neighbours for all aspects of farming including application of crop nutrition and crop protection products, wildlife control and more.”

Source : Farmersforum

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