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OFA resolutions focus on risk management, wild parsnips but shy away from carbon credits, at AGM

TORONTO — The Ontario Federation of Agriculture pondered six resolutions at the organization’s online 2021 annual general meeting on Nov. 22.

The OFA demanded that the Co-operators insure older barns. Here are three other resolutions:

More timely Business Risk Management programs (approved)

Leeds also spearheaded a Business Risk Management resolution for more predictable timing of payouts from ag support programs. Approved by a nearly 82% vote, it compels the OFA to work with the Beef Farmers of Ontario, Agricorp, and the provincial ag minister towards a “multi-year approval process for agriculture support programmes, so that, year-over-year, coverage expecta- tions are predictable and repeatable and on time.” Ryan Passey explained that the pandemic exposed a timing weakness in the current program, resulting in a 2-month delay in beef sector payouts this year. “You’re now carrying input costs out of pocket,” he said.

Wild parsnip and noxious weeds on public land (approved)

Lanark County successfully took aim at wild parsnip and other noxious weeds on public lands and along municipal and provincial roadways. Its resolution called on the OFA to lobby a number of bodies to better control and inspect for weeds on those public lands. After some tweaking of the language to include private property, the resolution was approved by 94.5% of voters.

Derek Oliver said members in his county have been complaining about wild parsnip — known for its blistering effects on exposed skin — along roads and Highway 7. “Mowing has fallen behind in the last year…. We would hope to increase awareness of noxious weeds across all levels of government and more proactive management approaches,” said Oliver.

Calls for a carbon credit payment program (defeated)

Oxford County’s call for a carbon credit payment program, based on the carbon already sequestered on farm- land, was narrowly defeated, 51.8% to 48.2% after “gentle opposition” to the resolution voiced by a couple of members.

A livestock producer raised concerns that asking for carbon credits “by definition means we are endorsing a carbon tax … and has ramifications we need to be aware of.” On that last point, he noted that a cash-cropper may be viewed as sequestering carbon, while a beef farmer is tarred as a net emitter. 

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