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Ontario losing productive farmland at alarming rate

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture is reaching out to the public, asking for them to support a campaign to raise awareness about disappearing agricultural land in the province.

The OFA’s Home Grown campaign has collected more than 55,000 signatures.

According to the 2021 Canadian Census of Agriculture, since 2016 the number of farms in Ontario has decreased 2.5 per cent to 48,346, and the total farm area has decreased by 4.7 per cent to 11,766,071 acres.

A news release from the OFA points out that approximately five per cent of Ontario’s land is considered arable.

Jackie Kelly-Pemberton is the Zone 11 director on the OFA’s board of directors. She  represents the counties of Dundas, Frontenac and Leeds and Grenville and farms cattle, hay and cash crops with her husband in Winchester, south of Ottawa.

“We’re losing an average of 319 acres of productive farmland every day,” Kelly-Pemberton told the Whig-Standard in a phone interview on the weekend. “When you lose these lands to urban homes or parking lots, they will not ever return (to being farmland).”

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