Farms Action Now – a farm driven science-based blueprint
A newly formed coalition group called Farm Action Now, which is comprised of several Ontario commodity organizations, is working towards the development of a farmer-driven science-based blueprint on the future of agriculture in the province. Grain Farmers of Ontario, Ontario Canola Growers, Ontario Bean Growers, Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Growers, and Ontario Pork, with support from other agricultural organizations, have joined forces to ensure that government regulations are made with a clear understanding of the practicality of on-farm implementation and down-stream implications.
The coalition group would like to see the appointment of an agriculture commissioner to advise the government on the implications of existing and new regulations and to help grow the agriculture sector in Ontario. "Shortly, the government will announce the most restrictive measures yet," said Henry Van Ankum, Chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario. "We need to halt policies and practices that restrict growth and threaten the future of Ontario's farming sector."
The group plans to develop a balanced plan to reasonably evaluate the challenges with government agricultural policy and process, with focus on the responsible regulation of agricultural practices, access to science and technology such as pesticides and seed treatments, and on-farm implementation of regulatory changes.
"We're all in this together and this isn't just about farmers – it's about the future of Ontario as a whole," emphasized Ray Duc, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association. "We want to send a message from farmers and about farmers, but one that is aimed at benefitting all Ontarians."
The group plans to consult with industry stakeholders including farmers, beekeepers, rural municipal representatives, environmental groups and Chambers of Commerce.