OFA: Pounding the pavement for agriculture at Queen’s Park (2014)

By Mark Wales, President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

Growing Ontario is the focus for the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) this year. We’re using the theme to align our messages and capture the exciting opportunities in Ontario’s agri-food industry. We are poised for growth and with a coordinated effort from government, industry and Ontario farmers we can move our sector even farther forward. The OFA sees opportunities to expand our agri-food production, capture more domestic and export markets, develop new products and create new jobs.

The OFA first introduced Growing Ontario in our provincial election campaign, reminding candidates how important agriculture is to Ontario’s economy and we are continuing those discussions in the halls of Queen’s Park.

While our members have been working hard to bring in the harvest, OFA board representatives have organized key meetings with MPPs to talk about how our sector is Growing Ontario, and what we need for continued growth.

In late October, the OFA presented the case for expanded access to affordable natural gas in rural Ontario. We also met with new MPPs to introduce them to the work of the OFA and the importance of our agri-food sector to the provincial economy.

On November 5, the OFA served up a farmer-style breakfast to the Liberal Caucus. This venue provided a perfect backdrop to present the issues that need to be addressed by government and policymakers to enable Ontario’s agri-food industry to meet the Premier’s challenge to create 120,000 new jobs by 2020.

Along with breakfast, the OFA served up our key priorities for Growing Ontario. We talked about natural gas and made a case for improved food literacy. We emphasized the ongoing need for agri-skills training to fuel our growth. We reiterated the need for rural Ontario to receive its fair share of rural infrastructure funding. And we addressed the need for agriculture to be at the table when new policies and programs are developed to address climate change.

The OFA is encouraged by the level of interest in the Ontario agri-food industry at Queen’s Park. When we can share our vision and demonstrate how our activities align with every Ontario ministry and the mandates of all Ministers, we know these are the open discussions that we need for Growing Ontario.

For more information, contact:

Mark Wales
Ontario Federation of Agriculture

Neil Currie
General Manager
Ontario Federation of Agriculture


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