When CN Rail workers went on strike on November 19, they put the Canadian agriculture sector in jeopardy. CN is Canada’s biggest rail network and the strike of more than 3,000 workers is already impacting the agricultural sector. Canadian farmers are in the middle of one of the toughest harvest seasons and with early winter weather already hitting much of the country, farmers are now contending with issues related to the availability of propane for grain farms and livestock and poultry operations.
Natural gas is the cleanest, most affordable and efficient fossil fuel available in Ontario to heat our homes and use in commercial and industrial processes. Renewable natural gas offers an even better option for a more environmentally sustainable source of energy for the province, and agricultural byproducts can help fuel this cleaner energy.
Greater access to natural gas has significant implications for Ontario farmers, and is an infrastructure priority for our province. We know it’s a more affordable option. It will dramatically boost business opportunities by significantly lowering energy costs for farms and rural communities. In fact, it’s estimated that the energy savings for Ontario’s farm sector alone would be up to $200 million every year.
Strong leadership forms the foundation of any government, organization and business. We’ve seen our fair share of leaders vying for recognition and positions lately with the federal election, and it’s a good reminder of the qualities that make successful leadership.
Speaking with one voice and working together to strengthen Ontario agriculture has long been a strategic goal for Ontario’s agricultural industry. And with a new federal minority government, Ontario farmers and voters across the country are counting on our elected officials to work together and put Canadians ahead of political party differences.
As a grassroots organization, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) represents issues and advocates for actions that matter to our 38,000 farm members. So when we heard from members about road safety concerns when farm equipment travels the roadways during busy spring and fall seasons, we developed a road safety campaign to remind all drivers about how to safely share the road.
Reducing our environmental footprint is on every farmer’s agenda. We’re always looking for ways to improve water quality and preserve natural wildlife habitats as we continually adjust our farming practices to leave our soil and water in better shape for the next generation.
Every farmer works in concert with the natural environment. Water, air and soil are the backbone of our farm businesses, and we understand the importance of sound resource management.
The health of Ontario’s agri-food sector depends on the strength of our rural communities and regional economies. That shouldn’t be a new message to anyone in agricultural circles. When the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) advocates for our industry it always includes our rural communities. And those communities are as strong as the investments made in infrastructure to ensure they are viable, competitive and connected.
As the federal government moves forward with plans for an offset system to address greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, OFA continues to advocate for the positive role agriculture has in addressing climate change. The recent release of the government’s proposed emissions pricing system – that includes the use of carbon offset credits – brings to light the work that OFA has long been focused on to show the positive contributions agriculture makes in reducing greenhouse gases.