Queen’s Park MPPs left Toronto last week, returning to their local constituencies for an extended summer break. That means your local politicians will be in and around the community over the next five months, providing a great opportunity to talk with them about the issues impacting the agri-food sector and the action and support we need when the house sits again in the fall.
Mental wellness on the farm is gaining momentum as the industry draws attention to the impact silent suffering has on the health of our farms, families and rural communities. The federal government recently released a new report, Mental Health – A Priority for our Farmers, based on a six-month study conducted last year on the mental health challenges facing Canadian producers.
The provincial government recently released a discussion paper – Modernizing Ontario’s Environmental Assessment Program – as they consider changes to the Environmental Assessment Act. The government has asked for public input on the proposed vision for the environmental assessment program based on the discussion paper.
Ontario’s farm workforce is changing. More farmers are retiring, selling their farms or transitioning the business to the next generation. Younger farm faces are making more purchasing and management decisions. And while technology and automation are changing the way many farm businesses operate, Ontario remains Canada’s largest agricultural employer and we rely heavily on a skilled labour force that is increasingly shrinking.
Trespassing on farm property is a growing concern for Ontario farmers. From rural trail hikers detouring into a pasture to ATV drivers ruining crops, farmers have dealt with all types of unwanted visitors on the farm who leave varying degrees of damage. The latest threat to farmers, especially livestock farmers and transporters is the increasing risk of activists trespassing, invading, breaking into barns and harassing farmers, their families and employees.
Changes are being made to Ontario’s Endangered Species Act and the government is welcoming comments on proposed revisions. This legislation impacts Ontario farmers who often deal with the habitats of many endangered, threatened and species of special concern on and around their farms.
Wildlife damage to livestock and crops continues to plague farmers. From coyotes attacking flocks of sheep to geese and cranes eating fields of newly emerged wheat or corn, farmers face the effects of nature in everything they farm.
As Canada’s on-farm plastic recycling program celebrates 30 years of turning old jugs into new opportunities, the organization behind it has set a new challenge for the agriculture industry. Cleanfarms is calling on farmers to make 2019 the year that every on-farm plastic jug is recycled.
Last week’s provincial budget announcement provided Ontarians plenty of material to sift through. From budget cuts to investment promises, the government appeared to include something for everyone in the 343-page document.
Changes are coming to animal care enforcement in Ontario. Earlier this year, the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) announced they would not sign a new contract for their services with the Ontario government.