Huron County Federation Of Agriculture Holds Annual Meeting

Huron County Federation of Agriculture President Erica Murray addressing the 2017 HCFA Annual Meeting in Holmesville. October 26th, 2017 (Photo by Ryan Drury)

The Huron County Federation of Agriculture held it’s annual meeting Thursday night to elect their board, as well as to elect new Ontario Federation of Agriculture convention delegates and policy advisers.

HCFA President Erica Murray says that in terms of agricultural issues like the NAFTA negotiations, local farmers want to see certain things maintained.

“We want to see supply management be maintained. It was brought in for a reason, and that reason is still there. So, everything I’ve read so far, our Minister of Agriculture and the Prime Minister are advocating for maintaining supply management.”

Many topics were discussed at the meeting, including new tax reforms and Bill 148 regarding minimum wage. Murray says with an upcoming election, it’s vital that the province listens to the agricultural community.

“Whether it’s with our MP Ben Lobb, or MPP Lisa Thompson, or going up to the provincial level with the OFA, and having them work with their contacts within the provincial government, it’s an election year. So, it will be about listening to what the candidates are saying, asking those probing questions, to make sure that our concerns are being heard.”

Regarding the minimum wage increase, Murray notes while that looks good on paper, the added costs to the agriculture sector and farmers isn’t something they’re happy with.

“Minimum wage goes up means cost for businesses goes up, which means they’re prices go up, which means cost of living goes up. Staggering it in, allowing businesses to absorb those costs, and plan for the future, is the better route to take we feel, than a straight 30 percent jump.”

Also at the meeting, former Minister of Agriculture Jack Riddell was inducted into the HCFA Hall of Fame. Riddell served under the Liberal government as the Minister of Agriculture from 1985-89.

Former Minister of Agriculture Jack Riddell speaks after being inducted into the Huron County Federation of Agriculture Hall of Fame, at the HCFA annual meeting in Holmesville. October 26th, 2017 (Photo by Ryan Drury)