CFFO: Farmland Preservation is a Top CFFO Priority in 2014-2015

By Nathan Stevens
July 4, 2014

The preservation of our best farmland is a top policy priority for the CFFO. There are a multitude of important areas where our efforts will be concentrated over the next year. There are on-going efforts to strengthen the agricultural easement process that is available through the Ontario Farmland Trust, as well as the impending reviews of the various land use plans around the Greater Toronto Area. From the perspective of the CFFO, there are reasons to believe that positive gains are a possibility in the years ahead.

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In the area of agricultural easements, there is reason to hope for progress. The Ontario Liberal Party pledged in its election campaign to support easements through its “Farms Forever” initiative. The CFFO believes that this has the potential to be a vital step forward in the preservation of our best farmland in this province. There are considerable costs that farmers and the Ontario Farmland Trust undertake to complete an easement on a farm property. There are survey, legal and a host other small costs that need to be covered to complete this important work.

As we move into the review period of the Greenbelt Plan, the Niagara Escarpment Plan and the Oak Ridges Morraine Plan, it is promising that the current minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Ted McMeekin, is a former Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Minister. This is a sign that the review of these plans will be very sensitive to the needs of agricultural land. The CFFO is looking forward to working on strengthening farmland protection while also ensuring that farmers within the greenbelt have the flexibility to grow their businesses.

Farmland preservation is a key priority for the Christian Farmers Federation. There is a growing recognition that farmland is essential to the future of feeding a hungry world in the eyes of the general public. We hope that the initiatives that are being worked on by our government and other key organizations will continue to strengthen farmland preservation for the good of all Ontarians.

Nathan Stevens is the General Manager and Director of Policy Development for the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario. The CFFO Commentary represents the opinions of the writer and does not necessarily represent CFFO policy. The CFFO Commentary is heard weekly on CFCO Chatham, CKNX Wingham, and UCB Canada radio stations in Chatham, Belleville, Bancroft, Brockville and Kingston. It is also archived on the CFFO website: www.christianfarmers.org. CFFO is supported by 4,000 family farmers across Ontario.