CFFO: Hosting premier and fellow MPPs on farm tour
By Marie Versteeg
The CFFO’s Executive Board brought key concerns to elected officials this week during a farm tour in Lynden. Issues discussed ranged from the importance of farmland preservation to concerns about animal activism. Special guests included Premier Doug Ford, MPP Randy Pettapiece (representing the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs) and local MPPs Will Bouma, Belinda Karahalios, and Donna Skelly.
CFFO Board members and MPPs toured Dutch Mill Gardens, an outdoor flower farm in the Greenbelt. Our guests learned about operations in the area and got a sense of on-the-ground issues facing farmers.
CFFO thanked government for their quick actions over the past year to reduce red tape, their decision to retain the Toronto Food Terminal’s central location, and their recent commitment toward rural Internet infrastructure. In a short address, Premier Ford outlined several initiatives directed toward supporting Ontario’s business environment and encouraged farmers to continue bringing red tape reduction ideas to government.
CFFO President Clarence Nywening emphasized the stewardship focus of CFFO farmers and linked this to our need to preserve Ontario farmland in order to ensure a fruitful legacy for future generations.
His message to ministers is timely: this week, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark announced proposed changes to the Provincial Policy Statement, which sets out provincial land use policy. We are encouraged to find that the Minister named the “wise use and management of resources, such as farmland” as a priority, and the CFFO looks forward to submitting our recommendations to the Ministry this fall.
CFFO Board members also spent time talking one-to-one with the Premier and fellow MPPs about issues affecting farmers on a day-to-day basis. Primarily, it was important for them to share concerns over the fears many farmers are facing as a result of animal activists who are trespassing onto farms without fear of consequence.
Board members have been encouraged by the receptive ears of our elected officials. We look forward to further opportunities to share the concerns of our members.
Marie Versteeg is Manager of Executive Board & Committees 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, CKXS Chatham, and CKNX Wingham. It is also archived on the CFFO website, www.christianfarmers.org. CFFO is supported by 4,000 family farmers across Ontario.