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Sept 16/16
Throne speech speaks directly to agriculture
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) watched as the Governor General delivered a new throne speech on September 12 – a “reset” of the Liberal government’s direction for the next two years. .....read more

Sept 9/16
Back to work for agriculture at Queen’s Park
It’s back to business for Ontario MPPs as they begin the fall session ‪on September 12. The summer break provided plenty of opportunities for Ontario politicians to travel Ontario’s countryside, to enjoy the sights, and to brush up on the issues facing farmers and rural Ontario. .....read more

Sept 2/16
Visit OFA at fall farm events
It’s September already and that brings back to school routines, hopes for a good harvest and plans for fall farm shows and events.
There are two significant events for Ontario agriculture in September – Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show (COFS) and the International Plowing Match & Rural Expo (IPM). The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) will be participating in both of these events this year. .....read more

Aug 26/16
Ontario agriculture responding to Lake Erie phosphorous reduction
Nutrient Management Plans were introduced in 2002 to assist in managing nutrient inventory on livestock farms of significant size. Completion of the Environmental Farm Plans has allowed farmers to implement best management practices to reduce nutrient losses from farm land.  Farmers never want to lose valuable nutrients to water courses, these nutrients are vital to the growth and development of our crops. .....read more

Aug 19/16
Livestock farmers left to the wolves (and coyotes) by recent legislative changes
The government has missed the mark with recently announced amendments to two regulations that impact Ontario farmers’ ability to protect their livestock from predators....read more

Aug 12/16
The Red Tape Challenge, Ontario Government asking for input on ag-related regulations
Regulations are a fact of business, whatever business you are in. As farmers, we love to hate regulations that we know are not based on common sense. These ones come to mind immediately when government regulations are mentioned. However, the vast majority of regulations actually serve important functions to protect actions or allow certain activities to be maintained. An important part of the regulatory process is to ensure regulations stay relevant and adapt as needed for today’s business environment. .....read more

Aug 5/16
Annual Field Day brings MPPs to agriculture
Advocacy is the number one job of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA). As an organization of farmers working for farmers, OFA works together with members and government to grow Ontario’s agri-food industry. ... read more

July 29/16
Deregulation will destroy Ontario’s processing vegetable sector
My name is David Epp. I’m a vegetable producer from Leamington, Ontario and a member of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA). I’m extremely concerned about the proposed regulatory changes that are before the Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers (OPVG). We are facing the prospect of losing our right to collective bargaining when it comes to negotiating the prices of processing vegetables we grow. That’s because the Farm Products Marketing Commission has proposed drastic changes to Regulation 440 of the Farm Products Marketing Act. ....read more

July 22/16
Weed control must be taken seriously
Noxious weeds are more than an inconvenience. They can cause damage and loss to crops, seriously affect livestock, invade natural environments and they can be extremely toxic to humans. Wild parsnip is such a noxious and invasive weed that is causing a lot of concern across eastern Ontario. Wild parsnip is a serious concern for farmers right now. There are good reasons why it is designated invasive and noxious. ....read more

July 14/16
Diversified agri-food sector to drive northern growth
Northern Ontario is one of agriculture’s biggest untapped opportunities. Climate change, improved land drainage, new crop varieties and the use of innovative technologies like precision agriculture and row covers are all leading to the rise of productive farmland in northern Ontario. ....read more

July 8/16
Make workplace safety a priority this summer
Summer is here. That means kids are spending more time on the farm or taking summer jobs in the area or on neighbouring farms. Summer is a great time for young adults to gain valuable work experience, earn money and have fun. It's also a really important time to be sure you have a safe work environment for everybody on your farm. ....read more

June 30/16
OFA offers insights for Federal Provincial Territorial Ag Ministers conference
Agriculture ministers from across Canada are soon making their annual pilgrimage to collectively talk about the opportunities and issues facing Canada’s agriculture sector. Their goal for this July meeting is to agree to the broad, high level direction for the next agricultural policy framework – the successor to Growing Forward 2.  This year’s conference is themed Produce, Connect, Innovate, and provides the forum to explore initiatives and synergies that support sustainable growth for the industry and ensure Canada’s continued leadership in the global marketplace. ....read more

June 17/16
OFA advocacy update at the halfway point of the Liberal mandate
Ontario’s majority Liberal government has reached the halfway point in its four-year mandate. They have initiated and completed many legislative bills and actions. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) has actively responded to and influenced many of these. ....read more

June 10/16
Agriculture sees positive action in new climate change plan
On June 9, the Ontario government released its anticipated plan on how the province will address climate change. The Climate Change Action Plan lays the groundwork for how Ontario will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to meet reduction targets. ....read more

June 3/16
Celebrating Ontario’s rich food basket
Food continues to be a hot topic. And it’s more than just about its nourishment. There’s a constant, and growing, conversation about how food is grown, where it’s sourced, what it’s made from and who is marketing it. Food is dominating our culture, but that’s nothing new for Ontario farmers who work every day to grow and produce fresh, safe and healthy food. ....read more

May 27/16
OFA: Review of land use plans starts the process of farmland preservation
The Ontario government recently released its Crombie Report – draft plans on the 10-year review of four significant land use plans for Ontario. These plans, released by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, cover the Greenbelt Plan, the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the Oak Ridges Moraine Conversation Plan, and the Niagara Escarpment Plan. ....read more

Six by Sixteen launches social media Photo My Food contest
Guelph, ON [May 25, 2016] – High school students, local politicians and industry partners took part in a unique food literacy classroom demonstration today to learn about the new SixbySixteen.me resource and find out about a new Photo My Food social media contest. ....read more

May 20/16
Natural gas: The OFA work plan
Extending natural gas throughout rural Ontario is the single best investment Ontario can make to our rural economy. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) has been working hard to make sure every level of government understands the urgency and importance of this message. The expansion of Ontario’s natural gas infrastructure to rural and farming communities supports economic development, job creation and a more affordable cost of living for rural Ontario.  It is needed infrastructure for long term goals in this province, and ability to harness new opportunities like renewable natural gas in the future. ....read more

May 13/16
OFA responds to proposed Supporting Ontario's Trails Act
Many Ontarians love to explore the unique and diverse landscapes throughout the province, including thousands of kilometres of recreational trails. Many of those trails intersect privately owned land including farm operations. ....read more

May 06/16
New OFA partnership brings ag stories to Ontario consumers
Telling the story of agriculture and food production has never been more important. With increasing misconceptions and concerns about agricultural practices, we all know the need to share the story of our industry. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is teaming up with Bell Media in a program call Fields to Forks that showcases positive stories about modern agriculture that produces safe, nutritious food, grows our economy as an innovative industry and cares for our environment. ....read more

Apr 29/16
OFA: Working to reduce phosphorus levels in Lake Erie
Phosphorus levels in Lake Erie are an increasing concern, and agricultural practices have been identified as a potential source of loading into the lake. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), along with regional Lake Erie and water working groups, are looking at solutions to reduce overall phosphorus levels in the lake and minimize phosphorus loss from farmland into the watershed. ....read more

Apr 22/16
Make agriculture count: 2016 Census of Agriculture
Canada's 2016 Census of Agriculture is fast approaching. In early May, farmers will have the opportunity to participate in an important data-collection exercise that will provide insight into Canadian agriculture. ....read more

Apr 15/16
OFA takes agri-food issues to the Hill
Every year for the past 10, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) and local members, along with Quebec colleagues have met with federal politicians on Parliament Hill. Thanks to the hard work of local federations in eastern Ontario and logistical support from the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA), this annual event is an opportunity to bring the issues and concerns of Ontario farmers and our agri-food industry to our federal leaders. And this year representatives from the Union des Cultivateurs Franco-Ontariens (UCFO) joined the group. ....read more

Apr 08/16
Advocating for agriculture's role under Cap and Trade
In late 2015, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) announced plans to develop a Cap and Trade system for Ontario to address climate change by reducing atmospheric carbon emissions and putting a price on carbon. ....read more

Apr 01/16
New partnership with Hydro One to address on-farm electricity issues
Ontario farmers have an improved process for addressing on-farm electrical issues with Hydro One. The new Farm Rapid Response Team has been developed by Hydro One in partnership with Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) to deal with issues including stray voltage, ground current and power quality. The new centralized approach will help identify, assess and mitigate on-farm electrical issues. ...read more

Mar 24/16
Federal budget delivers for Ontario farmers
Agriculture received several nods in the federal budget announced on March 22. Farmers across Canada welcomed the Liberal government’s commitments to invest in agricultural research, expand rural broadband and improve infrastructure in our rural communities. ...read more

Mar 18/16
OFA takes food and environment concerns to the Federal Government
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) recently took agri-food advocacy to the federal government. On March 14, I participated in a round table discussion with commodity groups and the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. Thanks to Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield for his assistance in organizing this meeting. ....read more

 

Mar 17/16
OFA champions food literacy with new online resource
Guelph, ON [March 17, 2016] – A new food literacy site launched today to help young people learn to make healthy food choices that will improve the future health of Ontarians. Promoting greater food literacy is the driver behind SixbySixteen.me – the new site developed by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA). ....

Mar 11/16read more
OFA reminds members to “Be an AgSafe Family”
Farms are full of potential risks for families and workers. March 13 to 19 is Canadian Agricultural Safety Week and it’s the perfect time to slow down and think about farm safety. This year, the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture are launching a new, three-year farm safety program called “Be an AgSafe Family.” ....read more

Mar 4/16
OFA addressing four roadway issues with MTO
Ontario’s economy runs on our roads. The goods produced and manufactured in Ontario spend some time in transit along our roadways. We need good roads and sound infrastructure to conduct business in Ontario. Ontario farmers rely on roadways every day to transport farm inputs and products, and move large farm equipment. ....read more

Feb 26/16
Provincial budget promises “Jobs for Today and Tomorrow”
Finance Charles Sousa delivered an economic blueprint for Ontario on February 25, in his 2016 budget, titled Jobs for Today and Tomorrow. The budget promises to grow our economy, create jobs and provide Ontarians better access to services while balancing the budget by 2017-18. .....read more

Feb 19/16
Easements are voluntary in Supporting Ontario Trails Act
There’s a lot of talk in the countryside about Bill 100, the proposed Supporting Ontario Trails Act. The act was introduced in the Ontario legislature in May, 2015 and has generated much confusion over whether or not a landowner has a choice to grant an easement. Trail-related easements are entirely voluntary under Bill 100. ...read more

Feb 12/16
Municipalities putting up barriers to agricultural growth in Ontario?
Ontario farmers have taken the Premier’s Agri-Food Growth Challenge to heart. We’re embracing the drive to double our sector’s annual growth rate and create 120,000 jobs by 2020. Farmers and Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) members are working hard every day to grow our farm businesses, create new market opportunities and identify areas that impede or restrict our growth as an industry. ...read more

Feb 5/16
Economic analysis to guide land use policies?
The Fraser Institute recently released a study titled An Economic Analysis of Rural Land Use Policies in Ontario. The study, authored by economists Glenn Fox and Yi Wang, poses that economic analysis has not been properly used to develop Ontario land use policies including the Greenbelt and Niagara Escarpment Plans. ...read more

Jan 29/16
Economic report supports agriculture and rural Ontario growth
Two groups pushing for economic growth in Ontario right now are the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC). OFA shares a similar mandate with the OCC – we both work on behalf of businesses in the province. OFA focuses our advocacy on farm businesses. It is a strong lever to OFA’s forward advocacy actions to have OCC’s work helping to support growth for Ontario’s agri-food sector in various ways. ...read more

Jan 22/16
OFA: Three things we want to see in the provincial budget
When the anticipated 2016 Ontario Budget is delivered this spring, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) will be watching closely to see the items included that impact Ontario’s agri-food sector. As part of our advocacy role, OFA annually submits budget recommendations to Ontario’s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, advising government on areas of much-needed investment. ...read more

Jan 15/16
Working towards a waste-free Ontario
The proposed Waste-Free Ontario Act marks a significant shift in how Ontario considers waste. Known as Bill 151, the proposed Act is intended to improve waste reduction efforts, increase resource productivity, enable efficient and effective collection and recycling systems, and increase the market value of recovered materials. ...read more

Jan 8/16
OFA continues work on key issues in 2016
This year marks a significant milestone for the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA). For 80 years, OFA has been advocating on the issues and concerns of Ontario’s farmers. Keeping OFA members, who are the majority of Ontario’s farm families and the provincial rural base, at the forefront of consideration of policy discussions and decisions at the various government levels is the proud task of the OFA and its county federations. ....read more

Dec 23/15
2015: An OFA year in review
What a year it’s been for Ontario agriculture. Weather, market prices, new regulations and new governments have presented challenges for Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) members. And we’ve been working with members, championing their interests and needs to government. ...read more

Dec 18/15
Ontario farmers represented at UN COP 21 in Paris
Climate change continues to make headlines. Canada’s new federal government has committed to tackling the issue. The Ontario government is consulting on the design of the cap and trade program for linkage with Quebec, California, and Manitoba. The recent United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP 21) on climate change brought together 195 nations for the common cause of addressing climate change and working together to limit the predicted rise in global temperatures.  ...read more

Dec 11/15
Farmland supported in provincial land use recommendations
Ten years after they were introduced, Ontario’s four provincial land use plans have undergone an extensive review process. After months of consultations, an expert advisory panel released recommendations in the December 7, 2015 report, Planning for Health, Prosperity and Growth in the Greater Golden Horseshoe: 2015-2041. ...read more

Dec 4/15
Building better plans to deal with uncontrolled electricity
Unexplained electrical currents flowing under some Ontario farms have plagued farmers for years, dragging down animal health and productivity. Uncontrolled electricity or stray voltage causes a constant underground electrical current to flow in the ground and in barns. Livestock exposed to uncontrolled electricity can exhibit odd behavior, have lower productivity, stop eating or drinking, and in extreme cases even die. ...read more

Nov 27/15
How to talk farming and influence people
Every time you turn around, there are conversations, judgements and uninformed “facts” thrown around about modern agricultural practices and the food we produce. Consumers are more interested than ever about where and how their food is grown. And agricultural groups across Canada are working hard to engage with consumers to make sure our industry is part of those conversations. ...read more

Nov 24/15
Winners of OFA’s second ‘Reel’ Farm Video Challenge announced

Several Ontario farmers were rewarded for their creativity as part of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture’s (OFA) 2015 'Reel' Farm Video Challenge. In its second year, the contest encourages OFA members and Ontario farmers to have a little fun while putting themselves in the storytelling spotlight about why they are proud to farm. ...read more

Nov 24/15
Don McCabe acclaimed as OFA president

Inwood-area cash crop farmer Don McCabe was acclaimed as president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) at the organization’s annual general meeting this week in Toronto. McCabe returns for a second one-year term to lead the organization of 37,000 Ontario farm families.
OFA’s two vice presidents, Collingwood-area hay and sweet corn farmer Keith Currie and northern Ontario dairy farmer Peggy Brekveld were also acclaimed. Mark Reusser, Waterloo County turkey farmer, was later elected by the board as its fourth executive member. In total, OFA’s Board of Directors is made up of 18 positions representing regions across Ontario. ....read more

Nov 24/15
Joint report calls for changes to provincial land-use policies

Farmland in Ontario should be recognized as a permanent feature with economic and ecosystem benefits, according to a new joint report released today by Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) and Environmental Defence.
Farmers and environmentalists don’t always agree, but OFA and Environmental Defence jointly released the new report, Farmland at Risk: Why land-use planning needs improvements for a healthy agricultural future in the Greater Golden Horseshoe. The report finds that 75% of the best farmland in the Toronto Metropolitan Area is at risk of being paved over, and highlights the challenges farmers face and the need to better protect farmland in the face of the region’s anticipated population growth. ....read more

Nov 21/15
Perth County celebrates the excellence of agriculture and the people who make it happen!
On Saturday, November 21, Perth County Federation of Agriculture (PCFA) held its inaugural Harvest Gala to excellent reception.  With almost 300 tickets sold, Perth County’s producers, processors, and business allies celebrated the work of the agriculture industry’s strength. ....read more

Nov 20/15
OFA kicks off 80th anniversary celebration at AGM
Once a year Canada’s largest general farm organization gathers member and industry representatives to vote on leadership, discuss issues affecting our agricultural industry, participate in progressive workshops and hear from government leaders. ...read more

Nov 13/15
New Invasive Species Act needs work
The Ontario government recently approved an Invasive Species Act, giving Royal Assent to this new legislation on November 3. The new act is intended to manage invasive plant species threatening Ontario’s ecological biodiversity. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) supports the principle of the legislation but has concerns about how it will play out in the agricultural industry. ...read more

Nov 6/15
Giving agriculture the Royal Treatment
For more than 90 years, agriculture has made an important trek into the heart of Toronto to showcase and share Ontario’s finest at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. This year, from November 6-15, farmers, agricultural supporters, consumers, chefs and families will visit Toronto for the annual “country comes to the city” event. ...read more

Oct 30/15
Soil health initiative marks UN’s International Year of Soils
There’s nothing farmers depend on more than farmland and healthy soil. So when the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) announced the development of a soil health and conservation strategy, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) welcomed the initiative to sustain our most valuable farm resource. ...read more

Oct 23/15
An Open Letter to Prime Minister-Designate Trudeau

Congratulations on your successful campaign and receiving a strong mandate from Canadians across the country. Aspects of your recent platform need to be implemented with rural Canada in mind during your mandate to assist Ontario farm families and their businesses to continue to compete and grow in an ever increasingly competitive global market while addressing local needs. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) represents the interests of 37,000 farm businesses in the province. ... read more

Oct 16/15
Keeping agriculture at the forefront with MPs
Voters and candidates have had more time than ever to discuss election platforms and concerns throughout the 11-week 2015 federal election campaign. It’s been great to see active engagement and voter participation across Canada during this year’s most important political event. ...read more

Oct 9/15
OFA marks Ontario Agriculture Week
What a week it’s been for Ontario agriculture. Farmers, consumers and our political leaders celebrated Ontario Agriculture Week, welcomed a new food literacy initiative, and reviewed trade agreements and export opportunities for Canadian farmers. ...read more

Oct 6/15
New food literacy program launched in Ontario Agriculture Week

A new initiative to help young people make healthy food choices was launched today as part of Ontario Agriculture Week. ...read more

Oct 2/15
Vote for agriculture on October 19
Agriculture finally received recognition in the federal election forum with at a national agriculture leaders debate on September 30. Hosted by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) and moderated by Ontario dairy farmer, Andrew Campbell, the debate featured questions from farmers across Canada. Debate participants included Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Hon.Gerry Ritz, Malcolm Allen, NDP Agriculture Critic, Mark Eyking, Liberal Agriculture Critic, Andrew West, Green Party candidate for Kanata-Carleton and Yves Lessard, Bloc Québécois candidate for Beloeil-Chambly. ...read more

Sept 25/15
Taking sustainability to the next level
Ontario’s farm and processing sector is taking a more holistic approach to sustainability. It’s taking shape as a new collaboration between farmers, industry, and food and beverage processors. Farm, Food & Beyond: Our Commitment to Sustainability document outlines the principles and need for this action while building on Ontario farmers proud history of achievement in this area. ...read more

Sept 17/15
How would you spend $15 billion?
Earlier this year, the Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure invited input on how to spend $15 billion in infrastructure funding outside the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA). Consultations were held in communities around the province and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) was represented at many of the meetings. ...read more

Sept 14/15
The Perth East Fire Department is excited to launch a dramatic farm fire safety video, "More At Stake Than The Barn". Perth East reunited with award-winning filmmaker Zach Patton and worked with several partners in farm fire safety to make the video happen. ... read more
watch video

Sept 11/15
Stepping out for the fall farm show season
By Bruce Webster, Board Member, Ontario Federation of Agriculture
September signals the start of many activities. The back to school routine brings a welcome order back to many households. Grain bins are filling up. And the growing season’s efforts are starting to tally up. ...read more

Sept 4/15
OFA reviews Ontario’s Conservation Authorities Act
The majority of Ontario’s wetlands in southern Ontario are located on farms. So when the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry recently launched a review of the Conservation Authorities Act, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) compiled a response outlining the important role agriculture and farmers have in environmental and ecological protection and preservation. ...read more

Aug 28/15
OFA continues work on a complete pollinator health strategy
By Don McCabe, President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture
With regulations now in place limiting the use of neonics on corn and soybean crops in Ontario, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture has continued to hold fast on an important task. We are committed to working closely with government and industry to achieve a comprehensive pollinator strategy that includes all considerations for improving pollinator health. ...read more

Aug 21/15
OFA’s Northern Ontario tour highlights ag issues and opportunities
By Drew Spoelstra, Board Member, Ontario Federation of Agriculture
When you represent an industry as diverse as Ontario agriculture, you sometimes need to take a road trip for a firsthand look at the unique issues affecting a region. That’s just what the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) did when board and staff headed to northern Ontario for a road-show style August board meeting, based in Thunder Bay ...read more

Aug 14/15
OFA hosts MPPs on the farm for Field Day event

Field work took on a different meaning this week for Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) staff and directors. We set aside our work on the business of farming for a day to tour MPPs through apple and blueberry orchards and an apple packing plant in Durham region. It was the 2015 OFA Field Day and we were showcasing a slice of the diverse, innovative sector that drives the provincial economy. MPPs from all three parties attended including Agriculture Minister Jeff Leal, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, NDP Agriculture Critic John Vanthof and PC Agriculture Critic Toby Barrett. ...read more

Aug 7/15
OFA: Talking about agriculture with federal candidates
Canadians are heading to the polls this fall to elect federal Members of Parliament, since the Prime Minister dropped the writ earlier this week. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is taking the opportunity to talk with federal candidates about the issues and opportunities in the Ontario agriculture industry. ...read more

July 31/15
OFA invites members to tell or sing their agriculture story
Storytelling has become the preferred method for talking about the agriculture industry, especially with our consumers who have less and less connections to agriculture. The faces and stories of real farmers are populating marketing campaigns for eggs, milk and more, as authentic spokespeople for our industry. ...read more

July 24/15
Farming in the social license spotlight
The growing public pressure that is impacting farming practices has more people talking about agriculture’s social license these days. Social license has been defined by some as the privilege to operate with minimal restrictions by maintaining the public’s trust for doing what is right. ...read more

Jul 16/15
Increase on-farm security

Chances are, if you live and work in rural Ontario, you love the location. Wide open spaces, sprawling fields and no neighbours within reach are some of the best parts of living in the country. Unfortunately, there can be a downside to this rural living. Unwanted trespassers. ...read more

Jul 10/15
What’s on your wish list for community investments?
If you could pick the infrastructure priorities for your community, what would they be?
The Ontario government is travelling across Ontario this summer asking for input from local communities as it works on a new plan to fund infrastructure programs in areas outside the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). ...read more

Jul 3/15
OFA members weigh in on rural internet issues
It’s hard to imagine doing anything today without the internet. Yet two out of three Ontario farmers surveyed have unreliable internet connection, according to a recent survey of more than 1,000 Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) members. ...read more

Jun 26/15
OFA celebrates decades of dedication to Ontario agriculture
A group of forward-thinking farmers made some very wise decisions for their industry many years ago. Their foresight established what would become the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA). And as we get ready to celebrate 80 years in Ontario next year, it’s a great time to shout out to the local branches – county and regional federations – across the province that are also reaching big milestones. ...read more

Jun 19/15
OFA: Serve up ag issues to local politicians this summer
Sometimes the toughest conversations pair well with food. There are a lot of issues facing Ontario farmers and Ontario agriculture right now. And the summer barbeque circuit is a great place to put agriculture on the menu with your political guests. ...read more

Jun 18/15
New online resource addresses security issues on Ontario farms Guelph, Ontario
Do you know what to do if uninvited visitors show up on your farm? If your barn had a break-in, but nothing appears to be damaged or taken, should you call the police? What kind of security lighting would be most effective around barns? ...read more

June 15/15
OFA seeking workable rules on neonic regulations
Ontario farmers are now facing new restrictions on the use of neonic-treated corn and soybean seed starting with 2016 planting. The Ontario government unveiled its rules for protecting pollinators through reducing acres treated with neonicotinoid-treated corn and soybean seeds on June 9, 2015. The new regulations come into effect on July 1, 2015. Farmers will make seed choices this fall under these regulations. ...read more

June 5/15
OFA makes farming better with benefits
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture’s (OFA) first order of business is to champion the interests and issues affecting our members. Advocating and being a voice for Ontario farmers with government and policy makers is the key objective OFA delivers to members. Every OFA member also has access to an experienced team of Member Service Representatives that are on-the-ground staff available to help members with issues affecting farm business and rural life. ...read more

May 29/15
Local Food Week: there’s a lot to celebrate
For the second year in a row, Thanksgiving comes in June. It’s Local Food Week from June 1-7, a celebration of the fresh, healthy food grown, and processed right here in Ontario. Local Food Week highlights Ontario’s agriculture and food industry, and provides the perfect backdrop to promote the wide variety of Ontario foods and beverages available all year long. ...read more

May 22/15
Spring brings renewed investments to Ontario
We wait all winter for spring and this season is arguably one of the busiest, especially for farmers. Ontario’s approximately 51,000 farmers grow, raise and produce some of the safest, freshest and most economical food in the world. And while agriculture happens all year long, spring starts the season for many of the more than 200 products grown in Ontario.  Ontario farmers are busy seeding and planting vegetable and field crops this season, making some of the biggest investments in their businesses right now. ...read more

May 15/15
New trails legislation does little for farmland trespassing
The Ontario government just introduced new legislation that would protect and improve thousands of kilometres of trails throughout the province. But Bill 100, the proposed Supporting Ontario’s Trails Act, is missing the mark on protecting private farmland where it meets public trails.
Nearly 20,000 kilometres of trails in Ontario run through municipalities, including trails along farmland. That’s about a quarter of the entire trail network, and it’s also where trespassing concerns arise. Bill 100 includes amendments to a number of other statutes, including the Trespass to Property Act – a piece of legislation the Ontario Federation of Agriculture has been pushing for updates to since 2005. ...read more

May 8/15
Grassroots OFA effort brings back local infrastructure funding
Great ideas and efforts often come from the ground up. And when the Wellington Federation of Agriculture tabled a resolution asking the Ontario Federation of Agriculture to lobby the government to reinstate infrastructure funding for “connecting link” roads in rural Ontario, the result was a renewed commitment by the Ontario government to the tune of $15 million annually to municipalities across Ontario. ...read more

May 1/15
OFA reminds farmers to make road safety a priority this spring
With spring planting in high gear, farm equipment is taking to the roadways to get to farm land across Ontario. And when slow moving vehicles share the road with motorists, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) reminds farmers to remember the rules of the road to stay safe this season. ...read more

Apr 24/15
Federal budget gives nod to agriculture
There were a few nods to Canadian agriculture in the recent federal budget. The OFA is encouraged to see two of our three key priority areas warranted mention. The OFA is looking for federal funding for risk management tools, a rebuild of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s research program and research stations, and rural municipal infrastructure. Business Risk Management is absent from the budget announcement. ...read more

Apr 17/15
Cap and trade system can work for farmers
The Ontario government believes climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing future generations. This past week Premier Wynne announced Ontario will pursue the establishment of a cap and trade system to address climate change by limiting sources of greenhouse gas emissions in Ontario. ... read more

Apr 10/15
OFA survey uncovers lack of long-term farmland investment
The long-term viability of Ontario farmland is at risk, according to a recent OFA survey. More than 350 members of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) participated in a survey this spring about farmland rental agreement conditions. And the results concluded many Ontario farmland landlords are not making long-term investments in their land, putting the production capacity and overall viability of the land at risk. ...read more

Apr 2/15
OFA takes top member concerns to politicians
New energy comes in the spring, and with it, a renewed sense of advocacy from Canada’s largest general farm organization – the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA). The OFA has had a busy schedule this spring, meeting with MPs and MPPs, making recommendations on issues affecting our industry and responding to proposed regulations.  ...read more

Mar 27/15
OFA urges Ontario government to focus on stewardship
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is carefully reviewing the Ontario government’s recently released regulations intending to reduce neonicotinoid pesticide use by 80% by 2017. These proposed regulations – restricting the sale and use of neonicotinoid-treated corn and soybean seeds – are part of the next phase of the government’s comprehensive pollinator health strategy. ...read more

Mar 20/15
Province hinders farmland preservation in proposed Rouge National Urban Park

The federal government is putting farmers first with their plans for the proposed Rouge National Urban Park. The development of this new park would see more than 7,600 acres of mostly Class 1 farmland protected under legislation. ...read more

Mar 13/15
You can be the difference for farm safety
Farm safety is a very serious matter. As farmers, we’ve all been touched by on-farm injuries or deaths. For one week every year in March we draw special attention to some of the hazards that farming exposes us to. March 15-21 is Canadian Agricultural Safety Week – a time to talk about the seriousness of safety, become educated and raise awareness of managing risks on the farm. ...read more

Mar 5/15
Land use plans must put farmland first
This spring will be remembered as the season of land use deliberations in Ontario. Four significant land use plans are under review and the process could have significant implications for Ontario farmers. ...read more

Feb 27/15
OFA members weigh in on climate change
As farmers, we know weather impacts every aspect of our farm businesses. Weather changes dictate our daily schedules, cropping seasons and even our bottom lines. That’s one of the reasons the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is taking climate change seriously. Climate change is being discussed at many of our policy meetings, at county federations and in meetings with government. And to make sure we are accurately representing our members, we recently surveyed them about climate – their concerns and ideas on how climate change is or will impact their farm businesses. ...read more

Feb 20/15
OFA preps politicians for federal election
Canadians are going to the polls this fall for a federal election. When there’s an election in Ontario the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) spends a lot of time in front of policy makers to ensure they understand the significance of our agriculture and food industry. And when there’s a federal election the OFA has a similar role when it comes to policies and regulations that are developed at a federal level but felt at provincial and municipal levels. ...read more

Feb 13/15
Building stronger communities through infrastructure investments
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is advocating for affordable, accessible natural gas across rural Ontario. For more than a year, our focus has been to address this issue with government and policy makers at Queen’s Park. And in 2014 the OFA welcomed the announcement of the provincial government’s investment in natural gas expansion with $200 million in loans and $30 million in grants over two years. Last year’s announcement was a good start. ...read more

Feb 6/15
Now’s the time to renew your OFA membership
It’s Farm Business Registration (FBR) season for Ontario farmers. All farm businesses in Ontario that gross $7,000 or more a year are required by law to register their farm business. As part of FBR registration, Ontario farmers select one of three Ontario general farm organizations to support. ...read more

Jan 29/15
New farm licence plate requirements in effect

Effective January 1, 2015, anyone purchasing or attaching farm licence plates to a new vehicle must show proof they have a farm business. .. .read more

Jan 29/15
OFA responds to government retirement pension plan proposal
Last year the Ontario government proposed the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP). The new plan would provide a predictable source of retirement income for those most at risk of under-saving and particularly middle-income earners without workplace pensions. The proposed ORPP could be a helpful program for the average Ontarian. But it may not be for farmers. ...read more

Jan 23/15
OFA responds to government pollinator health proposal
After thoroughly reviewing the provincial government’s discussion paper on pollinator health, attending public consultation meetings and researching causes of bee mortality, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) recently submitted an official response. ...read more

Jan 16/15
OFA crunches the numbers on issues for provincial budget
Every spring the provincial government tables its budget, a roadmap for how and where money will be allocated in the coming year. And each year the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) prepares a submission and meets with government and policymakers in advance of the budget to ensure Ontario’s agriculture and food industry is adequately represented in budget decisions. ....read more

Jan 9/15
OFA: working for a better year ahead in 2015
A New Year means a fresh start for many. For the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), the New Year means it’s back to work championing the needs of Ontario farmers to all three levels of government, with commodity and industry partners. ...read more

Oct 24/14
OFA reminds farmers to be safe this season
It’s been one of the slowest starts to harvest for Ontario farmers this fall. A cooler growing season, combined with fall rains have prevented many farmers from getting onto the fields at their usual harvest pace. ...read more

Oct 17/14
Fall agenda fills up with political priorities
Ontario politicians are heading back to the legislature for the fall sitting, and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) has a full lineup of work to accomplish with the 107 MPPs representing our province. ...read more

Oct 10/14
Agri-food harvests big benefits for all Ontarians
Agriculture fuels Ontario’s economy. It’s big business for the province, and nobody knows that better than the farmers bringing in the fall harvest or delivering their produce to markets. Ontario produces more than 200 commodities, including field crops, vegetables and livestock. We are fortunate to live in a productive and bountiful province where food, fibre and fuel are grown all around us. In the hustle of harvest, it can be easy to forget the tremendous contribution farmers make to their family, community and consumers. ...read more

Oct 2/14
OFA: Ready to take on climate change
Farmers owe their livelihoods to a six-inch layer of topsoil, sunshine and rain. We depend on our environment more than any other industry to raise our animals and grow our crops. And as our global climate changes, including the environment on our farms, we face ongoing challenges from weather. ...read more

Sept 26/14
OFA wants to rid Ontario of Canada’s most invasive plant

Phragmites australis is spreading across Ontario and needs to be stopped. It’s Canada’s worst invasive plant and is threatening Ontario’s biodiversity. At heights of five metres or more, this reed-like plant forms large, dense stands in wetlands, waterways and drainage systems, choking out animal habitats and native species. Phragmites is already found across the province and throughout Eastern Canada, and becoming a real problem for Ontario farmers.  ...read more

Sept 24/14
Cropland drainage practices detailed in BMP resource
Managing on-farm drainage to maximize crop production and minimize environmental impact is covered in one of the latest publications in the Best Management Practices (BMP) series. Cropland Drainage provides a valuable resource for planning and maintaining effective surface and subsurface drainage systems. ...read more

Sept 22/14
OFA pushing for farmland preservation in proposed Rouge National Urban Park

In 2011, the Harper government committed to creating a national urban park in Ontario – a huge area enveloping the Rouge River Valley in the GTA that happens to include more than 7,600 acres that’s mostly Class 1 farmland. ...read more

Sept 12/14
OFA: Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show serves up great opportunities
Every topic was on the table along the laneways and demo plots at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show. The fall season brings the possibility of starting something fresh. New technology to try on next year’s crop. And new opportunities that could add to the bottom line of your farm business. Lower commodity prices and rainy weather didn’t dampen the positive outlook facing Ontario agriculture. ...read more

Aug 29/14
OFA says it’s time to tighten trespassing on farms
Trespassing on farm property is becoming an increasing annoyance for Ontario farmers. And the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is taking a tough stance with recommended amendments to the Trespass to Property Act.  Currently, there is no minimum fine for trespassing on farmland, and a poor process for reimbursing farmers for damages caused by unwanted visitors. ...read more

Aug 22/14
OFA encourages Ontario agriculture to help access new municipal funds
On August 18, the Ontario government announced details on two new programs that will provide rural Ontario with funding for community infrastructure projects. These programs are great news for Ontario agriculture and the communities where we farm. That’s why the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is encouraging members to consult with their neighbours and county federations and work with their municipal councillors on proposals to fund projects in their municipality. ...read more

Aug 8/14
OFA wants agriculture on municipal election agendas
Agriculture must make the list of issues that matter to candidates in the upcoming fall municipal elections. Farmers are a minority in most Ontario municipalities. And the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) believes it’s our responsibility, as farm families and farm business owners to work with local governments to help them understand agriculture and make sure our rural communities are well served. ...read more

July 25/14
OFA partners with municipal representatives to improve rural infrastructure
Municipal funding for rural road and bridge improvements was on the agenda at a recent meeting between the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) and the Western Ontario Warden’s Caucus (WOWC). The meeting is the latest in a series between the two organizations in an effort to collaborate on common issues affecting rural Ontario. Combined, the two organizations, OFA and WOWC, represent more than 2.25 million Ontario residents and farm businesses. ...read more

July 11/14
Uncontrolled electricity awareness on farms
Experiencing production challenges or caring for livestock with health problems is never easy on the farm. It’s even more difficult when farmers and veterinarians struggle to identify the source of the problem. ....read more

June 6/14
Wanted: Bigger skilled workforce for Ontario agriculture
Ontario agriculture and agri-food sectors drive the local economy. But to maintain the momentum and grow our industry even further, we need continued access to skilled agricultural workers. That’s why the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) has made agri-skills training one of four key election issues we’re focusing on with candidates in the lead up to the June 12 provincial election. .... read more

May 30/14
Fix the farm property tax system in Ontario
The current farm property tax system needs to be fixed. To keep Ontario agriculture competitive, we need a fair farm tax system. And that’s why property taxation makes the list of one of four key issues the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is talking about with candidates in the June 12 provincial election. ... read more

May 23/14
Agriculture needs access to affordable energy
Modern farms run on energy. It’s one of the most expensive input costs for Ontario farmers. That’s why it’s a key election issue for the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) in the lead up to the June 12 provincial election. We’re focusing on four key issues with candidates over the next few weeks, and the need for competitively priced energy is second in our series of election commentaries. ...read more

May 14/14
Send food literacy back to school
On June 12, Ontarians will go to the polls to vote for our next provincial government. In the weeks leading up to the election, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is focusing our efforts on four key messages with candidates. The issues and opportunities for agriculture must be part of every candidate’s political platform, and it’s up to all of us to engage with candidates on the issues that matter to our industry. ...read more

May 9/14
OFA asks candidates to “Believe in Growing Ontario” with agriculture
As political watchers predicted, Ontario is in the midst of a provincial election campaign. And the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is ready to go to candidates with key messages for our sector before we all go to the polls on June 12. ...read more

Apr 11/14
Growing Ontario: Food, Fibre and Jobs
Agriculture rang through the halls of Queen’s Park on April 8, 2014 when the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) visited provincial politicians. Words like growth, economy, food, fibre and jobs were part of every discussion between OFA representatives and more than 80 MPPs and key decision-makers across all three political parties. ...read more

Apr 4/14
Member survey helps shape OFA direction
Being the voice of Ontario farmers is not an easy task. With more than 200 products grown in Ontario alone, as well as a multitude of livestock commodities, production systems and choices in farming practices, Ontario farmers have a lot on their minds. And as the organization advocating for 37,000 farm businesses in geographic regions across the province, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) has a big job to do. ...read more

Mar 28/14
Farm owners advised to comply with new labour requirements before busy season
It’s springtime on the farm, and along with warmer temperatures, many Ontario farmers are also welcoming back seasonal employees to help with the busy season ahead. But this year, farm owners with employees on the payroll have new regulations to comply with. ...read more

Mar 21/14
Farm politics needs succession planning too
Just as many Ontario farm families develop plans to transfer their farm from one generation to the next, Ontario farm organizations must do the same. It’s time farm leaders get to work on a succession plan of our own – and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is proud to lead the charge by engaging with our new and younger members. ...read more

Mar 14/14
Kemptville College closure disappointing for Ontario agriculture

Ontario agriculture received a heavy blow with the recent announcement that the University of Guelph will be closing its Kemptville and Alfred College campuses by the end of 2015. While the university says it will continue to manage field crop research facilities at both locations, delivery of academic programs will come to an end. ... read more

Mar 7/14
Let’s talk about farming safe
Let’s talk about farm safety. It’s a tough topic – but take it from me – no one is indestructible and accidents do happen. That’s why the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association and Canadian Federation of Agriculture have dedicated March 9-15, 2014 as Canadian Agricultural Safety Week. It’s a one-week commitment to get people talking about preventing injuries, employee training and the role we all play in making sure we work, live and play safely on our farms. ...read more