November 13, 2014, Guelph, ON - On the cusp of government regulations that will negatively impact family farming, last night marked the first meeting of Farm Action Now, a task force of farm organizations across the agriculture sector, formed to evaluate the fate of Ontario agriculture. With over-regulation driving farmers out of the province, Farm Action Now plans to develop a farmer-driven science-based blueprint on the future of agriculture in Ontario.
"Shortly, the government will announce the most restrictive measures yet," said Henry Van Ankum, Chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario. "We need to halt policies and practices that restrict growth and threaten the future of Ontario's farming sector."
Farm Action Now immediately announced that a balanced plan is in development to reasonably evaluate the challenges with government agricultural policy and process. Priority areas include the responsible regulation of agricultural practices, access to science and technology such as pesticides and seed treatments, and on-farm implementation of regulatory changes. The coalition strongly urges the appointment of an agricultural commissioner to advise the government on the implications of existing and new regulations and to help grow the agricultural sector.
Farm Action Now is launching a broad consultation process at this time to evaluate the impact of agricultural restrictions on communities and will include farmers and beekeepers, rural municipal representatives along with industry and environmental groups and Chambers of Commerce.
"We're all in this together and this isn't just about farmers – it's about the future of Ontario as a whole," emphasized Ray Duc, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association. "We want to send a message from farmers and about farmers, but one that is aimed at benefitting all Ontarians."
Farm Action Now is positioned to expand with numerous agricultural organizations expressing similar concerns at this time.
About Farm Action Now
Farm Action Now is a coalition comprised of Grain Farmers of Ontario, Ontario Bean Growers, Ontario Canola Growers Association, Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association, and Ontario Pork and supported by other agricultural organizations. The farm-led group has been formed to develop a farmer-driven blueprint for the future of Ontario agriculture and ensure regulations are made with a clear understanding of the practicality of on-farm implementation and down-stream implications.