From a Release
Guelph – Twelve Ontario politicians left their local ridings yesterday to experience the province’s largest economic driver, agriculture, in action on a family farm just north of Toronto.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) organized the OFA 2013 Field Day themed Cultivating our Future to demonstrate the importance of the agri-food sector to Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) who may not have direct connections to agriculture. Hosted on the family dairy farm of brothers Phil and Peter Armstrong of Armstrong Manor Farms near Caledon, Ontario, the event also included exhibits by commodity organizations representing Ontario dairy, beef, grain, sheep, honey and egg farmers.
Education Minister Liz Sandals, and MPP for Guelph, brought official greetings from the province and commented that “today is a great opportunity to see and understand that agriculture is big business for this province, and critical to Ontario’s economy.
Ontario MPPs and their staff were guided through presentations by OFA directors to highlight the basic steps in crop production from choosing seed to harvest technology, an overview of the diversity of crops grown in Ontario and emerging markets for new innovations like biomass. A new viewing feature in the Armstrong’s dairy barn gave attendees a front row experience of milking time.
“The OFA spends a considerable amount of effort meeting with politicians in their environment, and as farmers, we wanted to bring them to our “office” to see how Ontario farmers cultivate the land to grow food and bio-products for the future,” says OFA President Mark Wales. He also used the event to reinforce the importance of the proposed Local Food Act, urging politicians and staffers to commit to increasing the use of Ontario grown and processed products, as well as considering food literacy and educational elements in new legislation.
The OFA plans to make its Field Day an annual event and regular opportunity to provide a rural perspective to Ontario politicians on issues that impact the business of farming.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is the largest accredited general farm organization in Ontario. As a dynamic farmer-led organization based in Guelph, the OFA works to represent and champion the interests of Ontario farmers through government relations, farm policy recommendations, lobby efforts, community representation, media relations and more. OFA is the leading advocate for Ontario’s farmers and is Ontario’s voice of the farmer.