This week’s guest commentary comes from Nathan Stevens of the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario
Ontario Election Day is just around the corner, and Ontarians have the chance to either affirm our current leadership or set a new direction. The CFFO believes that the agriculture and agri-food sector is and can continue to be a cornerstone of the Ontario economy. The CFFO believes that there are many factors that need to be dealt with for the farm economy to achieve its potential, and for the food processing sector be all that it can be.
The CFFO wants a government focused on a number of key areas to help stimulate jobs in agriculture. This will require serious considerations about the direction of energy policy in Ontario. The CFFO wants a government that balances the needs of both workers and businesses in the area of wage policy. The CFFO wants a government that is committed to the process of cutting unnecessary regulatory red-tape.
The CFFO wants a government that recognizes the importance of our best farmland. At the global level, agriculture faces the challenge of feeding 9 billion people by 2050 on a shrinking land-base. The CFFO believes that our land should be set to its best purpose, which means that the best food growing land should be tasked with growing food. Unfortunately, without government intervention the situation that exists is that farmland will be converted to low-density housing as long as it is more profitable to build outward on the landscape rather an upward with apartment buildings and condos.
The CFFO wants our government to focus on how Ontario agriculture’s future success and productivity will rely on water policy that encourages optimal use of water for food production. The CFFO believes that we need regulatory reform and potentially legislation that prioritizes water for biological use for agriculture. At the same time, we acknowledge and affirm that stewardship of water is critically important.
The results of the June 12 election will set the direction for Ontario for the next four years. The CFFO wants to see a focus on the agriculture economy, water policy and farmland preservation. Be sure to head out next week and cast your vote in the future of Ontario.