This week’s guest commentary comes from Nathan Stevens of the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario
The Ontario election has come and gone and the people of Ontario have spoken. We have collectively chosen a Liberal majority for the next four years. The citizens of this province have chosen a progressive government that will be strongly focused on building for the future of the province. The CFFO looks forward to working with government to determine how agriculture can play a positive role in achieving those goals in the years ahead.
From the perspective of the CFFO, the sector needs to focus on ways to support greater job creation. This means a number of things. First, we need to strengthen the production base of agriculture to improve the reliability of production in the province. For example, the CFFO believes that timely use of irrigation with both increase yields and reduce vulnerability to the vagaries of the weather. Second, a strong focus needs to be placed on the resiliency of the processing sector, as they are a primary source of job creation.
As a sector, agriculture will need to focus its efforts on maintaining the public trust in the years ahead. While the vast majority of livestock farmers are responsible producers that care for their livestock, the bad actors within the sector are raising doubts about the sector as a whole. Moreover, the sector will have to continue to meet environmental and bio-diversity challenges head-on if we are seen to be responsible actors in Ontario.
From our perspective, the Liberal government will have to make some tough choices in 2015 and beyond if Ontario is going to meet its goals of balancing the budget. Everyone, including agriculture, may be asked to do their fair share to get this province into a fiscally positive position. For agriculture, this means we are going to need to focus our efforts on building a strong foundation based on improved productivity, greater resilience on the farm, and self-reliance.
Ontario has chosen a progressive government for the next four years. Agriculture can play a strong role in growing the economy in Ontario and meeting the challenges of the years ahead. The CFFO looks forward to meeting those challenges head-on.