This week’s guest commentary comes from Debra Pretty-Straathof, Executive Member, Ontario Federation of Agriculture
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.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) welcomed Ontario farmers at the show with conversations, special events and demonstrations. Member service representatives and OFA directors were on hand in Federation House to talk about whatever was on the minds of OFA members. Key lobbying issues, including regulations, risk management, rural infrastructure, wildlife damage, environmental stewardship and energy are always popular discussions. OFA staff were encouraged about the number of questions from new and beginning farmers. The show also provided a great chance for OFA to talk with members about the innovations and new technology they come to see at the show.
For a second year in a row, young farmers were invited to a special OFA Young Farmer Tailgate Social at the farm show. Approximately 80 people attended the event that created a forum for networking with others at the beginning of their career in farming, and provided OFA with the opportunity to find out about the unique issues they face.
Innovation is always on everyone’s mind at the show. And this year, OFA sponsored a corn stover/biomass plot with live demonstrations of harvesting and processing corn stalks on site. Biomass represents an emerging opportunity for Ontario agriculture, opening new markets for growers.
Many of the OFA’s benefit partners exhibited in Federation House, making sure OFA members are taking full advantage of the exclusive offers and programs available including transportation, financial services, farm supply and communications.
Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show is an important annual event for agriculture and the OFA, bringing the industry together to share ideas, innovations and opportunities for the coming season.