Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario Commentary By Suzanne Armstrong, CFFO Director of Research, Manager of Board and Committee Services
Sunday marked the beginning of Advent. The season of Advent is a time of anticipation. We look forward with hope to celebrating the coming of Christ into the world. We wait on the promise of new beginnings and new life. We celebrate with joy in the face of darkness, and hold close the love of our family and friends around us. We also wish peace to our neighbours at home and around the world.
Winter is a time of anticipation in farming as well. In Canada, there is a season for everything: a time to sow, a time to reap, and a time to reflect and plan. As the growing season winds down, consider what innovations you might want to incorporate for next season. This is also a good time to revisit your long-term plans for the farm, and perhaps even to look more closely at succession planning.
Winter is also the time for policy discussions among farmers across Canada. Policy discussions within CFFO will continue this winter as we bring the 2016 Policy Tour across the province. We always want to hear the diverse local issues from the widely dispersed districts as well. There are many opportunities to join in policy conversations over the winter months with local farm organizations and community groups. It is vital that farmers make their voices heard, and add their wisdom and experience to these conversations.
With increasing public interest in a variety of environmental issues, farmers and farm organizations are joining in ever-more diverse discussions, working with many different government ministries and other organizations on wide-ranging topics. Water and soil stewardship are continuing themes. Wetland conservation and protection of the Great Lakes have been important water-related topics for the provincial government. The carbon sequestration possibilities of soil-building methods are also on the agenda. Both of these connect to a desire for greater biodiversity as well.
At CFFO, finding a balance where both farmers and nature benefit, and can coexist in the landscape is the ideal goal. Stewardship means looking after the needs of both humans and nature. Farms need to be profitable, even while they contribute valuable environmental goods and services too. In order to find that balance, we need farmers across the province to join in the debates about these issues.
Through the winter months we anticipate the renewal of all of creation, just as we anticipate the renewal of our hope in Christ in this Advent season.