By Nathan Stevens
December 30, 2011
As 2011 comes to a close, we begin to look forward to 2012. For many of us, the beginning of a new year is taken as an opportunity to commit to new resolutions for the coming year, either ending bad habits or starting good ones. Or they develop a wish list for what they want to accomplish in the coming year.
I have some personal resolutions and wishes I want to pursue in the coming year. I also have some resolutions and wishes for the agriculture sector in 2012.
1. A thorough re-evaluation of our approach to animal welfare Issues
The last year has seen Ontario’s approach to animal welfare issues move to the forefront of many farmers’ discussions. The conclusion reached by many is that there is the need for a serious re-evaluation of the entire process. The vast majority of farmers provide top notch care for their animals, but the few bad actors that do exist need to be dealt with properly for the good of everyone.
2. A renewed focus on long-term planning for Canadian agriculture
Nationally, 2012 will see the continued development of Growing Forward 2, Canada’s Vision for Agriculture for the 2013-2018 program years. Hopefully, the national and provincial agriculture ministers will listen to the voice of farmers and industry and come to a consensus on how to advance agriculture for all the farmers across our great nation.
Yet throughout the negotiations on this deal there will be the need to be realistic about the fiscal realities of the federal and provincial governments in the coming years. The reality is that government and farmers must be willing to prioritize and focus on key programming that will provide dividends down the road, and be ready to accept the possibility of reductions in other areas.
My final wish for Ontario’s farmers in 2012 is that they be given the tools to excel in their operations, and develop new innovative ways to meet the challenges they face. I also wish that you and your families have a happy, healthy New Year.
Nathan Steven is the Research & Policy Advisor for the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario. The CFFO Commentary represents the opinions of the writer and does not necessarily represent CFFO policy. The CFFO Commentary is heard weekly on CFCO Chatham, CKNX Wingham, and UCB Canada radio stations in Chatham, Belleville, Bancroft, Brockville and Kingston and in Brantford and Woodstock. It is also found on the CFFO website: www.christianfarmers.org. CFFO is supported by 4,200 family farmers across Ontario.