By Henry Stevens
April 1, 2011
The hard work of the Ontario Agricultural Sustainability Coalition has finally produced positive results. As many people know, the 2011 provincial budget was announced this week and farmers received the eagerly anticipated news that new types of Business Risk Management programming are coming for many Ontario Farmers.
Presenting solutions that will cover the programming gaps found in existing programs like Agri-Stability has been the ongoing work of OASC. The coalition, made up of a wide variety of agricultural organizations, including the CFFO, has been concerned about the resiliency of the provincial agricultural sector and has worked tirelessly towards solutions.
Our provincial government recognized that volatility in commodity markets is an issue for farmers in managing business risks. The 2011 Budget announced the extension of the current pilot Risk Management Program for grain and oilseed farmers. Furthermore, the government will also implement a new Risk Management Program for the cattle, hog, sheep and veal sectors. Fruit and vegetable growers will be getting a new Self-Directed Risk Management Program.
These new risk management programs represent an innovative approach in providing bankable, stable and predictable support for Ontario’s farmers while responding to market trends in the long-term.
However, the job for CFFO and OASC isn’t done yet. The federal government still isn’t on board with regionally flexible business risk management programming. Moving forward, the efforts of OASC will need to focus on convincing the federal government that regionally specific programming is a necessity due to the sheer diversity of agriculture across Canada,
The CFFO would like to thank Carol Mitchell, the Minister of Agriculture, and the staff at OMAFRA for their hard work and support in making these new programs a reality. It took courage and leadership on the part of our province to move ahead alone in supporting Ontario’s farmers.
Henry Stevens is the President of the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario. The CFFO Commentary represents the opinions of the writer and does not necessarily represent CFFO policy. It can be heard weekly on CKNX Wingham and CFCO Chatham, Ontario and is archived on the CFFO website: www.christianfarmers.org. The CFFO is supported by 4,200 farm families across Ontario