By John Clement
December 2, 2011
Pat Lynch is an unabashed supporter of farmers who work hard at their vocation and aren’t afraid to see their operations grow larger. A long-time fixture within Ontario agriculture, Lynch believes that farming is something that should be pursued with great passion and that those with farms of significant size shouldn’t feel guilty about their success.
Lynch isn’t without credentials for his opinions. He’s been awarded for the efforts he’s made as a crop consultant by both industry and academia, plus has made strong contributions on provincial soil management, weed and research committees. Lynch brought some of his opinions on agriculture to the annual convention of the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario and shared them during a panel presentation on sustainability and profits.
According to Lynch, Ontario agriculture is a success story with strong productivity gains seen in both livestock and cropping over the last five decades. He pointed out that all of this has been done while farmers have learned to use less agricultural land, less pesticides, and less energy per acre. He also said that Ontario agriculture requires continued volume to be sustainable and that organic production will not produce as much per acre as modern farming techniques.
Lynch maintains that profit is not a dirty word and that some farmers need to get over their guilt feelings about pushing for success. He pointed out that if Ontario farmers don’t pursue their vocations with passion, the land will still be farmed by other larger farmers, investors of Canadian funds, offshore investors, or niche producers.
Lynch also pointed out a number of roadblocks to sustainable profits. He advised farmers to guard against waiting for the government “to do something,” to stop the infighting between quota and non-quota farmers and to be willing to change production systems for changing markets. Lynch added that farmers need plans and strategies to succeed, plus be willing to change their barns and equipments for greater efficiency. Finally, he advised strong family communications, the use of advisors, plus the use of products and services that contribute to success.
The CFFO Convention panel presentation is a good example of the wide variety of opinions on production agriculture that you will find within a meeting of the CFFO. You’ll also find strong discussions on marketing systems for farm products, meeting the challenge of climate change, best management practices in business, and research and innovation, to name a few. If you haven’t been to a CFFO meeting, check out our website’s coming events page, or watch for our media advertisements. You’re more than welcome to come to events where real farmers talk about real issues. We hope to see you there.
John Clement is the General Manager 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.