CFFO Newsletter Winter 2018

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Federation Of Ontario




Newsletter January 2018, Volume 17, No.1

Photograph from our featured farm Ralph De Boer Rosa Flora Limited

INSIDE THIS ISSUE President’s Comments

CFFO Policy Notes

Featured Farm

Water Stewardship Report

CFFO Newsletter

January 2018, Volume 17, No. 1

PRESIDENT’S Comments Clarence Nywening CFFO President

This year, board and staff have responded to numerous government EBR postings and arising issues in Ontario agriculture. These are just a few of the year’s most pressing issues: In March, the Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers Board was dissolved. We worked with both the Commission and growers to move forward, and CFFO submitted comments to government on proposed amendments to Regulation 440 and 441, under the Farm Products Marketing Act. Currently, a new board and a new general manager are in place, and we are hopeful that things will run smoothly in future. The proposed $15 minimum wage increase has caused concern in our farming communities. Although CFFO believes people should get a proper wage for the work they do, the speed and timing of these changes will strain the finances of farms that rely on part-time or seasonal employees. We made these concerns known to government, and we are pleased to see tax reductions and supports for Ontario’s fruit and vegetable growers in the province’s Fall Economic Outlook. Proposed changes to federal corporate tax laws also caused grave concern in the farming community. CFFO worked with other farm organizations to voice concerns about the impact of the plan. We were encouraged that government rescinded that part of their proposal, but we will watch closely for further ramifications to farming that may result from other aspects of the tax reforms. As an organization, we continue to watch for changes in animal welfare laws, insecticide use, land use regulations, water stewardship and water usage. We continue our work with several organizations on the problem of high phosphorous levels in Lake Erie and our waterways. High phosphorous levels are both an urban and rural problem, and we all need to work together. It’s been a privilege to work with the board and staff of Christian Farmers this year. We are also thankful to all those agricultural and related organizations we have worked alongside this, as their input and help has been invaluable in our attempts to develop and communicate proper responses to our government on matters that affect us all.

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CFFO Newsletter

January 2018, Volume 17, No. 1

CFFO Agri-day Brooke Wareing Communications Intern

This year, the CFFO put a new spin on our annual convention by getting our members outside and engaging with others in the agriculture community. Agri-Day was hosted

Agri-Day was filled with reflection, education and fun.

on Tuesday, October 17, and featured guest speakers along with a tour of Country Heritage Park in Milton. As guests toured Country Heritage Park, they were transported






from an 1886 schoolhouse to a 1937 John Deere Dealership. The park reminded attendees of the humble

Next up was Greg Peterson, of the Peterson Farm Brothers. Greg, who has a degree in agricultural communications, works with his brothers and parents on a family farm in Kansas. He is best known for creating parodies of popular songs that educate urbanites about

beginnings of the agricultural industry in Ontario.

modern agriculture. Greg travels across the globe, using

Agri-Day continued in the afternoon with two guest

knowledge and trust in food production today. He spoke to

speakers who each brought unique perspectives on agriculture. Sarah Rotz (University of Guelph) discussed socio-ecological health and resilience in the Ontario agriculture production system. Sarah discussed the land rental market and farm size, noting that most large farms rely on land rental. She also discussed farm size in relation to ecological diversity, suggesting larger farmers tend to

his light-hearted parodies and engaging talks to build CFFO guests about the importance of being an ag-vocate, sharing the positive message of modern agriculture. Agri-Day was filled with reflection, education, and fun. Introducing a new venue and adding a tour to the day’s events provided many opportunities for learning and fellowship. We would like to thank everyone who attended!

be more willing to set aside land for ecological purposes.

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CFFO Newsletter CFFO Newsletter

January 2018, Volume 17, No. 1

Suzanne Armstrong Director of Research and Policy

January 2018, Volume 17, No. 1


Bill 148 fair workplaces, better jobs act

The government has introduced Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, including many changes to labour regulations in the province. The CFFO values fairness and respect in the workplace and believes that work should be fairly rewarded to encourage greater participation in the workforce.

Among the changes proposed is a sudden increase in minimum wage, raising

it to $15/hour by January 2019. This accelerated change will make Ontario uncompetitive in the regional, national and international labour markets and could mean that far fewer Ontarians will benefit from the regulatory changes if there is an overall net loss of existing and new jobs as a result.

The CFFO requested government to reconsider these sudden increases and

instead recommends that the recently established process for increasing minimum wage based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is fair and predictable for both workers and business owners, be upheld.

northern ontario agriculture strategy

ag system and nhs mapping in the ggh

The CFFO strongly supports the government’s goal of “strengthening the role of agriculture, aquaculture, and food processing in the economy of Northern Ontario.” We hope that the government will continue to move forward with the Strategy and

will implement supports that will enable entrepreneurial success for those working to expand the sector in this region.

Growth pressure across the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) region is making careful land use planning vital to protect productive farmland and natural heritage features in the region. OMAFRA is now using an “Agricultural Systems” approach, working to protect farmland while also supporting and enhancing the broader

“agricultural network” of input suppliers, processors, retailors and infrastructure

that supports a viable farming sector. Three tools have been created to implement this system: an agricultural land base map, an online Agricultural System Portal, and an implementation procedures manual.

Overall, the CFFO is supportive of the systems approach OMAFRA has taken. The CFFO put forward some constructive suggestions for adjustments or improvements to each of the three tools, including regional adjustments to the formula for determining prime agricultural areas, added layers of information to the online portal, and the establishment of Agricultural Advisory Committees for municipalities in the region.

MNRF also released a draft map of the Natural Heritage System (NHS) in the GGH region. The CFFO wants to see local consultation with landowners and on-the-

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ground verification of the mapped system.

CFFO Newsletter

January 2018, Volume 17, No. 1

POLICY NOTES farms forever & bring home the world

The Ontario government is working to improve support for local food including special attention to world foods produced and processed in Ontario. The “Farms Forever” and “Bring the Home the World” initiatives work to support the agri-food

sector as a whole, from farmer, food processing and marketing entrepreneurs to protecting productive farmland and researching new crops suitable for Ontario. The CFFO wants to see more support for local food, protection for farmland beyond the GGH area, and greater flexibility for small-scale processing, including through on-

farm inspection. The CFFO also argued for greater support for new farmers and focus on innovative ways to ensure succession of farm assets from one generation of farmers to the next, within or between farming families.

Now that the Cap and Trade market is established in Ontario, the government

cap and trade: linking the market and offset regulations

plans to link with the existing joint market that includes California and Quebec. The CFFO is concerned about the potential negative impacts of joining this market. Our key recommendations strongly encourage the province to prevent significant loss

of Ontario financial contributions through Cap and Trade to jurisdictions outside of Ontario, especially California. The CFFO also encouraged government to ensure,

through various means including a voluntary-type offset market, that there are still significant emissions reductions within Ontario. The CFFO also argued that compliance and voluntary offset protocols should be

put in place as soon as possible. This will create opportunity for projects within Ontario to accrue both financial and environmental benefits from greenhouse gas reduction.

This summer the CFFO responded to proposed changes to Regulations 441

regulation 441/400 opvg

and 400 governing the Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers’ board elections. The CFFO argued to ensure that producers are still represented by nine elected

producer members on the board. Considering the small number of producers within this sector, the CFFO also recommended that best practices, not regulations, should work to ensure succession to new board members over time.

The CFFO also responded to provincial consultations including Cultural Heritage Planning, Organic Standards in Ontario, the federal government’s Canada Food Policy, and Private Corporations Tax changes. You can find all the full submissions on the CFFO website:

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January 2017, Volume 16, No. 1 CFFO Newsletter

January 2018, Volume 17, No. 1

CFFO Marie Versteeg

Manager of Executive Board & Committees

Farming Under 40

in action

In July, the CFFO hosted our Farming Under 40 BBQs in four districts: Niagara, Chatham-Kent-Essex, Wentworth-Brant, and Quinte. CFFO hosts the BBQs to connect with a new generation of farmers, hear their unique concerns, and encourage them to get involved in leadership. Celebration and fellowship are also important ingredients. “It’s a really nice way for younger farmers to get to know each other better,” commented Tim Oosterhoff, who attended the Wentworth-Brant BBQ at Rosa Flora with his wife, Alyssa, and newborn daughter, Kasia.

The Stewardship & Policy Committees met in Woodstock, Arnprior, and

Stewardship & Policy

Peterborough this September to respond to three major policy pieces: 1.

Agricultural system mapping in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH),

designed to protect the agricultural land base and promote the agri-food

sector. 2.

Natural heritage system mapping in the GGH, designed to protect natural

systems like wetlands and woodlands—including those on farmland.


Bill 148 (Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017). Participants

recommended special industry rules and exemptions for agriculture, in

case of future government consultation.

Staff rely on meetings like these for on-the-ground insight, building policy that reflects members’ concerns and beliefs. If you’d like to join the Stewardship & Policy conversation, contact

Staff, the Executive Board, and District Board leaders met this November to

Provincial Council

discuss draft responses to Ontario’s Cap and Trade market with Quebec and California and the implications of cultural heritage designations in rural areas. Attendees also heard two presentations. John Dungavell and Julia Holder (Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry) reviewed changes to the Conservation Authorities Act, with a focus on the parameters of Conservation Authorities’ role on privately owned land. Next, Brent Taylor (Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change) discussed collaborative water-taking allocation in Australia and the future of water governance in Ontario. Find out more online at

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CFFO Newsletter

January 2018, Volume 17, No. 1

Paul Bootsma

Field Services Manager

districts in action This past summer, a number

district meetings

of our districts hosted picnics, where members enjoyed an evening of fellowship and food. Often the events were hosted by a member family, and guests were invited to tour the family farm. This is a great opportunity to see the diversity of our Above: Guests play a game of spikeball. Left: Nico Zeldenryk, Oxford Picnic host, Ernie Hardeman, MPP Oxford and Paul Bootsma, CFFO staff.


Hastings Plowing Match – In mid-August, eastern Ontario has a plowing match

farm shows

in Hastings County. Hosted on a local farmer’s fields, the two-day event attracts approximately 10,000 visitors to see what’s new in agricultural technology and to watch some old-time plowing. The Quinte District Christian Farmers Association regularly hosts a booth. This year, they offered a draw for a CFFO member couple to attend the CFFO Agri-Day, including a hotel room for one night. Outdoor Farm Show – This year, the Woodstock event set a record of 43,900 attendees. The three days of beautiful summer weather probably had something to do with it. With few crops ready for harvesting, farmers had plenty of time to enjoy wandering through the show in what many say were the nicest days of the summer. Many visited the CFFO booth, where board members from the Executive and a number of districts were on hand to answer questions about the Federation.

Progress waits for no one, and change marches quickly in agriculture. Where

2018 policy tour

are the winds of change blowing in agriculture today? This winter, staff and Executive Board members will be traveling the province in the early months of 2018, meeting with the membership of each district. Come out and discuss new innovations and how they can bring both economic and social benefits for farmers.

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January 2018, Volume 17, No. 1

2018 FBR Registration In 2016, Ontario’s accredited farm organizations asked OMAFRA to increase the annual FBR fee amount to meet rising operational costs. The fee has remained at $195 (+HST) since 2010, placing the approved fee increases below cost of living increases over the same time period. The CFFO received unanimous support from our District Association boards to seek a stepped funding increase in November 2016. This autumn, several members joined an email campaign addressed to Minister of Agriculture Jeff Leal, voicing support for the CFFO and recognizing the need for this increase. This December, the Lieutenant Governor in Council approved the fee increase. To avoid overburdening our farming businesses as much as possible, the AFOs requested a stepped increase, spread over four years: • January 2018: $225 (+HST) • January 2020: $240 (+HST) • January 2020: $255 (+HST) The increase will support the Federation so that we can continue to advocate for our members in an increasingly complex political environment. It’s vital for keeping CFFO strong as an organization now and into the future. We appreciate your continued support!

CFFO Newsletter

CFFO Newsletter

January 2018, Volume 17, No. 1

Sign up for our E-Newsletter The CFFO is introducing an E-Newsletter! Our bi-monthly newsletter offers the CFFO community regular updates on CFFO activities, policy work that matters for your farm, agricultural events around Ontario, and more. If you already get the CFFO’s Commentary, watch for our newsletter in February. If you don’t get the Commentary but would like the newsletter, please email:

2018 Calendar JUl Jan JanuaryMarch February March





CFFO Policy Tour District Annual Meetings Farm Business Registration Provincial Council (Feburary 28) Annual Meeting Leadership Summit (March 27)

Sep June

Provincial Council (June 27)


Farming Under 40 BBQs

District BBQs



Stewardship & Policy

Committee Series CFFO Agri-Day Provincial Council (October 31)

Are you interested in receiving meeting notices for Provincial Council or Stewardship & Policy meetings? Contact for more information.

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CFFO Newsletter

January 2018, Volume 17, No. 1

Ralph De Boer, Dunnville, Ontario

Rosa Flora Limited The CFFO would like to show our appreciation to our members and build

marie Versteeg

community by including the story of a featured farm in every issue.

Manager of Executive Board & Committees

The entrance to Rosa Flora’s east building is a soaring atrium with full-grown palm trees and a rocky waterfall feature. Prominently placed is a huge green banner proclaiming






reads, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” The work that goes on in the rest of the building—the board rooms and business offices, the greenhouses and

“Roses, you can chop, throw flat in a box, fly across the country, leave on the tarmac for three days, and when you pop them in water, they bloom,” explains Ralph. Given the rose’s hardiness and the revolution of global shipping, it was only a matter of time before other countries would be able to access the North American market at a lower cost than Rosa Flora could do in Ontario.

loading docks—is an expression of faith.

It was time to change.

Rosa Flora began as a cut rose operation in 1978,

Today, Rosa Flora’s primary production is in gerbera

after owners Otto and Corine Bulk immigrated from the Netherlands, where it was next to impossible to buy land. The business is now co-owned by the next generation, Joshua Bulk and Arielle and Ralph DeBoer. Rosa Flora is flourishing thanks to Otto’s far-sightedness. In the 1980s, Otto foresaw the hazards that globalization might pose to his business. The Bulks shifted their business

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daisies. Ties to Holland are still strong: the business imports their plugs—or seedlings—from the Netherlands. You might be surprised at the choice of flower. With their thick, sturdy stems and vivacious, colourful petals, gerbera daisies seem invincible as far as flowers go. But in fact, they are technically difficult to grow and especially tricky to pack and ship. This makes cross-continent shipping a problem, so Rosa Flora’s Ontario location is

CFFO Newsletter

January 2018, Volume 17, No. 1

perfect for accessing the “local” North American market.

and lisianthus production facilities.

Rosa Flora has also expanded its specialization to include

This summer, Rosa Flora hosted one of CFFO’s

other temperamental flowers: snapdragons, lisianthus,

Farming Under Forty BBQs. As part of the event,

and stephanotis. Today, the company grows 50 million

Young CFFO supporters and their families from the

stems a year and ships across the United States and

Wentworth-Brant and Niagara districts followed Ralph

Canada. You’ve probably seen Rosa Flora blooms at

De Boer on a tour of Rosa Flora’s impressive system of

your grocery store or in your holiday flower arrangement.

greenhouses, coolers, loading docks, and boiler rooms.

Rosa Flora has kept its edge by adopting sustainable

DeBoer’s enthusiasm on the tour was palpable. “I could


talk about growing lisianthus all day,” he quipped.






systems help the business to use and reuse water pest

Rosa Flora’s motto—pride in every petal—is exemplified

management system reduces the need for pesticides. An

in De Boer’s joy in his work. That passion is foundational

onsite wind turbine and a carbon neutral biomass boiler


generate power for the greenhouses. Rosa Flora runs

explains it: “As a farm built on Christian principles,

at about 95% efficiency—a fact that enables this large

we believe that we can give God all the glory through

operation to remain in Ontario and continue growing.

the growing of the best fresh-cut flowers in the world.”

In early 2017, Rosa Flora added an additional 2.5 acres

The CFFO is proud to serve farm businesses in Ontario

of new gerbera production. They are currently at work

like Rosa Flora.












building four acres of new, state-of-the-art snapdragon

CHRISTIAN FARMERS Federation Of Ontario

CFFO Newsletter

January 2018, Volume 17, No. 1

CFFO Water Stewardship Workshop Suzanne Armstrong Director of Research and Policy

This September the CFFO and our Joshua Project Water Stewardship Team hosted a workshop focused on managing water quantity on farms. Farmers across Ontario are realizing that farming today requires a lot of ingenuity to deal with the constantly varying conditions from one season to the next. We can have very dry seasons, like we had in 2012 and 2016, or we can have very wet seasons, like many farmers had this

ways to keep fields workable when

location livestock watering, including

there is too much or too little.

areas with permafrost.

The CFFO’s Water Stewardship

Other presentations focused on water

Workshop included 11 speakers drawn

governance and policy. Two of the

from local universities, conservation

presenters, Brent Taylor (Ministry of the

authorities, farm organizations, farm

Environment and Climate Change) and

implement suppliers, and government.

Brenda Dyack (Agri-Food Economic

The full-house audience of 60

Systems) each shared their expertise

participants listened to presentations

from work on water allocations during

focused on issues of new adaptive

a drought crisis in Australia. Taylor

technology for water management

offered helpful lessons on how to keep

and on water policy challenges and

collaborative engagement on water

potential solutions.

effective in local communities. Dyack addressed the system of market-

year in 2017.

On the technology side, Peter White

based water permit allocations and the

from the University of Guelph gave two

economic impacts this had for different

With the current weather conditions in

presentations looking at the benefits of

sectors of agriculture and for the

subsurface drip irrigation and moisture


Ontario, farmers have to be prepared for varying amounts of water during a growing season. This means we need made-for-Ontario solutions through innovative technology and water policy to make sure farmers have the water they need, when they need it, and

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sensors. Bruce Kelly from Farm and Food Care Ontario presented on a

Taylor along with Sharon Bailey

recent water meter and vegetable

(OMAFRA) gave a presentation on key

washer project with growers in the

issues in water policy for the Ontario

Holland Marsh. Doug Plaunt from Kelln

government. They highlighted, among

Solar discussed technology for remote

other things, the important connection

CFFO Newsletter

January 2018, Volume 17, No. 1

between water quantity management

research team examined the potential

prioritizes agriculture’s needs

and water quality issues, such as

impact on timothy production in the

appropriately among water users. In

nutrient losses.

northern clay belt and corn production

order for this to happen, we need to

in the Chatham-Kent regions of

make sure farmers’ voices are heard in


these water governance conversations.

Research and monitoring of water is vital to ensure that farmers and policy makers have reliable historical and current data relevant to Ontario. Janina Plach (University of Waterloo) presented recent research on tillage and tile drains and their relationship to nutrient losses on farm fields. Her research is demonstrating that the particular soils and freeze-thaw cycles in Ontario affect transport of nutrients including phosphorus, which has implications for best management practices. Conservation Authorities also play a role in monitoring and data collection on water conditions across the

Several members in CFFO leadership attended the Workshop. From left to right: Suzanne Armstrong, Gerry Rook, Richard Blyleven, Jacques Tetreault, Bethanee Jensen, Frank Hoftyzer, Gerald Poechman

province. Ryan Post (Nottawasaga Valley CA) shared three different

Rob de LoĂŤ (University of Waterloo)

If farmers can find ways to manage

water monitoring programs including

reminded those present that farmers

water in varying conditions, it will help

a program to help with low water

and farm advocates need to be well

ensure consistent crop production


prepared to participate in collaborative

and a stable food supply. This is good

water discussions at the local and

for farmers, for their food processing

Looking further ahead, Al Douglas

provincial level. There are many

customers, and for consumers.

(Ontario Centre for Climate Impacts

emerging local water governance

and Adaptation Resources) spoke

groups, from local source water

Videos of many of the speaker

about the importance of managing

protection to low water response and

presentations, including poster

water through to the 2050s based on

irrigation advisory groups, where

presentations and discussion panels,

estimates of changes in temperature

farmers are being called to participate.

are available on the CFFO website.

and precipitation patterns. His

We want to see water policy that

This project was funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2 in Ontario.

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January 2018, Volume 17, No. 1

CFFO Newsletter


preserve our best farmlands. OFT’s policy efforts have

Farmland Protection Program Assistant Ontario Farmland Trust

Coordinated Land Use Planning Review and Agricultural

Ontario’s farmland is an essential resource in Canada. Farmland helps shape our identity and provides Canadians with a sense of place. The unfortunate reality is that Ontario currently loses 175 acres of farmland a day (Statistics Canada, 2016). This rate of farmland loss is unsustainable and increased efforts are necessary to establish an equitable balance in Ontario’s social,

long-term and




Farmland protection mechanisms include stronger regulations on developers, consistency with land classification maps, implementing direct zoning restrictions, and the increased use of easement agreements. The Ontario Farmland Trust (OFT) focuses on direct land protection through farmland easement agreements and policy development for improved farmland protection. These efforts are part of OFT’s mandate to protect and

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included providing recommendations to government on the System Mapping, as well as leading a collaborative submission with other major agricultural organizations in support of introducing firm and permanent urban boundaries. OFT’s policy work reflects the need to










and mechanisms that can protect the integrity of Ontario’s agricultural land. OFT’s farmland securement efforts are critical to protecting farmland for longterm agricultural use. OFT is the only organization with a single provincewide mandate to protect and preserve our best farmlands. Farmland easement agreements are one tool that farmers can use to protect their land. What exactly is a farmland easement agreement? It is a permanent and lasting legal contract enabled by the Conservation Land Act between a willing property owner and an easement-holding organization, such as OFT, which is registered on title in perpetuity. Each

CFFO Newsletter

January 2018, Volume 17, No. 1

OL FOR PERMANENTLY PROTECTING FARMLAND IN ONTARIO agreement can be tailored to the land protection

it will never restrict normal farm practices on the property.

interests and needs of each farmer

and can be

It also does not require planning approvals from the

applied to the entire property or a portion of it. These

government. Farmland easement agreements can impact

agreements include provisions to protect farmland and

property value, and the appraisal is conducted to measure

maintain uses on the property that are compatible

any potential reduction in market value. If there is a negative



impact on land value, the farm owner is compensated

property can also be protected to help promote wildlife

with a charitable tax receipt for the difference in value.






corridors and linkages. Farmland easement agreements are The property will be assessed by OFT

a strong mechanism that can be used

staff and external third parties, such as

to protect Ontario farmland forever.

ecologists, appraisers, and surveyors.

They support normal farm practices

This is to determine and differentiate

and ensure that agricultural land is

between the agricultural, natural, and

protected from urban sprawl and

residential uses on the property. An

development. Easement agreements

example of the areas marked for an

provide farmers with security in their

easement agreement can be seen here.

long-term investment and use of the

The agreement includes restrictions that are developed

land. They are one mechanism that should continue to be

cooperatively between the property owner and organization

utilized and better recognized within land use policy to ensure

to ensure a shared vision for long-term farmland protection.

the protection of our critical agricultural resource in Ontario.

The easement agreement ensures that the property owner maintains ownership and the right to sell the land. It constitutes a long-term relationship between the owner and organization to maintain the specified conditions; however,

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CFFO Newsletter

Thanks to our Partners and Agri-Day sponsors Ampersand Beef Farmers of Ontario Country Guide Dairy Farmers of Ontario DBK Accounting Professional Corp. Ducks Unlimited Canada Egg Farmers of Ontario

Farm Credit Canada FBC Floradale Feed Mill, Ltd. Gay Lea Foods Co-operative, Ltd. Grain Farmers of Ontario Grand Valley Fortifiers, Ltd. Heartland Farm Mutual

Jay-Lor Fabricating, Inc. Meester Insurance Centre Meller Poultry Equipment, Inc. Nachurs Alpine Solutions Norwell Dairy Systems, Ltd. Salford Group, Inc.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

RETURN UNDELIVERABLE ITEMS TO CHRISTIAN FARMERS FEDERATION OF ONTARIO 642 WOOLWICH ST. GUELPH ON N1H 3Y2 T: 519-837-1620 Toll Free: (1) 855-800-0306 Email: Facebook: Twitter: @CFFOnt Web Site:

The CFFO Newsletter is published two times per year by the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario for its members and friends. Editor: Marie Versteeg; Production Manager: Frances Pitkin