CHRISTIAN FARMERS FEDERATION OF ONTARIO
Newsletter January 2016, Volume 14, No.1
INSIDE THIS ISSUE Past President’s Comments
New CFFO Leadership
January 2016, Volume 14, No. 1
PAST PRESIDENT’S COMMENTS Sustainability is a catch phrase frequently being used by the popular media. It has taken on a life of its own. It means that for a business to be sustainable it must be profitable, be environmentally responsible and also be socially accountable; “Profit” “Planet” and “People.” Many large businesses are insisting that their complete supply
LORNE SMALL CFFO Past President
chain be sustainable. For farmers this new emphasis on sustainable practices will have an impact on many of our operating procedures and activities. The pressure being placed on farmers is coming from the marketplace not government initiatives. If our farmers expect to continue to have a market for their products, then we will have to demonstrate that our businesses are striving to be sustainable. Consumer organizations have discovered that their sustainability interests can best be realised by pressuring retailers who in turn put pressures on their supply chain. Over the last two decades farmers have improved their environmental footprint primarily through voluntary actions. The huge success of the “Environmental Farm Plan” is a shining example of how the farm community is working to enhance the environment. Social responsibility comes in many forms. Farmers have continued to demonstrate the care they provide for the animals on their farms. They continue to demonstrate their willingness to improve animal care and comfort when new practices are introduced. Farmers provide habitat for many non-farm species ranging from migratory birds, native wild animals, pollinators and much smaller living organisms. To meet sustainable targets the farmers of Ontario will simply have to document what we are contributing to society and share our experiences with our urban cousins. For me the most positive outcome of the push for sustainability is the realization that every step in the supply chain from farmer to retailer must be profitable. This is the first time that the consumer and retailer have understood that farmers must also be profitable. For decades retailers have pitted one farmer against another farmer in a race to the lowest cost with no regard for the livelihood of farm families. They often left it to governments to salvage depressed farming communities. The introduction of Marketing Boards and Supply Management was an effort by farmers to gain some bargaining power and provide sustainability for their respective commodities. The CFFO is working with a wide range of other farm groups to develop a sustainability initiative based on the Environmental Farm Plan. This initiative, by working with all partners in the full supply chain, should meet the expectations of major retailers and their customers. We want to secure a long-term sustainable path for Ontario agriculture.
January 2016, Volume 14, No. 1
This fall the CFFO hosted Stewardship & Policy meetings in Arnprior, Peterborough, and Woodstock. We discussed the Conservation Authorities Act, and the government’s proposed Strategic Plan for Ontario Wetlands 2015-2030.
SUZANNE ARMSTRONG CFFO Director of Research/ Manager of Board and Committee Services
Wetland issues were further discussed at Provincial Council. It was exciting to discover in the course of conversation that many CFFO farmers around the table where involved in water issues, be it with a conservation authority, or other local water-related groups. Many also actively work to conserve or improve wetlands on their farms. The CFFO values diverse conservation authorities across the province, able to meet the needs of each local watershed and population. We also stress that a good working relationship between farmers and conservation authorities is beneficial to all Ontarians. The voice of farmers in conservation authorities’ decision-making process is vital. Working cooperatively with individual farmers and encouraging voluntary stewardship wherever possible builds a stronger relationship between local conservation authorities and resident farmers. Farmer landowners will be important potential partners in wetland conservation initiatives within Ontario. The CFFO sees incentives as a good way to increase wetland stewardship on private land. While protecting wetlands is an important goal, policies also need to respect the needs of agriculture, especially around drainage areas and retention ponds. The CFFO also argues that any move to a “no net loss policy” for wetlands must not do so at the expense of another of our precious natural resources, dependable productive farmland. The Ontario government proposed a 10-year exemption for agriculture regarding Endangered Species Act (ESA) regulations for bobolinks and eastern meadowlarks. The CFFO supports this exemption which should encourage voluntary grassland stewardship by farmers across the province. Policy discussions will continue this winter as we bring the 2016 Policy Tour to district meetings across the province. The focus of this year’s discussions will centre on soil-related themes. Come out to discuss the increasing interest in cover crops, improving nutrient stewardship, and why policy makers are taking much greater interest in organic matter in soils. We always want to hear the diverse local issues from our widely dispersed districts as well. Dates for the local meetings will be posted on the CFFO website. We hope you will plan to come out and bring some friends. We look forward to seeing you there.
January 2016, Volume 14, No. 1
Emerging Opportunities for Ontario Agriculture Tuesday Dec 1, 2015 Annual convention & Banquet
CFFO 2015 Convention speakers By Suzanne Armstrong DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH MANAGER OF BOARD AND COMMITTEE Services
consumer demands for responsible sourcing. This pressure from consumers has moved retailers and manufacturers to respond with various initiatives that demonstrate
Emerging Opportunities for
responsible practices, and
Ontario Agriculture was the focus
responsible sourcing throughout
of the CFFO Annual Convention
the supply chain. This is now
this December 1st. Our line-up
reaching farmers. She emphasized
of speakers brought insight into
the three aspects of profit, people,
changes and trends in the industry and advice on how farmers can rise to meet new opportunities. Farm businesses and farm policy makers have many challenges ahead, as well as many new ways of promoting the interests of farmers and of agriculture as a whole. Our first speaker for the day was
and planet in her definition of food chain sustainability, all reliant on
Cher Mereweather, who is Executive
the fourth pillar, â€œcrop and animal
Director of Provision Coalition.
health and welfare.â€? There is an
From her perspective working
increasing need to build trust with
on sustainability issues with food
consumers by demonstrating
processors and manufacturing,
transparency and sustainability
Mereweather offered convention
in how food is produced and
guests insight into changes in
processed. Mereweather outlined
January 2016, Volume 14, No. 1
the top seven things that help build
improvements in diet, especially
tough questions on farm practices.
trust in the food system. These
including more meat. There may
Educating interested consumers
included sharing information that
also be more opportunities for
is an important step to making
is complete and accurate, publicly
Canadian farmers in global trade,
eaters more aware of where their
available, easy to understand,
as Canada expects to continue to
food comes from, debunking myths
and demonstrates integrity by
be a net exporter of agricultural
that circulate about how food is
including both positive and negative
goods in the long-term. He added
produced, and promoting all the
information. She also discussed
that, this being the case, Canadian
care that farmers put into producing
the benefits of the Sustainable
farmers have a responsibility to farm
food here in Ontario.
Farm and Food Plan initiative,
efficiently in order to ensure this
demonstrating how collaboration
growing global demand for food is
between different sectors of the
For our banquet in the evening we invited Bruno Wiskel, a popular speaker who also farms just
supply chain is possible and
outside of Edmonton Alberta.
beneficial for all involved.
Wiskel entertained and educated the audience with a blend of humour and inspirational ideas for innovative ways to market farm products. Wiskel also reminded the audience of the importance of balancing the physical (including profit), the intellectual and the spiritual demands of farming. Wiskel builds resilience on his farm by â€œdoing different things, and doing things differently.â€? Not only has he
managed to grow grapes on his zone two farm, he also found a way
After lunch we heard from Lyndon
In the afternoon we heard from
to market the leaves. Most of all he
Carlson, Executive Vice-President
Andrew Campbell, who runs his own
shared his passion for the joy of
and Chief Marketing Officer at
communications company, Fresh Air
farming with the audience.
FCC, who spoke on consumer
Media. He is working to get more
trends and new opportunities in
farmers engaged in social media
agriculture. Carlson discussed new
as a means to get their story out
opportunities for export, especially
to consumers. Social media is an
from the growing affluence of many
exciting new tool that creates many
in India and China. Population
opportunities to make the broader
growth itself accounts for about
public more aware of innovations
half of the expected growth in
in agriculture, and of how food is
demand for food globally. The
actually produced. Campbell had
other 50% comes from increasing
some valuable suggestions for
affluence, which usually leads to
farmers on how they can address
We thank all our speakers for sharing their insights and experiences with us at our Annual Convention and Banquet.
January 2016, Volume 14, No. 1
DISTRICTS IN ACTION LEADERSHIP SUMMIT
FIELD SERVICES MANAGER
The 2015 CFFO Leadership Summit was held on Monday evening November 30th at the St. Jacobs Courtyard Marriot. Thank you to all the district board members and spouses who attended and participated in the seminar to build the CFFO leadership team. The program for the evening began with a dinner and fellowship with other district board members. Following this, Joe Shuker from Strive gave a presentation outlining the importance of smart and healthy teams and the value of good communication in order to understand each other. He also took us through some exercises to enable board members in working together to be effective teams and leaders. Each District Board is a team that plays a role as part of the Federation. Questions and dialogue throughout the presentation showed a good connection between the speaker and the audience. Each district board member received a folder with material included to assist boards in their work. Included in the folders were workbooks and handbooks to assist the districts in planning the year ahead. Contact information was also given to encourage the boards to contact each other for ideas and assistance. Once again the Leadership Summit was successful and we enjoyed time together for fellowship and team building. Committed active districts keep the organization strong.
Canadian Outdoor FARM SHOW This past September the CFFO hosted a booth at the Canadian Outdoor Farm Show in Woodstock. Over the course of the three days of wonderful weather the booth was busy as show guests stopped by to chat or inquire about the efforts of the Federation. It was good to make acquaintances with members from across the province and to meet nonmembers who just chatted for awhile. The attendance was very good for all three days. Coffee was served at the booth and there was a draw for a Canadian Tire gift card. The CFFO also gave out 15 vouchers each day for a free lunch at the Lions Club tent. Non-CFFO members were also given information about the CFFO with the hope that they will consider membership with the Federation.
DISTRICT AGMs Before we know it will be 2016 and time for district annual meetings. In 2015 we introduced the CFFO Policy Tour which involved discussing predetermined topics during the district annual meetings. This proved to be very successful as members and guests were given the opportunity to discuss local issues and concerns and then give input on policy issues. The CFFO staff is preparing for the 2016 Policy Tour with new discussion topics and will be working with the district boards to organize the dates and locations for the district annual meetings. We are looking forward to good attendance and discussions again with members and guests. See you around the province.
January 2016, Volume 14, No. 1
NEW LEADERSHIP FOR THE CFFO
From left to right: John Kikkert, Bethanee Jensen, Peter Peeters, Clarence Nywening, Richard Blyleven, Henry Stevens, Ed Scarringa and Simon de Boer.
By Franchesca Weeks Communications Manager
lot of political leaders and we thank
forget who number one is and what
him for that. We thank you for your
the CFFO started for, that we are the
On Dec. 1, 2015 the Christian Farmers
four years of leadership.” Looking
stewards of our farms and businesses
ahead, Nywening continued, “I hope
and to never forget our focus,” said
and pray that I can be as good of a
leader for you and that with God’s
The CFFO welcomes John Kikkert
help I can bring Him glory in the work
back onto the Executive Board as he
that was put before us.” Nywening
previously served as President for
has previously served as Director and
the CFFO from 2003-2009. John and
as Vice-President on the Executive
his wife Sue are chicken and turkey
producers from Smithville, Ontario.
Joining him on the leadership team
“It’s rewarding to lead the Christian
are John Kikkert from Niagara and
Farmers Federation of Ontario in doing
Richard Blyleven from Haldimand-
their work,” said Kikkert.
Norfolk as Vice-Presidents for the
Ed Scarringa from Wentworth-Brant,
CFFO. Richard Blyleven operates
Bethanee Jensen from Huron and
an egg and crop farm with his wife
Henry Stevens from Wellington were
Janet in Cayuga. He has been on the
elected as Directors, joining Simon
Executive Board for four years and is
de Boer from Grey-Bruce and Peter
also the chairman of the Haldimand
Peeters from East Central who are
Agriculture Advisory Committee. “I will
currently still serving their two-year
keep the CFFO strong and never ever
term as Directors.
Federation of Ontario (CFFO) held their Annual General Meeting at St. George Banquet Hall in Waterloo where elections for President, VicePresidents and Directors took place. The CFFO saw a change in leadership as Clarence Nywening was elected as the new CFFO President. Nywening is a broiler-breeder operator and cash cropper from the Thamesville area. In his acceptance speech Nywening thanked his predecessor Lorne Small who served as the CFFO President for the past four years by saying, “I have a big job ahead of me and big shoes to fill. Lorne has been a very good representative for us in the political realms and he knows a
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THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS AND PARTNERS Allied Associates LLP, Chartered Accountants Blackburn Radio Bostech Mechanical Ltd. Bramhill Seeds Ltd. Chalmers Fuels Conestogo Agri-Systems Inc. Country Guide Dairy Farmers of Ontario David M. den Boer, Chartered Accountant Farm Credit Canada Fawcett Tractor Supply Ltd. FBC, Canadaâ€™s Farm & Small Business Tax Specialist Floradale Feed Mill Limited Gay Lea Foods Co-operative Ltd. Grand Valley Fortifiers Limited Harkness Equipment Ltd. Jay-Lor Fabricating, Inc.
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The CFFO Newsletter is published three times per year by the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario for its members and friends. Editor: Suzanne Armstrong; Production Manager: Franchesca Weeks