CHRISTIAN FARMERS FEDERATION OF ONTARIO
Newsletter May 2013, Volume 11, No. 2
INSIDE THIS ISSUE President’s Comments
May 2013, Volume 11, No. 2
May 2013, Volume 11, No. 2
Lorne Small PRESIDENT
Cost recovery seems to be the order of the day. Cash-strapped governments are looking for new sources of revenue without appearing to raise taxes. Charging fees for government services is an expanding revenue generating scheme. The 2012 Ontario budget revealed a number of new or additional charges for traditional government services, all designed to raise revenue. Terms used included “full cost recovery” and “user-pay models”. Many of us would agree that it is sensible for the user of a service to pay for that service. However, when that service is mandated by law and the government is the only supplier, then we have some concerns. Are the services actually required, are the services being provided in the most cost effective manner or are the charges just a hidden tax? Do some of these services actually provide benefit to society and not only to the user? Should the user bear the full burden? An example of a reasonable user pay service is the 407 toll road that wraps around Toronto. If motorists want the convenience of using this highway they pay for the privilege. For those who do not want to pay, there are other, more congested roads available to move through the city. The 407 is not a monopoly; there is no legislated requirement that you must use that service. However, many government services are mandated. Both the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of Environment have plans to fund many if not most of their activities from fees for services. They have the legislative power to enforce their de-facto monopoly powers. Recently the Ontario Tire Stewardship (OTS) introduced a new fee structure to recover all their costs of recycling tires, including farm equipment tires. They have a mandated monopoly for tire recycling in Ontario. The new fee structure would see a dramatic increase in the cost of new tires for some farm equipment. The OTS was responding to a new regulation that requires them to fully recover all costs, including administration. However, this organization is prevented from selling the used tires to the highest bidder. Farmers will be paying more for tires because society has dictated that using tires as a fuel source is not allowed in Ontario. Tires are used as an industrial fuel in other provinces, Europe and around the world. Ontario’s farmers should not be charged more for their tires simply because society has a preference that may have no basis in science. Society should pay, or pay the difference, if it decides to mandate a sub-optimal situation. The Certificate of Compliance is used by the Ministry of Environment as part of Ontario’s water quality initiates. Many farmers require permits to carry on normal farming practices. The fee attached to an application is substantial. Many producers wonder if the cost of these permits is actually reflecting the cost to provide the service. Is every effort made to provide the service in a modern, efficient manner? Are the cost calculations fully transparent and explained to the affected producers? Are all the costs actually required to provide the service? The “user-pay models” are good government policy. We simply ask the government to pass on only the legitimate costs. Other costs mandated by society for various reasons should not be passed on to farmers. Governments are asking all businesses, including farmers, to be more innovative and productive to bolster the economy. To do so we need a smarter and more efficient regulatory environment. CFFO
• The Executive Board has approved the 2012 audited financial statements. The statements will be available for review by Provincial Council before being presented for endorsement at the Annual Convention. • Executive Board members attended many other organizations’ annual meetings during the past few months. • President Small has had several meetings with the Premier. In addition, Small made a presentation at the budget consultations. • Director Ed Scharringa was re-elected to the Board of Farm & Food Care Ontario. • President Small remains involved at the President’s Council, Open for Business sessions, Growing Forward 2 meetings and many other agriculture-related consultation events. • CFFO staff members are involved in committees and councils focused on issues such as risk management, animal welfare, stray voltage, soil sustainability and environmental issues. • The Executive Board approved a statement on Round-up Ready Alfalfa, supporting Provincial Council’s position to oppose the introduction of the Round-up Ready trait in alfalfa in Canada.
• The Executive Board sent a letter to the Honourable Jim Bradley, Ontario Minister of Environment, supporting the request by the Ontario Tire Stewardship to amend the new regulation (Regulation 84/03) to allow for a different tire classification for agricultural use. • The CFFO has received many positive comments from members and industry on commissioning the Wheeler Group paper on Supply Management. • Phil Dick, Business Resource Specialist at OMAF, made a presentation to Provincial Council about water use in agriculture. • Provincial Council adopted position statements on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, Municipal Property Taxation of Agricultural Land as well as the CFFO Agricultural Water Uses Action Plan. • The issue of Nuclear Waste Burial will be discussed at Stewardship & Policy meetings in the near future.
FYI: RISK MANAGEMENT Information about Ontario’s Risk Management Program (RMP), including forms and deadlines, can be found on Agricorp’s website: www.agricorp.com
MEMBER SERVICES Several new benefits have recently been put in place for our members. • Country Guide Magazine. CFFO members will receive a discounted rate on subscriptions and renewals to the magazine. Country Guide Magazine publishes 12 issues every year, focusing on the business side of farming. For more information see the back of this newsletter. • Christian Stewardship Services (CSS). CSS has printed material regarding their farm succession services specifically for CFFO members; it will be available wherever our material is on display. • The CFFO is excited to announce its partnership with RBC offering members the chance to take advantage of their group services. In addition, RBC is offering financial consultations for both farmers and their employees in new and exciting ways that will help them become better financial stewards on their farms and in their daily lives. • The CFFO is pleased to announce that it has established a deal with Chrysler Canada to provide a discount on new truck purchases.
May 2013, Volume 11, No. 2
POLICY NOTES Nathan Stevens GENERAL MANAGER, DIRECTOR OF POLICY DEVELOPMENT
THE CFFO PROPOSES AN AGRICULTURAL WATER USES ACTION PLAN Water is one of our most precious resources and is of growing importance for the future of food production, even in our province with the abundant water resources we have. The CFFO believes that an action plan is required if Ontario farmers are going to harness the full potential of the water resources available to them. It is imperative that government recognizes that biological use of water is dependent on maximizing potential through efficient but always sufficient use. The first step in the action plan is the development of Water Management legislation, co-authored by OMAF and MOE, that takes into consideration a number of critical areas. The legislation must separate water into types that reflect the source of the water and the appropriate management and use of that water. We then need to enable appropriate irrigation and water capture for later use through retention pond systems. Beyond agriculture, the legislation must encourage highly efficient use of water for residential, industrial, commercial and power uses. Reducing
water use in these areas will allow a greater supply for agriculture within our international agreements on the Great Lakes. Mechanical use in these areas can find efficiencies and reduced use, freeing up more water for biological use by farmers. Returning to the action plan, the province, municipalities and farmers need to maximize water access that is linked to municipal and/or compliments water-taking systems wherever possible. This can be accomplished by mandating that existing and new municipal water supply systems accommodate agriculture irrigation development based on Leamington Area Drip Irrigation (LADI). The action plan should promote and educate on conservation practices and re-use of water. Farmers should be making efforts to move to better technology and adaptation of more efficient practices, including re-use of water multiple times. Finally, as responsible stewards, farmers must continue to work on legitimate concerns regarding nutrient run-off issues of all types. Taken as a whole, the CFFO believes these steps in the plan can lead to a more environmentally responsible,
more productive and more profitable agricultural sector.
THE TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP Canada and ten other countries, including the United States, Australia and New Zealand, are currently engaged in negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a multi-lateral trade agreement. There are issues and concerns for agriculture that need to be brought to the attention of our political leaders.
nization that represents all farmers, the CFFO needs a position that strikes a balance between these different needs. Therefore, the CFFO cautiously endorses mutually beneficial trade opportunities through the TPP as being positive for agriculture, provided that our government considers the following concerns. First, the government needs to support the continued protection of the three pillars of the supply management system throughout the negotiations. Second, our government needs to support the continued existence of our national framework of Business Risk Management programming under Growing Forward 2. Finally, provincial Business Risk Management Programs need to be allowed to continue, provided adequate limits on potential market distortion are developed, such as a serious cap on individual payments at a much lower threshold than currently allowed in all provinces.
MUNICIPAL PROPERTY TAX INCREASES FOR FARMLAND
The broad facts of the matter are that Canada is a trading nation and many of its farmers export their production abroad. Ontario has the second largest food processing hub in North America and a significant portion of that production is export-oriented, having just surpassed $10 billion in exports. At the same time, Canada’s supply managed system for some types of agricultural production has provided a generation of domestic stability and is valuable. As an orga-
The CFFO has consulted with its grassroots Stewardship & Policy Committees to evaluate the situation around municipal taxation and has reached the following consensus on the issue. The current arrangement of agricultural land being rated at 25% of the residential rate remains fair. The potential additional share of the tax burden is a result of a healthy agricultural sector in the last five years, with the source of the increase coming from some farmers competing for land. However, the CFFO strongly urges all municipalities to keep their fis-
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cal houses in order. This means that restrained budgets should be the priority of municipal governments. We urge municipalities to discipline themselves in a manner that will not place additional long-term costs on taxpayers. The additional revenue coming from agriculture should not be used as an excuse for unnecessary spending.
ONGOING POLICY CONCERNS The Local Food Act has the potential to benefit farmers in Ontario both directly and indirectly. Those farmers looking to supply local markets may have increased opportunities to supply public institutions. Indirectly, increasing the broader public’s knowledge of local food production and celebrating it each year is a positive step for agriculture as a whole. The Great Lakes Protection Act is a potential concern for farmers in the long-term. While there is no doubt that continuous improvement in environmental sustainability is a worthwhile goal, it needs to be balanced with economic sustainability and social sustainability.
FOR YOUR INFORMATION THE ADVANCED AGRICULTURE LEADERSHIP PROGRAM The CFFO recognizes the importance of leadership. We are a proud sponsor of the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program (AALP). Recruitment for Class 15 of this esteemed program has been extended through June 30. If you are interested in developing your leadership skills, visit http://www.aalp.on.ca/ today to apply. NEW RESTRICTIONS FOR ON-FARM USE OF RODENTICIDES There are a number of new restrictions on the on-farm use of several commercial rodenticides. According to Health Canada, the restrictions were put in place as part of a strategy to reduce the risks associated with the use of certain ingredients and to prevent accidental harm to children and non-target animals.
The CFFO is continuing to support the efforts of farmers in the fruit and vegetable sector to have increased options to deal with wash, waste and storm water issues.
Among the new rules: • All bait has to be placed in tamperresistent bait stations or in locations not accessible to children, pets, livestock and non-target animals. • The outdoor use of commercial class, concentrated products (such as solution, emulsifiable concentrate, dust, powder) to be diluted into solid or liquid bait is prohibited. Only certain products are allowed for use in outdoor stations.
For example, the CFFO is focused on supporting the greenhouse industry in its efforts to allow waste water to be land applied under the nutrient management act instead of having to follow procedures under the Environmental Protection Act. CFFO
For complete information on the new restrictions, visit http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/alt_ formats/pdf/pubs/pest/_fact-fiche/ restriction-rodenticides-eng.pdf or contact the contact the Pest Management Information Service at 1-800-267-6315.
May 2013, Volume 11, No. 2
DISTRICT NEWS Paul Bootsma
FIELD SERVICES MANAGER
As I’m writing this the weather has finally warmed up and the tractors are out on the fields, starting this year’s planting season. For CFFO staff, this is the time to reflect on the past few months and plan for the rest of the year. The past four months have been busy. I had the opportunity to meet with many of our members again, which is always enjoyable. I hope that during the latter part of the year I will see many of you again at the different events and annual meetings. It is important that our districts are active. To date, 16 districts have held a meeting and six more are being planned for later in the year. An important item for districts to be aware of is that all districts have to sign their 2014 District Funding Agreement with the CFFO. Since the districts’ funding choices impact the federation’s budget, staff would prefer to have the agreements in place by the end of June.
RECENT DISTRICT ACTIVITIES Following is an overview of district events that took place in the past four months: Grey-Bruce held its Annual Meeting on January 31st, with Dave Reid making a presentation about Alternative
Land Use Services (ALUS). The GreyBruce district supports this project, which plans on restoring marginal and environmentally sensitive land to vegetative cover or wetland. Perth held its Annual Meeting in mid February. Participants watched a video presentation by Ralph Martin, entitled Matching Food Consumption to Production. A provisional district board was established to begin district activities. Thunder Bay hosted its meeting in late February; participants were provided with an update on the work the CFFO is doing. Rainy River held a meeting in early March. The guest speaker was Harm Sikkinga, who has farmed in three countries: the Netherlands, the United States and Canada. He shared with the group his experiences of farming in these differrent areas. Quinte hosted its meeting in March as well. Godfrey Tyler, who runs Waverley Brook Farm with his family, spoke about his efforts operating a farm business that benefits the community and provides organic and naturally grown produce. Simcoe County met on March 14th. George Schrijver, from the Simcoe Food Distribution Hub Feasibility
Study, updated the membership on the plans for a food hub in the area. Middlesex also met in March. Nathan Stevens, CFFO General Manager and Director of Policy Development, explained Agricorp’s clawback of government support payments and our federation’s response. He also presented the results of the survey that was conducted in response to the CFFO-commissioned study by The Wheeler Group on Supply Management.
May 2013, Volume 11, No. 2
solar energy. John and his family have spent three 4-year terms doing this work. East Central hosted a meeting on March 27th. Nathan Stevens made a presentation on “The CFFO and You”, explaining the accreditation process that the organization went through last year as well as the resulting changes. The district board added two more directors and started making plans for the year’s activities. Niagara held its meeting in March as well. Steve DeHaan, from Meester Insurance, spoke about “Insurance on the Farm.” He discussed a number of topics, including farm equipment on roads, roof-mounted solar panels and insuring older buildings. Meester Insurance is a long time supporter of the CFFO.
Chatham-Kent held its meeting on March 22nd, with Martin Oldengarm making a presentation on his trip to India.
Renfrew-Lanark met in early April. A video presentation, Matching Food Consumption to Production, was viewed as part of the meeting.
Essex also hosted its meeting in March. Dr. Justine Taylor, Environmental Projects Specialist with OGVG, explained about her work on nutrient management and waste water management for the horticultural industry. She is working with farmers, MOE and OMAF on the requirements for handling waste water.
Huron hosted its meeting in early April as well. Roger Thompson, a retired veterinarian who works with Veterinarians Without Borders, made a presentation on this mission work in communities that need assistance with caring for animals.
Dufferin-Wellington met in late March. John Vandermeer, from Wycliffe, talked about his work in the Congo, where he provides technical support for internet, computer networking, radio communications and
Wentworth-Brant held its meeting in April, with Martin Oldengarm making a presentation on his trip to India and sharing some of his thoughts on what he experienced there. At the Wellington meeting in mid April, Chris and Leanne Ferris, CFFO members, shared their experiences
volunteering for Medical Ministry International in Ghana, West Africa. Leanne is also on the Canadian board for this organization.
FARM SHOWS The CFFO booth could be seen at a number of farm shows this past winter. It was good to connect with many of our members and with other farmers, farm businesses and associations. The CFFO was at the first Canadian Dairy Expo in Stratford. This show proved to be a huge success. The CFFO also had a booth at the Poultry Show in London for the first time and made contact with many people there. Later this summer the booth will be set up at the Hastings County Plowing Match in Quinte West and at the Outdoor Farm Show in Woodstock.
UPCOMING CELEBRATION This summer the Rainy River district will be celebrating its 30th Anniversary. A barbecue is being planned to celebrate this milestone. This is a great opportunity to share with the community the accomplishments of both the district and the federation over the past decades.
DISTRICT NEWSLETTERS By the time you receive this newsletter the first two issues of your district’s newsletter will have been distributed. Members are encouraged to contribute to the district newsletters with any district events, information or community involvement by CFFO members.
Contributions can be emailed to email@example.com. The district newsletters are only distributed via email; if you haven’t received your issue please contact the office to ensure we have your current email address. CFFO
2014 CALENDAR The deadline for submitting your farm pictures for the 2014 CFFO Calendar is August 1, 2013. Staff will select the 12 “winners” whose pictures will be used in the calendar. All winners will receive a $25 gift certificate. Email submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org
2013 ANNUAL CONVENTION Staff has begun the preparations for the Annual Convention & Banquet and the Leadership Summit. Reservations have been made and we are looking forward to having two board members from each of the districts attending the Leadership Summit and working with the Executive Board members and the staff of CFFO. This event helps establish a good leadership team for the organization.
Leadership Summit: November 12, 2013 Annual Convention: November 13, 2013 “Farming in the World of Tomorrow” Page 7
May 2013, Volume 11, No. 2
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The CFFO Newsletter is published four times per year by the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario for its members and friends. Editor: Jenny Denhartog; Production Manager: Franchesca Weeks