By: Mark Wales
Published: Blackburn News, July 8, 2013

Image Credit: Ontario Federation of Agriculture

Ontario loses approximately 100 acres of farmland every day, and our best, most productive soils are going the fastest. That’s why the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) recently signed a letter of support for Ontario Farmland Trust’s (OFT) new strategic plan and Farmland Forever fundraising campaign. This new strategic initiative will help advance the work of this charitable organization to establish conservation easements on Ontario farmland.

Here in Ontario, farmers are proud to cultivate some of the most fertile and productive soils in the world. OFA fervently believes the preservation of our province’s farmland base is a big priority and in everyone’s best interest, not just the farmers who own the land. People around the corner and around the world rely on the food we produce every day, and the agri-food industry makes big bottom line economic contributions to our province. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture supports farmland preservation through advocating for provincial land use policy. And over the years, OFA and the Ontario Farmland Trust have worked together on research, education and policy development to further strengthen the protection of Ontario farmland.

The Ontario Farmland Trust has been protecting and preserving farmland and the associated agricultural, natural and cultural features of rural Ontario for 10 years. The organization has three mandates:
Direct land protection through conservation easements and land donations
Policy development for improved farmland protection
Research and education to advance land protection and related policy development

OFA and its affiliated county federations of agriculture have long established interests in land use planning and advocating for the protection of agriculture as the highest and best use of our province’s arable land. Our organization shares Ontario Farmland Trust’s values and concerns with the loss of Ontario farmland. OFA endorses this organization and the unique service it brings to Ontario’s farm community. We look forward to a continued collaborative approach in the future, and strongly believe a united front from multiple organizations will strengthen farmland protection efforts.

Land loss is serious business for Ontarians today and tomorrow. And the Ontario Farmland Trust is working to permanently preserve this diminishing resource through policy, partnerships and protection. The OFA applauds and endorses their work to protect today’s farmland. Without it, we won’t have a future for Ontario food, fibre or fuel production.

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