Canada’s Agriculture Day celebrates farmers

Today, February 13th, is Canada’s Agriculture Day celebrating the sector that has sweeping impacts on life in general.

It’s a day dedicated to recognizing the hard work and dedication of those who contribute to producing the food, fibre, fuel and flowers that nourish Canadians and people around the world.

According to Statistics Canada, “Ontario has some of the best quality farmland in Canada, but it was not always the most valuable. That title was held for a long time by Alberta, but Ontario has pulled ahead statistically during the past three years”.

The estimated value of agricultural land and buildings per acre reveals that the increase in the value of farmland in Ontario is not necessarily being increased by its actual potential for farming, but for development, and urban sprawl throughout southwestern Ontario has, in fact, become a critical issue for rural communities and surrounding farmlands.

Protection of farmland has become crucial for ensuring the future of agriculture throughout Ontario, including southwestern Ontario.  According to the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), Ontario is losing an average of 319 acres of farmland every day – that is the equivalent of nine family farms paved over every week.

The OFA is a farmer-led organization based in Guelph and is the leading advocate for Ontario’s farmers.

Under the umbrella of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), the Bruce County Federation of Agriculture (BCFA) represents the interests and concerns of 1,600 farm families, while in Grey County the Grey County Federation of Agriculture (GCFA) represents and supports the interests of 1,650 farm families in its County.

In Ontario, recent numbers show that there are some 38,000 farm businesses and the issues they face range from climate change to labour and safety, taxation to mental health and wellness and cost of energy.

The OFA’s current President is the youngest in its long history.  At age 37, in addition to farming, Drew Spoelstra, is heavily involved with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA). “I believe it’s important to give back to the industry that sustains us,” says Spoelstra. “Our farm is near the town of Binbrook in a rural part of the City of Hamilton and while that brings opportunities, it also often means that the needs of farm businesses get lost in the larger urban issues that dominate the agendas of local decision-makers.”

Spoelstra adds that “… to meet the ambitious goals of the province’s ‘Grow Ontario’ strategy and to protect the future ability to continue to produce as much food, fuel and fibre right here at home, government needs to step forward and support our sector.”

In a recent news release, Spoelstra points out that the OFA “… recently brought several ideas directly to government by participating in the provincial budget consultations that are currently happening across Ontario.”

Today, on February 13th in particular, everyone is encouraged to appreciate and support local farmers and producers. “Visit your nearby farmers’ market, engage with the community and relish in the abundance of locally grown and processed products. Take this opportunity to create a delicious meal using ingredients sourced from your region.”

The OFA encourages you to share your pride in Canada’s agriculture sector by showcasing what you do with a photo or video on social media using the hashtag #CdnAgDay.

Together, let’s celebrate Farms and Food Forever.