News that the OMAFRA office at Wellington Place might close to make way for a new county archives rocked the farming community pretty hard.
True to form, the committee addressing the issues at Wellington Place, that beautiful complex of museum, library, and offices between Fergus and Elora, listened well. Through some innocent miscommunication, farmers were rightly concerned that the last remaining field office in the county might very well move to Guelph when ministry officials were asked to vacate the premises at Aboyne.
The farm community, rarely known to get too upset about the workings of its municipal government, was justified in expressing strong feelings that once again, agriculture was taking a back seat to other programs. In fact, despite Wellington’s strong agricultural sector, its voice continues to weaken, and the appreciation for what farmers do for the local economy continues to be supplanted by new industry, new people, and new ways of looking at things.
In recent years, as farms have become larger, much of that industry has rationalized and merged. Look at feed mills and the diminishing presence of the old Co-op stores as examples of community focal points that no longer exist. Those were essentially networking points for farmers that are now lost. To have seen Wellington Place made unavailable to those important members of our local economy would be viewed as another indicator that the agricultural industry is losing its relevance.
Thanks to credible voices, efforts are being made to ensure an office remains in the county, close at hand to the men and women of agriculture who in our mind, should be appreciated a lot more than they are.