Farm group tells county council of award for sustainability

County coun­cillors here learned Oct. 29 that there are a lot of good farmers in this area – and farm groups want to recognize them.

John Sutherland, vice-pres­i­dent of the National Farmers Union, came to council to ex­plain the Sustainable Farmer of the Year award. It will be pre­sented to a farmer from Well­ington County or Waterloo Re­gion.

Sutherland said there are many good farmers in the two areas, and such recognition will let urban people, in particular, know that farmers are stewards of the land.

“There are many farmers who stand out from the others,” he said. “We want to encourage them and for them to be men­tors to young people. There is too much [food] brought in from elsewhere.”

He added, “It is important that farmers be recognized as play­ing a major role in our future.”

He said the criteria for sel­ec­ting a winner will include those farmers who work within natural systems and he added it can be more than just an indi­vidual, and include an entire farm family.

To be eligible, the nominees must have a farm registration num­ber, and they must be affi­liated with either the National Farmers Union, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, or the Christian Farmers Federa­tion of Ontario.

He said anyone holding public office is ineligible, but they will be once they leave office.

Warden Joanne Ross-Zuj said the award is a good initi­ative in the community.

Councillor Lou Maieron said he sits as a councillor on the Wellington Federation of Agriculture, and he hears a lot about what farmers are doing, but there is very little public re­lations about what they do.

“This will shed light on what farmers are doing,” he said.

Councillor Rod Finnie add­ed, “We talk about sustain­ability. Urban people don’t know that farmers are in the forefront.”

Sutherland noted the award was designed and produced by the art students from Erin Dis­trict High School.

Councillor Mike Broom­head thanked Sutherland for including families for the award, saying, families are an important part of sustainable farms.