Ontario farmers sought fair budget and followup on promises

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture was reminding the federal govern­ment last week of the industry’s needs prior to the federal bud­get.

“We have contacted Agri­culture Minister Gerry Ritz outlining funding promises from recent months, including the last election campaign,” President Bette Jean Crews said.

“Agriculture in Ontario makes a huge contribution to the country’s economy and we need sound and prudent invest­ment by the federal govern­ment to grow that contribu­tion.”

A recent letter to Ritz re­ferred to the annual payment of $100-million to address in­creas­ing production costs. Those costs continue to in­crease, and farmers are still waiting for the government to meet its commitment, Crews says.

There is also a need to ex­tend emergency advances to the cattle and hog sectors for another year; Canadian society is awaiting needed revisions to food labeling regulations so consumers can know where the food they are buying is pro­duced.

The letter reminded Ritz the final payments under the CAIS inventory transition initiative and the kickstart initiative, $900-million and $600-million respectively, have not been pro­vided to farmers.

“We know the government has been hearing from municipal leaders about the need for infrastructure funding.”

“Our farm businesses rely on sound infrastructure to help drive the rural economy. The OFA wants assurance that rural Ontario gets its fair share of needed infrastructure spend­ing,” said Crews.