Why Ontario Agriculture Week matters

For the past fifteen years the week leading up to Thanksgiving has been Ontario Agriculture Week, a time to recognize the contributions of our hard-working farmers.

Recently Premier Wynne introduced new legislation that would replace Agriculture Week with a Local Food Week. While it’s important to recognize local food we don’t believe taking away Ontario Agriculture Week is the solution.

Ontario Agriculture Week is about recognizing the food farmers grow, but it is also much more. It is about recognizing farmers that stayed up all night with a sick animal. It is about recognizing farmers that work from sunrise to sunset and then far into the night to get work done before the rain. It is about recognizing that after all that, the farmer still makes time to help the community or a neighbour in need.

It is also an opportunity to recognize how our farmers care for the land, and their work protecting our environment.

Ontario Agriculture Week is a time to acknowledge the contributions of farmers and farming to our rural communities. A 2010 report on the Economic Contribution of the Ontario Farm Sector showed that farming contributed $22 billion in sales, 164,000 jobs and $7 billion in direct wages and salaries to our economy. It provides jobs in our small towns and supports our rural businesses.

Once a year this week gives us a chance to recognize the many contributions of our farmers – from providing food, to caring for the land, to contributing to our economy and being an important part of our rural communities. For all of that it is our chance to say thank you.

If you believe in the importance of Ontario Agriculture week please visit www.RespectAgriculture.ca to send a message to Premier Wynne asking her not to replace Ontario Agriculture Week.

Ernie Hardeman, MPP Oxford
PC Critic for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs