On Tuesday, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture held its third annual Field Day event, which involves bringing members of the provincial government out of the confines of Queen’s Park to an Ontario farm.
The farm playing host to MPPs this year was Newmarket’s King Cole Ducks, a unique vertically-integrated farm regulated by all three levels of government. King Cole, located just off Highway 404 southeast of Newmarket, has operated for nearly 65 years and employs about 160 people. Their website, KingColeDucks.com, has a wide array of video recipes and information about the products available in their on-site, farm fresh store.
“OFA board members regularly meet with Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) and policy advisors in a variety of venues,” wrote OFA Vice President Keith Currie in a press release. “Our most important venue is, of course, the farm where MPPs can fully experience and learn about farming.”
According to Currie, “OFA’s Field Day provides the perfect setting for MPPs to learn first-hand about a farming operation and, in this case, the duck industry in Ontario. It is also an excellent backdrop for conversation about our progressive industry, emerging opportunities in agriculture, and the concerns of our members.”
Three issues addressed with MPPs during the day included infrastructure, public investment in the agri-food system, and the government’s Climate Change Action Plan. On infrastructure, the OFA stressed “the need for improved infrastructure throughout rural Ontario, including broadband and natural gas, to keep our rural businesses connected and competitive,” Currie wrote. Regarding public investment in agri-food, OFA representatives let the government know “what’s needed in the next Agricultural Policy Framework to ensure a healthy and competitive farm and food sector,” he said. On the climate change plan, they stressed “the importance of recognizing and including agriculture’s positive contribution and the opportunities [the plan] can open for our industry.”
“Our annual Field Day helps us show, and not just tell politicians about the significant contributions our industry makes to the provincial economy, and the issues we need addressed to expand and meet the Premier’s growth challenge,” wrote Currie. “There’s big business on the backroads of Ontario.”