Chal­lenges of grow­ing sea­son un­der­line im­por­tance of proac­tive pro­grams

The Glengarry News - - The Classifieds -

By Bruce But­tar Di­rec­tor, On­tario Fed­er­a­tion of

Agri­cul­ture This year’s grow­ing sea­son started with cool, wet weather. While farm­ers strug­gled with the whims of Mother Na­ture to plant crops, the rain just didn’t stop, caus­ing flood­ing in some ar­eas of the prov­ince.

Farm­ers are ac­cus­tomed to deal­ing with weather, they watch it closely, plan­ning their days and liveli­hoods around the chang­ing weather pat­terns. And the weather is a reg­u­lar con­ver­sa­tion topic in ru­ral and farm­ing com­mu­ni­ties.

Last year, drought-like con­di­tions plagued ar­eas of the prov­ince. This year, es­pe­cially in eastern On­tario, farm­ers are strug­gling with flooded fields, hay they can’t har­vest and drowned out crops.

Weather, the biggest and most im­por­tant vari­able on a farm, is tough to man­age.

The un­avoid­able re­sults of un­favourable weather in­clude un­planted acres, lower yields, and poor qual­ity crops. All th­ese im­pact the farm busi­ness, of­ten re­sult­ing in lower in­come. Farm fam­i­lies face th­ese risks to their busi­ness and liveli­hoods every year and the con­sen­sus seems to be that the risks are in­creas­ing. That’s why proac­tive Busi­ness Risk Man­age­ment ( BRM) pro­grams are so im­por­tant – to mit­i­gate the im­pact of weather and other un­avoid­able vari­ables farm­ers face to their busi­nesses.

On­tario farm­ers have ac­cess to BRM pro­grams, funded in part by in­di­vid­ual farm­ers and the govern­ment. Some, like crop in­sur­ance, work rea­son­ably well. Other pro­grams are in­ef­fec­tive at man- ag­ing farm busi­ness risks and the weather dis­as­ters we are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing more fre­quently. The chal­lenges farm­ers face every day are chang­ing.

That’s why a com­pre­hen­sive re­view of our BRM pro­grams is so im­por­tant.

(Agri­cul­ture) Min­is­ter (Jeff) Leal cham­pi­oned the re­view at this sum­mer’s meet­ing of agri­cul­ture min­is­ters, work­ing with the Cana­dian Fed­er­a­tion of Agri­cul­ture and a fo­cused coali­tion of Cana­dian farm or­ga­ni­za­tions.

On­tario farm­ers will per­se­vere. In the mean­time, the On­tario Fed­er­a­tion of Agri­cul­ture (OFA) will work closely with al­lied farm or­ga­ni­za­tions and govern­ment to en­sure the risk man­age­ment needs of our mem­bers are met.

OFA con­tin­ues to ad­vo­cate for farm­ers across On­tario to en­sure suit­able, sus­tain­able BRM pro­grams are in place to help farm­ers when they are faced with busi­ness risks like ex­treme weather, dis­ease, crop fail­ure or mar­ket fail­ure.

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