The Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) held their 14th Annual Beef Barbecue on the lawn of Queen’s Park in Toronto on Wednesday, May 29, 2019, which saw the sun appear just in time for lunch. The BFO Board of Directors and staff proudly served Ontario Corn Fed Pulled Beef on a Bun to over 600 attendees over the lunch hour, which included MPPs and their legislative staff.
In addition to this highly anticipated annual event, BFO Directors and staff personally met with numerous MPPs throughout the day to advocate for increased investment in the Ontario Risk Management Program (RMP), a critical program for beef farmers that helps to ensure stability for the entire beef sector and for rural and urban communities.
“RMP fills a critical gap for livestock commodities not protected by the supply management system and without access to other farm support programs like crop insurance,” says Joe Hill, BFO President.
“Increasing the investment in RMP is the single most important action the province can take to support Ontario beef farmers and the growth and sustainability of the beef industry in Ontario.”
Directors and staff also encouraged government to reduce the red tape and regulatory burden around Crown land access for agricultural use, a process that currently is anything but “open for business.”
Expansion of community pastures was another topic of discussion, with directors and staff asking that some of the land currently owned by the Crown or held by government agencies be sold to the Association of Community Pastures of Ontario for expansion and preservation of these valuable grazing areas. Finally, the BFO contingent urged the government to continue to collaborate with and involve the farm organizations in discussions related to the new animal welfare legislation.
“The beef industry is an important economic driver of Ontario’s agri-food sector, contributing $2.69 billion to Ontario’s GDP,” explains Hill. “The priorities we shared with government representatives throughout the day focus on growing beef production and promoting financial and environmental sustainability to help increase economic activity within Ontario’s urban and rural communities.”
BFO wishes to thank Premier Doug Ford and Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Minister Ernie Hardeman for generously taking time to serve beef to the barbecue attendees. BFO also appreciated the participation of Andrea Horwath, Ontario NDP Leader; and John Vanthof, NDP Agriculture Critic, who helped to serve beef.