OFA delivers state of Ontario’s agri-food sector at Queen’s Park

GUELPH – Three leading agri-food organizations came together at Queen’s Park to highlight growth opportunities for food production and processing, explain the significant economic impact of the sector and outline necessary infrastructure investments to expand the industry. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), together with the Ontario Agri Business Association (OABA) and Food and Beverage Ontario (FBO) presented the state of Ontario’s agri-food sector to representatives at Queen’s Park today.

“The agri-food industry is a powerhouse for the province. When you consider key economic indicators – contributing more than $47 billion to Ontario’s GDP and supporting $8.1 billion in annual wages and salaries – our industry is making tremendous contributions to the prosperity of all Ontarians,” OFA President Keith Currie said.

OFA outlined the challenges the agri-food sector in Ontario and across Canada faced in 2019. Market disruptions, trade issues, labour disputes and weather have made it a difficult year for most farmers and OFA members. Despite the challenges of the 2019 season, OFA noted progress on agricultural files with the provincial government – announcements on red tape reduction, natural gas expansion, broadband infrastructure, the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act and the latest Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act.

“Working together, we can unlock continued economic growth and opportunities for agri-food and our rural communities,” Currie said.

Dave Buttenham, CEO of OABA remarked on recent government announcements that have supported their members, including red tape reduction and proposed changes to modernize the Ontario Pesticides Act. Buttenham also outlined necessary regulatory changes to enable agri-businesses to continue to grow and remain competitive. 

“The agri-business sector is a key stakeholder in the agri-food value chain, with over 340 member firms providing essential products and services to more than 40,000 farmers in the province on a daily basis,”  Buttenham said. “The sector is proud to partner with their Ontario farm customers in the production of safe and nutritious food with a direct emphasis on food safety, animal welfare, environmental sustainability and farm profitability.”

“It is through our supply chain partners and positive relations with this government that the food and beverage manufacturing industry in Ontario will thrive,” CEO, FBO Norm Beal said. “Together, we can find the right solutions to achieving a competitive environment for businesses and an excellent quality of life for the people of Ontario.”

The OFA is the largest general farm organization in Ontario, representing 38,000 farm families across the province. As a dynamic farmer-led organization based in Guelph, the OFA works to represent and champion the interests of Ontario farmers through government relations, farm policy recommendations, research, lobby efforts, community representation, media relations and more. OFA is the leading advocate for Ontario’s farmers and is Ontario’s voice of the farmer.

 The Ontario Agri Business Association is an industry association representing over 340 member locations in operating in the crop input supply, grain elevator and animal feed manufacturing sector. The sector provides direct employment to over 8,000 Ontarians and contributes over $4 billion in direct economic output annually to the Ontario economy.  Member firms provide essential products and services to Ontario farms that play a key role in the production of safe and nutritious food.  

Food and Beverage Ontario is a non-profit, leadership organization representing all types and sizes of food and beverage manufacturing businesses in the province. Our focus is on the success and growth of the sector by advancing industry priorities with stakeholders and government.