We All Belong

August 26, 2022 | Paul Bootsma

We All Belong

Farming businesses come in a host of varieties, commodities, sizes, methods, or land uses, but they are all part of the agricultural system in Ontario, with the goal of feeding the population with safe and healthy food products in a stewardly fashion. Many say that farming is a calling.

Although variety is good, it can also create different perspectives on regulations when actually doing the farming work. Different desired outcomes also result in different opinions on how food is produced or what the main goal of any farm business should be.

During CFFO meetings, this challenge of different opinions and reasons for how we farm plays a part in our discussions. Some are content for a simple way and are not necessarily looking for large revenues, while others are always ready for another opportunity. Although neither is wrong, we do need to show appreciation for each other’s intentions in life.

Years ago, CFFO wrote a document entitled “A Place for All,” which included discussion and members’ perspective on farm size. The document stated, “Workshop participants often used the words ‘small’ or ‘large’ to refer to ownership differences rather than size. ‘Large farms’ are investor-owned, while ‘small farms’ are owner-operated. Actual size is secondary. While some of this may be a matter of defensiveness, for many farmers and non-farmers alike, farm size is often more a matter of an approach to farming than an issue of size.”

When it comes to government funding programs, this conversation arises again. How much support do we all need? The CFFO has always supported placing caps on government payout programs, wanting to see a balanced way of divvying up the payouts so it benefits each farm business proportionately and according to need. The CFFO believes that we are all part of the industry, contributing differently but equally valuable. We need to appreciate and respect each person’s way of life and farming.

This reminds me of one of Jesus’ parables. When the vineyard owner was looking for workers, the owner hired more people throughout the day till sundown. When he went to pay the workers, he paid them all the same regardless of how long they worked. In the big picture, they are all valuable and worthwhile. We need to see each other in this gospel light.

As the industry continues to evolve (as the latest census poll indicates), we need to remind ourselves that there is a place for all. We all have different desires and wants in life, but there isn’t one that’s better or more important than the other. In God’s eyes, we are all equal and will receive the same reward.

Paul Bootsma is the Member Relations Manager for the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario. The CFFO Commentary represents the opinions of the writer and does not necessarily represent CFFO policy. The CFFO Commentary is heard weekly on CFCO Chatham, CKXS Chatham, CKNX Wingham, and CHLP Listowel.