Who We Are
November 4, 2022 | Paul Bootsma
Finally, we have been able to participate in farm shows and events again after missing these for two years, some even longer.
Much earlier in 2022, we set up at the Lindsay Farm Show and noticed how eager people were to be out and about again. Although attendance was less than normal, meeting and conversing with farmers again was exciting.
During this past summer, a number of our districts hosted summer picnics. Attendance was exceptional and the fellowship was great. These times are important events for the CFFO, where members get to know each other and converse about current issues that involve farmers.
In September, we were at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show in Woodstock and the International Plowing Match in Kemptville. In October, the CFFO exhibited at the Canadian Greenhouse Conference for the first time. A different type of crowd attends each show, yet we were often asked the same question; “Who are you and what do you do?” Although this gives us an opportunity to talk about the CFFO, it’s disappointing that many people don’t know the answer to this question.
The CFFO is an Accredited Farm Organization (AFO) that promotes economic, social, and environmental sustainability through our farming policies. We base our work in Christian stewardship principles, representing our farming members. Many are not aware that farmers have a choice of which AFO they can be a member of and support. Since 1994, the Farm Business Registration (FBR) program in Ontario has allowed farmers an option for representation. We need to get this message out.
The CFFO has had a good relationship with OMAFRA staff and the ministry over the years, regularly communicating with the minister on agricultural matters. However, on the farm, we need more recognition, which is where our members come in.
When speaking about the CFFO, we need to include the fact that we are accredited, which means that we are recognized by the provincial government as a federation that speaks for its members. The information that we pass on to government is reflective of our members and their perspective on farming. When the ministry is looking for ways to address issues related to agriculture in Ontario, the ministry will approach the CFFO for advice.
For the CFFO to know what its members are saying, we hold grassroots meetings to listen to their voices. In the new year, we hope to host more meetings to allow CFFO members to voice their opinions and concerns. Now that we host virtual meetings, it’s easier to have a meeting that allows members from across the province to participate and influence our responses to the government.
Our staff is planning for 2023 and preparing to meet with members across Ontario. We ask our members to participate in these meetings, but to also go into your neighbourhoods to talk about and represent the CFFO. That is how we will grow and gain more influence.
Wave the flag.
Paul Bootsma is 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.