How do you define a member?

© AgMedia Inc.

Re-accreditation of the province’s largest general farm organization could hinge on the definition of a member


"Unless the OFA gets re-accredited by Aug 31, they won’t be able to register for their farm property tax class,"Mr Currie quote,

Mr Currie seems to think that fees paid on time by farmers, accepted AND cashed by OFA would be the end of OFA's responsibility to carry through with the obligation and or significance for said fees.

News flash I can see them getting their royal south ends sued if there is no farm tax rate. The criteria for a class action suit is the show everyone is affected equally. Not so hard to do when all GFO's lost accreditation at the hands of the same government bodies rules for basically the same error.

The Tribunal decision reference to “negative option membership” where there is no tax rebate unless you pay regardless of GFO performance has always smelled like negative billing in it's truest form.

It's time for OFA (GFO's) to learn to have success, performance is not optional

more corner gas comedy

at least you could laugh at corner gas.

We are led to believe that because farm land prices have gone up that now assessment values being up will cause property taxs up.
WITH THE POSSIBLE LOSS OF nfu and cffo accredetation and ofa screwups that means Mcginty will help balance the provincial debt off by adjusting farm property tax rebates
Ok it looks like OFA CFFO and NFU will be begging to get approval and now have no balls to legotiate. Stay tuned for the opera and politics of removing accedatation of nfu/cffo leaving only ofa. This classic tv show corner gas Canadian comedy.
Now the rest of Ontario farmers will get a taste of what GTA green belt farmers have had to pay in land tax compared to the rest of rural ontario

Not a single farmer in the province didn't know they were joining a farm organization when they did their farm business registration paperwork every year. We also knew if we didn't want to belong to any we simply asked for a refund. I did a couple of times when I was fed up with the OFA leadership. Yet these make work for themselves, highly paid technocrats things we farmers are too stupid to understand what was going on. This is nothing but fat cats making work for themselves so they can collect a big check. If you don't like your organization, quit it, or join another, but this farce of a Tribunal is a huge waste of all of our tax dollars and a massive demonstration of failed leadership on behalf of the Minister.

If I understand correctly the you must register with Agricorp for an FBR number . If the tribunal has now segregated out the FBR registration and the fact that it is not a membership why then do you have to pay your fee to one of the two accredited organizations ? Why can you not have the option of paying the fee that Agricorp charges the OFA & CFFO say $20.00 to register and not have to pay it to one or the other . Why could you not split your fee between the two ? They both represent farmers do they not ? Why do you have to request a refund ? If the "member benefits" are so great would most not want to pay a seperate fee for just the member benefits ? It is clear now that members is not part of the registration process . Members is now a way for the two groups to get money to operate on but does not have any teeth as to what and how the represent . If you don't sign up with OFA to be a 'member" I am told that you do not get to use the MSR ( Member Service Rep ) . Why then should they get any money it should be an automatic refund or better yet just a fee ( $20.00) to register for an FBR # . If the real operating function of these organizations is one of representing from the ground or bottom up why is real or significant change so hard to come by ?

The new "membership" would better discribed as a pay for user fee which should be voluntary not one of you must and or then request a refund . What if some would rather pay $195.00 to their local county federation . Why is that not an option ? Could be that many feel they are better represented locally than provincially .

Why then can not your check off fees not be used as proof for farming ? It would stop the chance of non farmers and corporations not related to farming paying a membership fee to get what they want these groups to push forward by paying a fee and forcing the willing hands at the board table .

There are many groups or organizations that have better member benefits that do not have legislation to give them funding . CAA , OAA , AAA as examples . CFIB has a fee higher than OFA or CFFO and does do work on behalf of farmers but do not get the benefit of you must belong .

Why is the OLA ( Ontario Landowners Association ) not able to get our fee . They represent farmers also . Seem to do a better job of not fence sitting ! Their fee is $50.00

The FBR registration process is not one of having to be a "member" as the tribunal pointed out so why is it then that you have to pay to one of the two ? It should be a matter of pay your fee to register with Agricorp ( ex. $20.00 ) which would allow you to recieve and FBR number so that you get your farm tax rebate and participate in the Gov programs . Then if you want to be a member of OFA or CFFO and get their " member benefits " you can pay it to them of your own free will .

The FBR form should read
Registration for BFR number $20.00
Pay by cheque or online with V, MC, or at a financial institution of your choice .

It is not fair to charge the CFFO and OFA a fee for processing for some thing that is not a member benefit . It is not a member benefit because I can still get my farm tax rebate even if I request a refund . It is time to cut the purse strings and let these groups go it on their own and prove that they are not beholding and cowering to gov. and get on with representing what their members want from the bottom up not the top down .

Many NGO's influence gov with contributions . OMAFRA has been participating in many programs and calling it " In Kind " contributions . Are others doing " In Kind " also ??

There's an empty chair at every meeting of every county federation of agriculture in the Province - why don't you show up at one, voice your concerns, and if you are sincere, you'd likely be appointed to a committee to deal with it? - if you're not prepared, like many of us are, to do some actual work to get it done, kwitcher-bitchin!

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

I really hate to say Steve is right but his comment about getting off the couch and doing something is really right on. Every federation has empty board director positions or directors that would like to retire if someone else would take their place. Attendance at annual meetings is often very low. In Bruce we have about 1450 members, and have had about 100 at our annual meeting, and that is considered good by many! I personally feel we need to do something like make the FBR fee $2500 and give a $2300 rebate if you go to your counties annual meeting or are otherwise actively involved. It is frustrating to only hear from members after something happened that affects them but never any input before hand. You often DO get what you ask for and if you don't go to meetings and don't provide input to the board, don't be surprised if your thoughts are not farm group policy, we can't read your mind!

John Gillespie
President Bruce Federation of Agriculture

I really don't mind when somebody who, like my good friend, Mr. Gillespie, is able to get off the couch and do something, as well as have the fortitude to sign his/her name to a posting, disagrees with me. I spent 4 years as President of the Huron County Federation of Agriculture, a position I completely enjoyed because of the wide diversity of opinions our members, and our Board, expressed about any number of issues. Over the years I've had a lot of people agree with me, and a few who don't, and while I disagree with a lot of people about a lot of things, I always have respect for those who actually are prepared to do something to try to make agriculture a better place, instead of just trying to preserve the status quo for a favoured-few. I always disliked it when people would phone me and say - "somebody needs to do something about ........", without ever offering to be part of that "somebody", and it's something Mr. Gillespie obviously also knows all-too-well.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Comment will be published when signed.

Comment will be published when signed.

By way of blaming the victim maybe you missed the message for not getting out of your recliner and following the problem further up the ladder . You can't keep turning the table . They called and asked for action and had the right to do so by way of an FBR fee . Maybe you needed to ask them if they would help .

I am surprised that we see a thread where you are not blaming SM . It is nice .
But then maybe there is a similarity . Who else has lesgislation to support or operate ?

Unfortunately, SM is the biggest problem younger farmers constantly face, not just because SM enjoys income and purchasing powers denied to every other sector of agriculture, but also because of the way SM disproportionately controls farm groups. I continually hear the frustration of younger farmers when they ask me - "Even if I had the time, why would I want to have anything to do with any farm organization, particularly the CFFO, when all they do is suck-up-to supply management?" Even though I believe that the OFA has the best chance of being able to address the concerns of younger farmers, even the OFA is probably about a decade away from being able to even recognize the problem, let alone be able to do anything about it. The CFFO, of course, never will.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Editor's note: Discussion is heading off topic.

I don't think Mr. Thompsons post is off topic. When a person is deciding if they want to be member or not, or leave their funds with them and not be a member, even prior to the tiny changes made this year, they can ask for their money back if they don't agree with what the organizations are representing. Or, as I have done in the past, left my money with them because I may not agree with everything they do, but there are things I am complete compliance with. This year, we have a new group, who is willing to take on the biggest issue in my opinion, so I will be redirecting my funds to them. Raube Beuerman, Dublin, ON

It may well be that your numbers are what they are because there are not any real issues . If there is an issue it is said that head office passes it off to a commodity . Gives the wrong impression . Leaves a bad taste .

Also if some thing is brought up at the county level what good does it do when head office quashes it ? Many times from the side roads it is viewed as head office being in bed with gov. and this just adds to that . It is to be a real speaking up for and about the member concerns . It is not up to head office to decide what they want to do or deal with they are there to represent not stifle . Sure there will be times it is not easy but that comes with the territory , leadership and leading . I can feel for the local associations because their hands are tied because of funding from head office .

I remember seeing some add some where with a tree and some thing saying they were as strong as their roots . I don't know of a tree that prunes it own roots . This is essentially what is being done but not realized . If they keep pruning them selves at the top end there might be some hope of some sort of regrowth all be it likely poor .

Taking your fees as high as you suggest and giving a refund for showing up is much the same as it was before but with the townships . If you are doing the right things people will show up to join . Until then just give me my refund and my farm tax rebate . Lobbying is not that difficult when you open your wallet . About the same when you agree with and don't rock the boat .

I think the numbers may be off because of a general trend in society to just go along and not bother to ask questions. It happens in government, church, fair board, you name it, someone else will do it and I can still complain. It doesn't work that way, and as a country we will be worse off if it continues. As for head office telling us what to do, I am very certain that if 4 or 5 counties had 90 percent of their members show up at annual meetings demanding something happen, and calling the relevant directors things would be driven from the ground up.

John Gillespie

Your answer is grasping at an excuse and not coming up with a solution to your problem . If 4 or 5 counties had 90 percent not happy then I would think you could start your own group . I think the 4 or 5 and 90 has already happened but with a negative result . So much for ground up . Further your example of charging 2500 and giving a rebate after showing up for a meeting does not do any thing for people wanting to join they are going to be there because of the rebate . They are not going to put their name forth for elections . It's about the money . Same as today with paying to Either & Or to get your farm tax rebate . Also it sounds like you think Either & Or are just going along with gov. . Is that what you wanted to say ? Is that how you really feel ? What is the solution is the question here . Blaming the victim comes to mind . Why is it the victims problem when he pays a fee to be represented ?

Reality is that farmers ARE joining other groups like the OLA & paying a voluntary fee to do so . Not because they are getting a rebate . Why would that be ?

If you compare the number of farmers with FBR's (somewhere around 38000 if my memory is close) with the members of groups like OLA I think you will find a large difference in numbers. So most are not joining other organizations.

You currently don't have to pay one of the accredited organizations to get your FBR number and it's associated privileges because you can ask for a refund and get your money back but still qualify for any government programs lobbied for by the organization you won't support. And thanks to the determination of some tribunal members even paying your money this year doesn't make you a member, you have to ask to be a member.

The part you don't understand is that being a member has OBLIGATIONS. That means you need to participate in the organization you belong to for the organization to be effective. Going to the meetings, hearing what is being talked about and asking questions is just as important as being on the executive. While I don't have all the stats and our constitution available right now, I think our board is limited to about 30 directors for the number of members we have. With 1450 members it would take about 48 years to rotate all the members through in a one year term, that is not likely to happen, but they could all come to the annual meeting and hear what is going on.

It gets very tiring to get criticism from people for decisions our board makes from people who never contact us, or come to our meetings and then object when they don't like something we do.

As a board we have a central office, regular office hours, paid staff in the office, a 800 phone number and we post all the contact information in a newsletter we mail to all our members each month.

If there were that many people not satisfied with what we are doing I think we would have heard about it.

It is about the numbers . The fact of paying $200 to not pay $4000 , $4500 or ???? is one heck of an return . Then add in the multiples for those who own more than 1 farm but still only pay one fee . It's about the money !
Add in the fact that many contracts on developement land are no stating that no legume crops can be grown as to not have the land designated habitat and still recoup the farm tax rate and the rebate . It's about the money !!

There are likely more farmers than known who pay it just to fund the local organization because they like what they do locally .

Still the fact is that farmers are paying other groups a voluntary fee to represent them with no other benefit package . It speaks volumes .

Forgot my name in my last reply

John Gillespie

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