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by BETTER FARMING STAFF
Tony Felder, a farrow-to-finish operator from Petrolia, confirms that he is at least the second pork producer to launch a complaint about the Farm Products Marketing Commission stripping powers from Ontario Pork.
The Felder family finishes pigs from 700 sows and also crops 1,000 acres of land. Tony Felder says family farms had no voice speaking for them at the commission hearings last summer.
He says he and other small to medium sized farms, which he says make up the bulk of the province’s producers, “depend on somebody to do the marketing.” He doesn’t see that there are family farm representatives on the commission-appointed advisory committee that is overseeing the changes in powers.
Felder has been in Canada for 10 years. He says the Ontario marketing system was a factor in settling here. “We are exposing family farms to international companies, big huge companies.” The industry “needs transparency.”
Felder says removal of Ontario Pork’s marketing powers will make family farm transfers from one generation to the next more difficult because prices may be less stable and less transparent. He says his banker “was shaking the head” (sic) about the decision the commission handed down in early October.
Felder says he sent his appeal to the Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal on Dec. 1. He believes his appeal is now common knowledge, but as of Dec. 16 the Tribunal still hadn’t acknowledged its receipt.
Another Lambton County producer, Rein Minnema, says he has already filed for an appeal.
Tribunal staff report to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ Lorne Widmer, who confirmed more than one appeal had been received regarding the commission’s pork ruling. Widmer said: “We are required to get written consent to release names” of appellants. The letters were being sent out on Dec.22. BF