Wales wins top job at Ontario’s largest general farm organization

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Ontario Federation of Agriculture delegates elected Aylmer horticulture grower Mark Wales, president, at today’s annual meeting in Toronto

Photo: Mark Wales


In the morning delegates heard that while the federation was in the black in 2011, a $68,000 deficit is expected by 2014 and is expected to grow in the following years.

stop the budget of financing the sending of free farm magazines to paid up OFA members

As explained to delegates the possible OFA deficit is a conservative projection. It may already be null and void considering the 2011 surplus exceeded projection by $200,000. The finances of OFA are sound.
Your Better Farming magazine and its delivery is paid for by Better Famring from advertising revenues. It's delivery to members as a benefit of membership is facilitated by the OFA.

Neil Currie,
General Manager, OFA

I'm neither as optimistic as Mr. Currie, nor as pessimistic as those who prompted the above statement from him.

I should point out, as I did point out to OFA Convention delegates, that while the OFA did have a "good year", it appeared to me, from an admittedly cursory examination of the OFA financial statements, that a significant portion of OFA net income, especially the income coming from the Co-operators, came from things which were outside the normal area of OFA operations, or were non-recurring, or were overly-dependent on the success of other entities, or were dependent on the OFA getting "lucky" with their investments.

In particular, I pointed out that "unrealized income from investments" can easily turn into "realized losses from investments", and that, therefore, some caution should be used when interpreting these numbers.

Howerver, my chief concern is that about 2/3 of OFA net income appeared to come from sources in the above categories, and which, to my way of thinking, should at least have been explained by footnotes, but which weren't - and that especially applies to the income OFA received from the Co-operators.

Therefore, while I, as an OFA member, am delighted to see actual income be some $200,000 more than projected, I am forced to point out that this may be, to some degree, the result of good luck which may, or may not, be repeated in subsequent years. More to the point, anytime someone points out that income is $200,000 more than expected, it could just as easily have been $200,000 less than expected, and that, as a former lender, will always be a concern to me.

Even though I have no reason to find fault with the OFA's overall financial status, I am obliged to express concerns about the sustainability of, and/or predictability of, non-core OFA incomes, as well as the lack of footnotes on the annual financial statements explaining these non-core income sources.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

One might think that the threat against the CWB does not affect Ontario farmers but they would be wrong.
We are being attacked from all fronts, just read the star and the globe and mail.
Mr. Wales will have to speak for all farmers since the government of Canada
is doing a great job in divide and conquer.

"Mr. Wales will have to speak for all farmers"

Take a page from the GreenBelt and the Farm Income Protection Act.

If the government wants something from us
1. they will take it.
2. the OFA will give their blessings.

History already proves those 2 points.

Comment modified by editors

Where else can you run for the job of president and should you fail, be eligible to run for a lessor post the following day? This is not at all how most elections are run. Allot like "mud" (a translated word for BF) on the wall sliding down until it sticks!

In the end it all stinks and makes it very difficult to inspire disparately needed new blood or direction...

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It seems strange that ever time somebody has a strong view ....
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Have you ever wondered. . . .
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with all this . . . .
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Anonymous sources are double-edged - they often provide especially newsworthy information, such as classified or confidential information about current events, information about a previously unreported scandal, or the perspective of a particular group that may fear retribution for expressing certain opinions in the press. The downside is that the condition of anonymity may make it difficult or impossible for the reporter to verify the source's statements. Sometimes sources hide their identities from the public because their statements would otherwise quickly be discredited. Thus, statements attributed to anonymous sources may carry more weight with the public than they might if they were attributed.

How true ... well said... Thanks.

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Wales knows there is a farm problem but look back over past OFA presidents , Jack Willinson,Geri Kaminz all seemed to try but what can be documented as hard cold facts of real economic gain for farmers>. Document the improvements that OFA was involved in to get economic progress
Rmp doesnt work, but age old farm tax rebates does the rest is illusion not Cheap shots, unsubstantiated allegations

I believe the OFA made a strategic error by joining the GEA alliance which might permanently reduce the political influence the OFA has on the political arena. Farmers even in the most rural of ridings are now a minority. This is due to a cheap food policy over the last 50 years which has encouraged larger farms and fewer farmers. To elect MPP’s in rural ridings that are OFA policy friendly, a coalition of farm and nonfarm voters is now nessecary. In the past this was a relatively easy task, most nonfarm residents are relatives or friends of farmers, understand agriculture issues and have common cause with farmer concerns. However the Green Energy Act’s industrial wind turbine policy has blown this coalition apart. Farmers, even families are badly split on the wind turbine issue while non farm residents are shocked and angry at a government that has taken away local decision making and given it to faceless bureaucrats from Toronto. In the last provincial election the OFA’s support of the the GEA meant it supported Liberal candidates by default. Without the farmer/nonfarmer coalition almost every rural Liberal candidate in Ontario lost. What does this mean for the OFA? Well for one no political party can rely too heavily on OFA support to win rural ridings anymore. This means that the nessecary and valuable agriculture advice that the OFA can give may no longer be heeded by government decision makers and bureaucrats. This bodes badly for the future of agriculture in Ontario. The newly elected leadership of the OFA will have to carefuly decide if the percieved benefits of the GEA Alliance membership outweigh the rural division and loss of political influence that have come with it.

Dan Wrightman, Kerwood

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