Wednesday, February 22, 2012

New general farm organization forming

A group of disgruntled members of the Ontario branch of the National Farmers Union is organizing a new general farm organization they call Practical Farmers of Ontario.

Their organizing meeting will be March 31 at Peter Gzowski College, Trent University, in Peterborough.
The leaders include Sean McGivern, who was elected head of the Ontario branch of the National Farmers Union, but deposed by the National Farmers Union executive in Saskatoon.

Two other former NFU directors, Michael Schmidt of raw-milk fame and Steve Dick are also scheduled to lead discussions at the founding meeting which will begin at 9 a.m. They are charging $20 per person.

McGivern says the new organization will provide a voice for farmers whose concerns are not being pursued by any of the existing general farm organizations that receive funding via the Ontario Farm Business Registration process – the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, the Christian Farmers Federation, the Ontario branch of the NFU and an organization for French-speaking farmers.

For example, they all provide unqualified support for supply management, but McGivern said there are a number of issues with supply management that should be open to critical debate.

The organizers of Practical Farmers of Ontario hope they will be in a position to file for certification under the Farm Business Registration process by next year.

At the founding meeting, they will be considering a constitution and bylaws and electing an executive that is to include a president, vice-presidents for Eastern and Western Ontario, a secretary, a treasurer and five directors at large.