Ontario Agricultural Leaders Working Together to Strengthen the Sector
Minister’s Advisory Group Holds Inaugural Meeting Today
TORONTO - Today Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs convened the first meeting of his Advisory Group which is tasked with finding ways to grow the agri-food sector, reduce red tape, and make Ontario Open for Business.
Eighteen veteran agri-food industry leaders have come together to form the Minister's Advisory Group, led by Parliamentary Assistant Randy Pettapiece. With their extensive knowledge and expertise, the Group will provide the Minister with insights and recommendations on how to strengthen the sector. The discussions will focus on four main areas:
- Attracting young people to agriculture to ensure future growth in the sector
- Expanding agriculture in Northern Ontario by examining new opportunities to promote growth
- Looking at the Ontario Food Terminal Network to ensure its success for the next 5, 10 and 50 years
- Reducing red tape and regulatory burden in agriculture to help farmers prosper, grow the sector and make Ontario open for business.
"I look forward to participating in discussions with these industry leaders and hearing their advice on ways to strengthen both rural Ontario and the agri-food sector as a whole," said Minister Hardeman. "I thank each member of the Group and look forward to sharing their perspectives with my colleagues in Cabinet."
In addition to Chair Pettapiece, the Minister's Advisory Group includes three Vice-Chairs and 15 members. The three Vice-Chairs are:
- Keith Currie, President of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture
- Norm Beal, CEO of Food and Beverage Ontario
- Dave Buttenham, CEO of the Ontario Agri Business Association
The Group will continue to meet regularly to discuss issues that impact the sector. Their input will help ensure policies and programs foster economic growth in the province without imposing additional regulatory burden or costs on farmers or agri-food businesses.
- Ontario’s agriculture and agri-food sector is a key driver of the provincial economy, contributing $39.5 billion to the GDP and supporting more than 822,000 jobs.
- Ontario’s total agri-food exports were $14.9 billion in 2017.
- The province is home to about 49,600 farms and over 4,000 food and beverage processing businesses.