Premier's Summit Explores Opportunities For Agri-Food Sector
First-Ever Summit Charts Course To Strengthen Agriculture And Food Industry
TORONTO -- Ontario's first annual Agri-Food Summit is helping forge a shared vision that will allow the industry to seize new opportunities, said Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.
"This summit is about developing a common vision for the future of the agri-food sector in Ontario for the next five, 10, even 15 years," said Premier McGuinty.
"I want to congratulate farmers and representatives of the food industry for their leadership and thank them for helping to make Ontario's agriculture and food industry a world leader."
The summit brought together farmers and representatives from government and the food industry to identify some of the challenges and opportunities the sector faces, such as:
- Growing consumer demand for food that is safe, nutritious and produced in an environmentally responsible way
- Growing demand for renewable fuels such as ethanol and bio-diesel
- Making Ontario more competitive by developing new products and new markets.
Premier McGuinty thanked participants for taking a long-term view and encouraged them to seize opportunities presented by new trends and technologies that will make Ontario's agri-food sector a leader and help build a more prosperous province.
The summit builds on significant government progress in the sector. Key initiatives include:
- Delivering up to $396.5 million of federal-provincial funding for farmers and industry affected by mad cow disease -- with as much as $138.5 million coming from Ontario
- Delivering $20 million under the Nutrient Management Financial Assistance Program to assist large livestock operations to better protect the environment
- Improving Ontario's meat inspection system by hiring 61 more full-time and 61 part-time meat inspectors
- Helping to pass on the farming tradition to future generations by waiving the land transfer tax for farms that change ownership between members of the same family.
"Working together, we can develop a vision for the future of this vitally important sector of our economy," said Premier McGuinty. "Together, we can make Ontario's agriculture and food sector the envy of the world."