2022 Lambton OFA Regional Meeting Minutes
Date: August 18th, 2022, at 7:00 p.m.
Location: Alton Farms Estate Winery
Minutes prepared by: Brooke Watson, Office Administrator, Lambton Federation of Agriculture.
7:31pm – Greetings and Opening Remarks – Gary Martin
Meeting called to order by Gary at 7:31pm. Gary thanked Mr. Chip for feeding us.
Approval of Agenda
- Gary displayed the agenda on the screen and did a quick review of it.
- Brian MOTIONED to approve the agenda; Harry seconded. Motion Carried.
Wellspring Counselling – Lauren Van Ewyk
- Lauren spoke about her initiative being involved with the National Famer Mental Health Alliance program; www.NFMHA.ca.
- She highlighted the importance of the unique mental health needs of the farming community and how this program is helping to educate persons on what mental health issues are unique to the farming community.
Alton Farms Estate Winery – Marc and Anne Alton
- Anne explained a bit about the way their farm operates. Anne expressed how happy she was to be able to host the meeting and invited the guests to ask any questions they had to her or Marc about the winery.
7:37pm – Lambton County Federation Presentation – Brooke Watson
Brooke presented the highlights of what LFA has been working on for the year.
- The first topic was about the Board’s continued use of Zoom to host their Board meetings monthly.
- Brooke highlighted the values the Board sees in using the online platform for meetings.
- Brooke updated everyone on the Locally Lambton map.
- Brooke also thanked Emily and Olivia Adams for their help in getting the maps stickered with the updates for the website.
- Brooke mentioned that copies of the maps were available and if anyone was interested in registering to connect with Gary or Brooke.
- Brooke discussed the work LFA was doing with the LFSA and the events that were hosted in the year.
- Brooke mentioned the Talk Ask Listen mental health training; the Farm Safety Days; and the movie screening of Silo.
- The Hands to Table project was mentioned and Brooke discussed how it was in it’s third round of funding.
- There are unique partners from each of the counties involved.
- There was swag available with the website on it for folks that would like to find out more information.
- Brooke highlighted what the LFA did with the Revive funding provided by OFA.
- Brooke had a picture of the group that made the helipad donation to the Bluewater Health Foundation.
- Brooke had a breakdown of the different community organizations that LFA helped support this year which included:
- LFA Mental Health Card distribution at local events;
- food bank donations;
- donation to 4-H;
- donations to County Fairs;
- support of the Lambton Farm Safety Association – financially and in the community and the United Way (LL Dinner).
- Brooke mentioned that LFA was monitoring the Hydro One St. Clair Expansions project and noted that Brian Eves would be presenting on it next.
- Brooke discussed the different ways: radio, newsletters, and the use of social media; that LFA uses to reach their members.
- Brooke also highlighted some of the projects that LFA was involved in this year. They include:
- Local Helping Local project with Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership
- Promotional Videos and Workshops
- Wisconsin DNR Public Meeting regarding Line 5
- Airport Action Working Group
- Two Delegations to Sarnia City Council
- Speaking on the need to preserve farmland
- Promo video with Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce
- Two all-candidates meetings, one for each Provincial riding in Lambton County
- Sarnia-Lambton Energy and Environment Summit
- Lambton County Agricultural Hall of Fame
- Local Helping Local project with Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership
- Brooke mentioned some of the upcoming projects that LFA is working on. These include:
- Hydro One Expansion
- Research on information signs to promote agriculture
- Partnering with Sarnia-Lambton Workforce Development Board on employee retention project
- Information on how to join the Board or get involved in any of the initiatives was provided by Brooke.
- Brooke concluded her presentation with the upcoming events that LFA will be involved in. These events include:
- Fundraiser with the Kent Federation of Agriculture August 20 – Florence
- Meet the Candidates for municipal elections September 29 – Wyoming Fairgrounds
- In The Know – Mental Health Workshops [Online]
- Monday, August 22 | 10am-2pm
- Monday, September 25 | 10am-2pm
- Monday, October 24 | 10am-2pm
- Young Farmers Forum – November 20-21 London, ON
- Brooke mentioned that anyone who knew of a young famer interested in the event could connect with the Board because there is funding available.
- Annual General Meeting – January 20, 2023 – Wyoming Fairgrounds
7:43pm – Hydro One Update – Brian Eves
Brian started his presentation by showing the group the map with the proposed routes Hydro One has shown interest in.
- Brian gave a description of where these routes are in the county.
- Brian also described the details Hydro One has provided about the size of the lines and the volume of electricity they can carry.
- Brian included the website for the interactive map where people can see the more exact path of the lines.
- Brian highlighted the timeline that Hydro One was proposing for this project.
- Brian also discussed any issues so far with the timeline.
Brian had a few items to note that he wanted to make sure people were aware of. These items included:
- Hydro usage predicted to increase 4X in the next 15 yrs.
- Multiple factors, with government policy and greenhouse industry being major factors
- Government mandates are in place to maintain productive farmland and utilize “brown-field” routes if at all possible. OFA/LFA/KFA have maintained that Hydro One needs to utilize existing rights-of-way wherever possible.
- Once preferred route is chosen, options exist to have legal assistance provided to property owners paid for by Hydro One
- Potential concerns regarding compensation amounts for damaged crop and land usage as Hydro may take a blanket approach.
- Brian made sure to inform the group that:
- OFA/LFA watching this very closely
- This issue has come up in Kent/Essex
- Some “drive-by” and “walk-in” (with landowner agreement) assessments have been conducted in 2022 for environmental assessments.
- Brian wanted to the group to note that no further activity is expected until the preferred route is chosen.
Brian concluded his presentation by providing his contact information for anyone that had more questions or concerns with the project.
7:50pm – OFA Update – Crispin Colvin
Crispin started his talk with a note that he had just read an article from the US that Line 5 will remain open due to ruling just made in the state of Michigan.
Crispin highlighted what the OFA’s Strategic Plan Key Priorities are for the next few years. Crispin touched on how each of these priorities will algin with the goal of Farm and Food Forever.
Crispin discussed the challenges that OFA sees coming up and how OFA is trying to proactively respond to these items:
- Farmland Preservation
- Fertilizer tariffs
- Carbon tax
- Avian influenza
- Trespass and activism
- Nitrate Regulations
- Infrastructure Investment
Crispin noted what news coverage OFA has been receiving and what news outlets have been connecting with them. The focus of these media stories has been the importance of smart land use planning to prevent loss of farmland.
Crispin provided the group with some statistics on how Ontario is losing its farmland and how fast it is disappearing. Crispin explained that once the farmland is gone, it is gone forever.
Crispin highlighted three programs that OFA is working on right now these programs are:
- Home Grown Campaign
- Source Local Campaign
- Farmer Wellness
- The Guardian Network
- In the Know
Crispin listed some of the in-person events that OFA has been able to host and to attend in the various communities since restrictions due to COVID-19 have been lifted.
Crispin showcased the various initiatives he has been participating in with the various federations in his zone.
Crispin concluded his presentation by thanking the Lambton Federation for the work that they have done in the agriculture community.
8:10pm – Special Guest – OFA Vice President Mark Reusser
Mark introduced himself to the group and explained what his role at OFA was and how he fit into the organization. Mark then went on to discuss his background and the various paths he took to bring him into his current position. Mark told the group his speech was going to focus on three areas.
- Area 1 –Farming Background
- Mark discussed how he became a farmer. He started by talking about his past and how it led him to agriculture. Mark mentioned that he was not raised on a farm, but that he was still led to the agriculture sector.
- Area 2 –Mental Health
- Expanding on what Crispin mentioned that OFA was doing in regard to Mental Health, Mark brought up some personal examples to the group present. Mark mentioned that he was impressed with the work that the LFA was doing to promote various mental health initiatives in the community.
- Area 3 –County Side Line in Waterloo
- Mark discussed the unique setup that Waterloo has been their city and country divide. He discussed how it was planned and how it has set rules to address all the areas of development. Mark went on to discuss how drinking water and land development are all protected in this initiative. He also went on with examples of densification and variety of different types of housing that is available for people living in that community.
Mark concluded his presentation by thanking the group for being there. He also informed the group on how they could contact him if needed.
8:20pm – Scholarship Presentation – Scholarship Committee
Gary gave the background on the scholarships that Lambton Federation of Agriculture has available for students to apply to.
Gary summarized the application process and who is eligible to apply.
James and Gary presented the scholarship cheques to the winners or the families that were present. Each winner had their picture taken with James and Gary.
The following winners or their families were present:
- Joyce Anderson Scholarship
- Emily Vanos
- Bell One Scholarship
- Gracie Goodhill
- Dona Stewardson Scholarship
- Micah Van Ewyk
- Women’s Institute
- Emily Crowe
Gary congratulated all the winners and asked them to gather at the end of the meeting for a group photo.
8:30pm – Elections – Policy Advisory Council and Delegates – Joanne Fuller
Minutes from the 2021 regional meeting were available for review.
- George MOTIONED to approve the minutes from the 2021 Regional Meeting; Brian seconded. Motion Carried.
Joanne gave an overview of what to expect at the 2022 OFA AGM being held in London on November 20 and 21.
Joanne also reminded everyone that there is an event for young farmers and that the LFA has funding available if there is anyone that would like to attend.
Joanne thanked the Current 2022 Lambton County Policy Advisory Council of Gary Martin, Darcy Fuller, and Brian Eves.
- Joanne announced the nominations received for PAC.
- Joanne asked if there were nominations from the floor.
- Joanne reminded the group present that they could nominate themselves as members if they so wished.
- Joanne confirmed that there were no nominations from the floor.
- Joanne acclaimed the Lambton County Policy Advisory Council for 2023. The members are Gary Martin, Darcy Fuller, and Brian Eves.
Joanne announced the nominations received for delegates for the AGM. The names Joanne received are:
- Harry van Wieren
- Burt McKinlay
- Brad Langstaff
- James Grant
- Don McGugan
- Debbie Coke
- Julie Maw
Joanne opened the floor for more delegate nominations.
- Joanne reminded the group they could nominate themselves if they wised to attend.
- Joanne acclaimed the delegates for the 2022 OFA AGM as noted above.
Joanne announced that there are no current alternate delegates nominated and asked for nominations from the floor.
- George Dickenson nominated himself to be an alternate delegate.
- George also noted that Joe Dickenson stated that he would let his name stand as an alternate delegate for the OFA AGM.
Harry MOTIONED to approve the list of PAC Members, Delegates, and Alternate Delegates for the 2022 OFA Annual General Meting; Brian seconded. Motioned Carried.
Darcy Fuller MOTIONED that the Lambton Federation of Agriculture Board can fill empty delegate seats as needed. George seconded. Motion Carried.
Joanne congratulated all the Delegates and Alternate Delegates who will be representing Lambton County at the 2022 OFA Annual Meeting in London on November 20 and November 21.
8:45pm – Resolutions & Member Feedback – Gary Martin
Gary opened the floor to the members for them to have an opportunity to bring up any issues or feedback.
Marc Alton brought forward two resolutions:
- The first resolution was in regard to creating smaller family farms for smaller farm operations to utilize.
- Discussion from the group present was had in regard to different ideas and different avenues of who this resolution would go to.
- Points were made as to what other provinces and countries were doing.
- Anne expressed concerns about creating smaller parcels of land and houses being built, thus causing issues with farmland preservation. There was also discussion on long leases being a viable alternative.
- James MOTIONED to bring this issue to the Board for further discussion. Harry seconded. Motion carried.
- The second resolution brought forward by Marc was in regard to spray drift happening on various farms and how they impact other farmers fields.
- Discussion on the different types of chemicals that are used.
- Further discussion from the members present were on what farmers did to help with spray drift.
- There was more discussion on what various persons had seen with issues of spray drift.
- George MOTIONED to bring this to the Board level for further discussion. Darcy seconded. Motion Carried.
9:10pm – Closing Remarks and Adjournment
Gary thanked everyone for coming to the meeting.
James MOTIONED for adjournment at 9:10pm.