What is the Issue?
Ontario agriculture’s future success in both productivity and stewardship will rely on
water policy in this province that encourages optimal use of water for food production.
Why does it matter?
Three game-changers exist that are driving this need. First, high land values are making productivity improvements a cost-effective option for farmers. Second, managing productivity in an increasingly erratic climate needs a better set of tools than we are using now. Third, the CFFO believes that government is more interested in supporting farm innovation and self-resiliency than ever.
The CFFO believes that regulatory reform is the first critical step in setting the stage for growth. The CFFO believes that we need legislation that prioritizes water for biological use for agriculture. We need to stress that biological water use for growing food needs to be optimal, which is difference for efficiency in mechanical use.
At the same time, we acknowledge and affirm that stewardship of water is extremely important. We don’t want a policy that drains our aquifers and we don’t want policy that runs our rivers dry. Instead, we want a system that allows for good stewardship of our resources through responsible irrigation, drainage and retention systems. This will not only help farmers improve yields, but also addresses concerns around the release of excess nutrients like phosphorus into the environment.
What Commitments does CFFO want to see?
The CFFO wants:
- Commitment to regulatory reform around water use that will result in a more productive business setting for agriculture
- Commitment to help build a knowledge base around water expertise within Ontario
- Commitment to targeted legislation that prioritizes water use for agriculture that orients the industry and regulatory environment towards optimal use combined with proper stewardship over time.