15, 2002: "Farmers are respected" and "consumers
are confident" are the top two characteristics essential
to a better future for agriculture, according to participants
in CFFO's winter workshop series on "Gearing Up for a
Better Future." About 250 members and friends of the
Christian Farmers Federation participated in the 18 sessions
across the province.
A major exercise during the workshop was the evaluation of
18 characteristics of a desirable future that have emerged
from CFFO discussions. Participants were asked to evaluate
each characteristic from two perspectives: their importance
for a desirable future for farming in Ontario, and their importance
for a desirable future for their farm and their family.
All 18 characteristics were rated as very important or somewhat
important to a desirable future for farming in Ontario by
at least 75% of the participants. From the point of view of
their own farms and their own families all of the characteristics
also rated, but the variation wasgreater.
The overall results were noteworthy; six characteristics
received the highest ratings in both evaluations. The order
of the top six varied, but from the combined perspective of
farming as a whole and what works for farmers and their families,
the following are the six most important characteristics for
which farming in Ontario should strive.
- Farmers are respected and trusted for quality food while
choosing management practices that take care of the environment
- Consumers are confident of safe, nutritious, and abundant
- Family-based farm businesses thrive and are the dominant
farm business structure.
- The farm family makes the management decisions on the
- Farmers are confident of satisfactory economic returns,
public appreciation and a challenging occupation.
- Consumers are confident that antibiotics and pesticides
are minimized, animal welfare is respected, energy is conserved
and organic resources are recycled.
With these characteristics in mind, CFFO has drafted a vision
agriculture. A seminar on the findings from the workshop series
on "Gearing Up for a Better Future" and on the vision
document will be part of CFFO's 2002 convention: "Paths
to Success - Renewing Family Farm Agriculture."
The keynote address will be delivered by Fred Kirschenmann,
Director of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture
at Iowa State University.
The event runs from Thursday, November 28 at 1 p.m. to Friday
November 29 at 9 p.m. at the Holiday Inn in Cambridge.
There's always room at the CFFO convention for more members
and friends. Come for one session or the whole spread. There
is a registration fee for most sessions so please pre-register--call
the CFFO office at (519) 837-1620. Or visit our website at
and use email.