By Tom Collins
GUELPH — The outgoing president of the National Farmers Union in Ontario (NFU-O) says the biggest issue for his organization is ensuring mentorship is there for the next generation of farmers.
As farmers make up less of the population every year, Emery Huszka says there are not as many mentors as there once were. It used to be a farmer had plenty of neighbours to get advice from, but those peer networks are disappearing, he said.
To combat this, the NFU-O has set up kitchen table discussions to connect new and old farmers.
“Engaging communication is critical,” said Huszka, who will not be running as the organization’s president at the group’s annual meeting in February. “You have to be able to provide a forum for those two people to sit down to pass on yesterday’s knowledge to tomorrow’s ideas.”
He said new technology and social media networks actually makes facilitating that discussion more difficult as it means organizations need to have more ways of reaching and making the information available.
The Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario’s main goal for 2019 is to continue to work the provincial government to reduce the amount of red tape.
President Clarence Nywening said the group is pleased with the red-tape cutting that the Ford-government has already brought forward, and since the provincial government has been so receptive, he is encouraging the CFFO members to come forward with more suggestions.
“(The provincial government is) looking forward to getting rid of a lot of the red tape issues that hinder farming,” said Nywening. “Every commodity has different regulations that are put in place that are not even workable. It just makes a lot of paperwork for nothing. It’s put in a file and nobody ever looks at it again. Why are we doing that?”