By Connor Lynch
WOODSTOCK — Farmers approve of their largest farm organization, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), but aren’t exactly keen about farm politics. That’s the conclusion of a Farmers Forum survey of 100 farmers at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show in Woodstock last month.
Only 29 % of farmers surveyed consider themselves “knowledgeable” or “very knowledgeable” about farm politics. The survey polled full-time Ontario farmers who are current or past members of the OFA and found that 71 % said they had “little knowledge” (32 %) or “some knowledge” (39 %) of farm politics.
While finding politically-informed farmers was a challenge, finding opinions was not. Eighty-four per cent polled described the OFA as doing a “fair” job. Another 8 % said the OFA is doing an “excellent” job. Eight per cent of farmers said the OFA was doing a “poor” or “terrible” job. Of those eight, all said they were “knowledgeable” or “very knowledgeable” of farm politics.
Here are some results in a nutshell:
- 92 % of respondents said the OFA was doing a “fair,” “good” or “excellent” job
- 49 % said the OFA was doing a “good” job
- 8 % said the OFA was doing an “excellent” job
- 8 % said the OFA was doing a “poor” or “terrible” job
- 71 % said they had only “little” or “some knowledge” of farm politics
- 8 % said they were “knowledgeable” or “very knowledgeable” of farm politics
- 78 % were ages 46 and older
- 0 % of farmers who said they had “little” or “some knowledge” of farm politics rated the OFA as doing a “poor” or “terrible” job
Here’s what the disgruntled had to say about the OFA:
— “They need to be less affected by government policy. They should be working for us.”
— “When the organization existed on a volunteer basis, things got done.”
— “They need different leadership but the guys that should be in there are too busy on their own farms. If you don’t have farm guys developing farm policy it’ll be a total screwup. Where are the Churchills of the day?”
— “Right now it’s top-down. It should be bottom-up. The neonic issue, they should’ve been on top of that. Listen to your members.”
— “Support us more on issues. Don’t sit on the fence. They’re supposed to work for us.”
— “They need to be walking to their own tune more, be less affected by government policy.”