Farmers Forum staff
GUELPH — Sheep producers will pay 22 % more in licensing check-off fees after the Ontario Sheep Farmers (OSF) board imposed its first fee hike in 13 years. The new rate, announced at the beginning of August, has been set at $2.20 per live animal sold, an increase of 40 cents.
The hike comes as a result of rising costs, according to the OSF, which pledges to maintain current programs at current levels.
OSF collects the mandatory check-off to support programs and services to the province’s 3,000 sheep farmers, who are required to register with the organization under Ontario law.
“The budget increase will increase our engagement with our members and improve our market knowledge to prepare for future initiatives to grow the sector for all producers,” OSF Chair John Hemsted says.
The organization is carrying out a five-year plan — launched in 2021 — that includes market research, data collection, a wool pilot project and new courses within the Sheep Institute. In addition, a new part-time member relations position will be added to the OSF’s staff roster this fall.
Ontario is the country’s biggest sheep producer, accounting for over 50 % of sheep and lamb processed in Canada.