Open Letter to the Honourable Jeff Yurek, Minister of The Environment, Conservation and Parks from Bob Weimeir

Published April 1, 2020

I am reaching out to you with an urgent request. The urgency comes from reading a newspaper article stating there could be a food shortage stemming from events and restrictions worldwide caused by the Covid-19 virus. While recognizing journalists thrive on sensationalism, the fact remains Ontario is far from self-sufficient in its food production. There are many acres of prime agricultural land not being used today because of incorrect mapping done by both the Ministry if Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) and the conservation authorities. These lands have been used to feed the populace for over 150 years. Make no mistake, farmers make their living off the land and would not do anything to harm the environment that sustains them. If the mapping didn’t restrict our farmers, there could potentially be thousands of acres available to replenish store shelves. Two deterrents lie in their path. One is the availability of seed. Farmers must think ahead at least six months to order the various seed. Hopefully this won’t be a problem as most companies overstock a little for a margin of error. The second one is actually being able to put this land back into production.

I applaud Premier Ford for stating we can produce anything we need in Ontario. The Premier and all the Ministers are doing an outstanding job against the worst odds any Government could envision. We, the farming community, would like the chance to do our part to relieve some of the burden you all are carrying. Growing food is what we have done since before Canada was a country.

Please help us to help you.

Bob Weirmeir, Co-Vice President, Ontario Landowners Association

Note to readers: If you are a farmer or food producer and you have thoughts on how the provincial government can help increase food production to strengthen our food security, please contact your MPP https://www.ola.org/en/members/current/contact-information.  For conservation authority restrictions on food producing private property, contact the Honourable Jeff Yurek.

SUBSCRIBE TO THE OLA NEWSLETTER