Message from the President- Peter McLaren

This being my first message as your President it’s difficult to know where to begin so I will jump right in. Anyone who attended OSCIA’s 2017 Annual Conference will remember a resolution to choose a location in eastern Ontario every few years, and after this year’s annual conference the Directors did vote to move the annual conference east. The 2019 Annual Conference will be in at the Four Points Sheraton in Kingston, the “Limestone City”.

As we approach the end of another unusual winter we all look to the spring. No way can we get three bad years in a row! But it is looking good in the short term around here; most of the snow is gone, winds are drying up the ground and warmer temperatures are bringing on the maple syrup as well as warming the ground. Fingers crossed!

Anyone attending the banquet at this year’s Annual Conference will recall my presentation on the shortage of agricultural graduates to fill the job requirements of the agriculture industry. There are four times as many jobs as graduates. I feel this        is something we should all get behind to promote; if it’s      good for agricultural business, it’s good for us all. So please pass on this message to other groups or if you have the ear of the media, please get the point across to the urban population that there are a lot of well-paying jobs available for anyone wanting to enter the agricultural sector.

Everyone should know by now that the Canadian Agricultural Partnership was announced on February 13. The first intake starts on April 3 and runs for five weeks, for a seamless transition from Growing Forward 2. This is the first time in my memory that the new program has followed directly behind the last. Hats off to the OMAFRA staff working on it to pull it together quickly. The program guide will be available at the end of March, so read it carefully before making an application. Also, the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) has announced the start of the GreenON Agriculture Program. This intake starts on March 6 and runs till March 26. It is for energy reductions in climate-controlled greenhouse and livestock buildings as well as grain dryers.

With that I will say so long for now and wish everyone a safe and on time planting season.

Until next time…

Peter McLaren, OSCIA President