How do we effectively balance the use of our land resources while also ensuring the long-term sustainability of farming? Do existing policies lead us toward balance?
The Farmland Trust’s 2012 forum brought together 150 farmers, municipal elected officials, planners, provincial policy-makers and land conservation advocates from across the province to discuss intensifying land use demands in rural Ontario, share concerns and experiences, and brainstorm new ways to support both rural economic development and protection of Ontario’s best farmlands.
Policies that guide urban growth, mineral aggregate extraction, infrastructure developments, green energy projects and protection of endangered species all have significant impacts on agricultural operations and the well-being of rural communities. The result is often frustration among residents and rural municipal leaders, and particularly farmers whose businesses can be negatively affected by excessive regulation and permanent loss of the agricultural land they depend on.
This year’s Farmland Preservation Forum acknowledged these concerns and focused on innovations in policy and planning for agriculture within Ontario’s diverse countryside economy, recognizing the need to work collectively to shape new policy directions that understand the unique needs of farmers and rural communities and attract appropriate development to rural Ontario.