by SUSAN MANN
Farmers should get compensation based of fair market value for animals killed by wildlife and there must be full coverage for livestock losses, recommends the National Farmers Union’s Ontario branch.
That was one of seven recommendations the NFU made to Ontario’s agriculture ministry regarding its proposed agriculture wildlife conflict strategy. NFU’s recommendations are based on resolutions passed at the 2010-2011 Ontario regional convention in March.
Board member Ann Slater says farmers need better programs and tools in place to lessen the impact of wildlife on their livelihood and bottom lines.
Slater says another key recommendation is federal/provincial cost-shared for preventative measures to protect livestock and crops from predators and wildlife. Farmers should be able to access funding for protection measures, such as guard animals, fencing, scare mechanisms and targeted removal of problem animals, she adds.
“It’s good to have the wildlife out in our countryside but we need society to help cover some of the costs of protecting our farms,” she says.
In other Ontario branch news, Joe Dama of Essex County is the new regional coordinator. He takes over from Sean McGivern, who served one year as the coordinator.
Dama says some of the key matters for this year are the federal election and the business risk management programs Ontario’s government is introducing for beef, pork, sheep, veal and the self-directed risk management program for fruits and vegetables. Along with these programs, which will be permanent, the government is implementing a permanent program for grains and oilseeds.
About the federal election, Dama says it’s very difficult to get farming issues to the front burner during the campaign. “We’re really encouraging our members to come out to the all-candidates meetings whenever possible and put questions forward to the candidates.”
On business risk management, Dama says NFU is very pleased the government has extended the program. One big thing NFU is looking for in the programs is caps “so that not just the very large farmers who have the hired accountants get in there and scoop up the money before the smaller farmers have a chance to get some.” BF