Vanthof celebrates Ontario Agriculture Week

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Mr. John Vanthof: On behalf of my NDP colleagues and our leader, Andrea Horwath, it’s an honour to help recognize Agriculture Week in the province of Ontario. For most, I think the purpose of Agriculture Week is to help them stop and recognize the important role that the people who work in agriculture play in this province. There’s over 700,000 people who work in that sector here, which is an incredible number. It’s one of the biggest drivers in the province.

But for me, and I think for many of my NDP colleagues, Agriculture Week is about the cornerstone of the people of the sector, and that’s the farmers. For them, Agriculture Week likely will be about the weather because it’s been a really tough summer. Lots of times there’s toughs, but this has been a really tough summer. Farmers always contend with that, but the last few weeks of our extended summer, while others were talking about the heat and complaining about heat, there was no farmer in Ontario complaining about the heat because those few weeks of extended heat for many people in the agriculture sector saved the summer. It’s incredible how big a difference those couple of weeks of heat made. Farmers are an incredible breed and one I’d like to recognize.

The OFA organized a tour of Beverly Greenhouses this summer. One of the owners, Dale VanderHout, gave us a tour. He was talking about a different management practice they’d implemented. He said, “You know what? The plants just seem happier.” That spoke to me because I’m a farmer. Farmers want their plants and their animals—they want everything to be happy because that’s how they make their living. That’s why they keep fighting with the weather and fighting with the elements.

Lastly, I think we all need to thank the people who continuously do that. Rest assured, the farm families of Ontario will continue to work. They will work tirelessly until the crop is off so that we can all be assured to eat the great food that is grown in Ontario.