Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Could agriculture be key to lifting Ontario economy? Read more: http://london.ctvnews.ca/could-agriculture-be-key-to-lifting-ontario-economy-1.1219792#ixzz2PIJeABtY

Agriculture is a multi-billion dollar industry, and it appears poised to cash in after years of crying poor.

It is the industry with the fewest people producing the most goods, and there’s a renewed sense of optimism ahead of the 2013 planting season.

Glen McNeil, a Huron County dairy farmer, says “Without a doubt agriculture is very, very stable right now, and there are great opportunities in agriculture.”

Weather will always be unpredictable, but prices for many farm products have never been higher and farm land has never been worth more.

But with fewer than two per cent of Ontario’s population actually farming, and most of it happening outside city limits, it’s not widely known.

On a recent visit to Huron County, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne explained “$34 billion in contribution to the GDP, over 700,000 jobs, exporting $10 billion dollars in product. That we don’t have a more general consciousness of that industry, I think, is the challenge that we’re confronting right now.”

Huron County is the most agriculturally productive county in the province, and ideas to capitalize on the momentum in the industry were discussed at a recent agricultural summit organized by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber feels the province’s ability to produce food for a growing world population is a huge economic opportunity.

Allan O’Dette, chamber CEO, says “I would say that agriculture has always been important. Perhaps it went through a period of being less sexy, but agriculture is very sexy and the opportunity in agriculture is tremendous.”

While the food business employs one in eight Canadians and will continue to mean higher prices for consumers, there is hope among farmers and politicians that it could help lead Ontario’s economy out of the doldrums.
Original Article Here

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