Ontario Farmers Need Drought Help Now

July 31, 2012

CORNWALL – On Tuesday, Ernie Hardeman, Oxford MPP and PC Critic for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs,  Lisa MacLeod, MPP for Nepean Carleton and Jim McDonell, MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, called on the McGuinty government to take action to help Ontario farmers who have been hit hard by the drought.

“We know that some farmers have been forced to write off their crops and are struggling to feed their livestock which is only going to get worse,” said Hardeman. “Rather than waiting, the government should be putting forward a plan to help our farmers including requesting aid from the federal government through AgriRecovery.”

Nearly two weeks ago, on July 19, Hardeman wrote to the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and requested that he develop a proactive plan, pointing to the fact that the U.S. Department of Agriculture had already released one.

Hardeman, MacLeod and McDonell made the statements following a meeting with Eastern Ontario farmers whose crops have been destroyed by lack of rain. The meeting was held at the farm of Wyatt McWilliams a founder of “Hay West” which helped facilitate donations of hay for Western Ontario farmers following their severe drought in 2002.

“I am personally disappointed in Agriculture Minister Ted McMeekin and Premier Dalton McGuinty for their lack of leadership during this drought crisis in Eastern Ontario. I am proud that recently both PC Leader Tim Hudak and PC Agriculture Critic Ernie Hardeman took the time to talk to local farmers and express their support but also to discuss solutions to the drought crisis. It’s time the McGuinty Liberals joined us in this urgent conversation.” said MacLeod.

“The extreme dry conditions have already destroyed a major portion of Ontario’s 2012 crop production and the McGuinty government is nowhere to be seen.  Ontario’s agricultural industry is a major contributor to our economy and essential in providing us with secure, high quality food.  We need action now to ensure the future of the farming community and of the people and the province it supports.” said McDonell

“We’ve heard from many farmers that they are already feeding their cattle from their winter hay supply and there isn’t enough new hay this summer to provide for the upcoming winter,” said Hardeman. “I warned the Minister two weeks ago that it was time to act. We know the problem is coming and we need to look at innovative proactive solutions like a “Hay Ontario” and support for farmers who have lost their crops before it becomes more of a crisis.”