By Fadi Didi
OFA policy advisory council will discuss the impact of provincial regulations on farmers.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture's policy advisory council will find out about how farmers and municipalities are frustrated by provincial regulations at its quarterly meeting on Thursday.
The council has been collecting comments from across the province, as part of its response to the Premier's agri-food challenge.
The OFA service representative for Huron and Perth, Margaret Vincent tells us that municipalities and producers are often hampered by regulations covering by-laws and zoning regulations, among other things.
She says that serves as a roadblock to farm and agri-food expansion at a time when the industry needs to encourage new ideas and innovation.
Vincent points out that the input will be discussed, but there is no timeline on when the information might be shared with Queen's Park.
She predicts the council will introduce resolutions on how to help agri-business expand.
Premier Kathleen Wynne has challenged the agri-food industry to create 120,000 jobs and double its production and processing capacity by 2020.
A vegetable producer in Leamington is expanding and creating 203 new jobs.
With more than $1 million from the Southwest Ontario Development Fund, Lakeside Produce will expand to meet increased demand from major retail customers.
It will also retain the current 312 positions.
Lakeside Produce grows, ships and markets vegetables including bell peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes.
The company is installing state-of-the-art equipment in the new processing space to increase efficiency and production capacity.
The total value of the project is almost $7 million and is expected to be completed by the fall 2019.