The OAAS, OFA, 4H Ontario... And You!
Our Closest Partners and Friends
Now that you've been brought up to speed about the Maberly Fair, and the Lanark County and Tay Valley neighbourhood, we can now move on to the third section of our curriculum...
Yes. The OFA, OAAS...
And the Other Acronyms.
These are the different organizations that we are happy to promote and support... And we'll get to them.
But first: it's important to introduce the members of our own little tight-knit team, The Maberly Agricultural Society, and a few other people who help organize the Maberly Fair every year.
The roster changes from time to time (and we'll make the necessary updates when that happens), but we are a devoted bunch who tend to stick around for a while.
We created a separate page for the Maberly Agricultural Society, with some contact information and an event calendar. A little bit of history too! Check that out RIGHT HERE, or find it in the main menu at the top of the page.
Good. Aren't we a dapper bunch?
The backbone of the Maberly Fair, as was mentioned, but the Maberly Agricultural Society also relies heavily on volunteers from the community. That's where the "YOU" from the page title comes into play... People just like yourselves volunteer their time and energy every year, and we truly can't thank them enough!
But we'll give it a try.
Thank you! Thank you so much.
Really, you guys are lifesavers...
A million thanks. Merci beaucoup! Gracias!
And... that's probably good for now, but there's always more where that came from.
So What About the Acronyms?
NFU-O, 4H Ontario, Etcetera...
Right. We haven't forgotten about them... You're just being impatient. Sheesh!
What are we, at the Maberly Agricultural Society... chopped liver?!
Seriously though, we couldn't possibly forget to mention these organizations. They are some of the most important advocates and representatives we have, both as an agricultural society and as Ontario farmers.
So where should we start?
Rather than having to choose the most important one of these groups, we are opting to start with the one that lies at the core of all Ontario Agricultural Societies...
OAAS, or The Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies
The OAAS, governed by the Agricultural and Horticultural Organizations Act, is the provincial representative for over two hundred Agricultural Societies across Ontario.
Its core mandate is to be a resourceful and united voice for Ontario farmers, by both: providing timely leadership and education to its Members; and fostering among them a desire to promote and celebrate agriculture and rural Ontario.
That's actually a pretty apt nutshell summary of the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies (if we may pat our own back for just a moment).
The OAAS Represents, Supports, and "Associates" the Societies.
Plain and simple.
And it's great! It connects all fifteen districts of Ontario farmers- as they each have a Provincial Director on the Board- and it enables the Member Societies to discuss, collaborate and coordinate the possible achievement of important goals- either individually as districts, or collectively as a province.
The annual, and always much-anticipated, OAAS Convention in mid-February brings together a thousand or more delegates from all over the province. It is an ideal opportunity for Members to learn new things, and to network with new and old friends in the Association.
The Maberly Agricultural Society is, of course, is a happy member of the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies, and we are hence likewise governed by the Ontario Agricultural and Horticultural Societies Act.
Acronym #2: OFA, a.k.a. the Ontario Federation of Agriculture
Much like the OAAS, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture is not a top secret Government organization teeming with mysterious men in black suits and sunglasses.
That would be pretty sweet, now that we've put it out there...
But no. And we digress, albeit somewhat begrudgingly.
We will tell you, however, that the OFA- again, much like the OAAS- is another priceless education and advocacy tool in the Ontario farmer's tool belt.
Our local federation, the Lanark Federation of Agriculture, “represents the voice of agriculture in the local community and advocates on behalf of farm families in Lanark on local agricultural issues.”
And it is only one of the 52 county and regional federations supported by the OFA.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture was established in 1936, in response to the 1935 formation of the Canadian Chamber of Agriculture (later becoming the Canadian Federation of Agriculture). The OFA is the country's largest voluntary farm organization, and has been a perennial leader in results-oriented advocacy and lobbying for the interests of Ontario's farming community.
The OFA represents over 36,000 farm families across Ontario. And, armed with a dedicated farm policy research staff and 21 Member Service Representatives, they are committed to keeping Ontario farmers engaged and informed.
It becomes glaringly obvious why their mission statement is: "[Farms and food forever.]"
The OFA aims to maintain an acceptable level of technological advancement in agriculture while continuing to produce nutritious food sustainably for Ontarians, and for people around the world.
The Maberly Agricultural Society is an active member of the Lanark Federation of Agriculture, and a hence a strong supporter of the OFA. We recognize the importance of their tireless advocacy, and the value of the OFA’s Member services and Representatives.
Our OFA Member Representative is:
Deb Knapton – Zone 8: Arnprior, Lanark, Ottawa & Renfrew
Toll free: 1-855-761-7617
And for the Lanark Federation of Agriculture, contact:
Lillian Drummond-- Secretary / Treasurer
Or visit either of these links to learn more:
[The Ontario Federation of Agriculture Website https://ofa.on.ca/]
[The Lanark Federation of Agriculture Profile Page https://ofa.on.ca/federations/lanark/]
So who’s up next in this acronymous line-up?
The NFU-O, or the National Farmers Union- Ontario
Of course! This is one of our favourite organizations, and it’s because they work so darn hard (they really do)! And they’re fair and thoughtful…
And they work so darn hard!
“The NFU-O works toward the development of economic and social policies that will maintain the family farm as the primary food-producing unit in Ontario.”
Their emphasis is truly on the “family farm” too… they have a very refreshing and progressive policy on membership and voting rights.
“The National Farmers Union is made up of farm families who share common goals,” Their talented writer continues on the website. “Every member of the farm family – including the farmer and their spouse and children, ages 14 to 21 – are full voting members of the Union.”
Such a wonderful concept, isn’t it? And it gives the whole family a stake in the family farm, a reason to care. “This structure recognizes that every family member contributes to the farm by working on it directly, or indirectly through off-farm employment.”
And the NFU advocates with this same attitude. They work for the rights and opportunities of both women and youth in farming. Even the Ontario Council, which has eight elected positions, includes a Women’s Advisor and a Youth Advisor.
A part of the bigger Canadian National Farmers Union, obviously, NFU-O is one of eight regions across Canada. Ontario is Region Number 3, and this is broken down further into 22 county unions.
Here are the counties closest to us, with the Executive contact information:
310- Lanark: Maureen Bostock
316- Frontenac, Lennox & Addington : Ian Stutt
318- Leeds & Grenville: Jim Earl
334- Hastings, Prince Edward & Northumberland: Steve Laing
362- Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry, Ottawa & Prescott-Russell: Katie Ward
Phone: 613 454-5587
For the entire Ontario roster, go to [THIS PAGE http://www.nfuontario.ca/wpr/locals/]...
Or visit the [National Farmers Union Ontario home page http://www.nfuontario.ca].
The Canadian National Farmers Union itself has [A WEBSITE http://www.nfu.ca/] too.
The only local Farmers Union website we could find was for NFU-316 in Frontenac County. It’s called “Food Down the Road”, and we really like it. Relevant content from passionate people. Even if it’s not your local union, it’s still worth reading. So [CHECK IT OUT http://www.fooddowntheroad.ca/].
Now we would like to shift our focus to an organization that works with the next generation of Ontario farmers… The children!
Hope for the Future: 4H Ontario
And there is hope, as long as the 4H organization keeps promoting healthy development among today's (and tomorrow's) kids.
4H can be found in seventy countries, and in twelve Canadian provinces and territories- including our very own Lanark 4H Association. But it all began with a bag of corn seeds!
In 1901, President Orwell of the Farmer's Institute of Macoupin County, Missouri had an idea to establish a youth initiative in agriculture. He offered each interested boy a bag of corn seeds to grow, and to exhibit their yield at the St. Louis Fair later that year.
Over five hundred boys accepted the challenge that first year... And the rest, as they say, is history.
In 1913, the young 4H movement found its first Canadian home in Roland, Manitoba. Much like President Orwell's clever ploy, the Canadian Department of Agriculture gave to a group of Manitoba youth a few means with which to show an interest in farming and agriculture.
This, too, was an instant success. These first projects quickly led to the formation of The Boys and Girls Club- the Canadian 4H predecessor- and clubs began to spread like a wonderful wildfire! In 1919, there were 450 Ontario Boys and Girls Club members. And by 1923, there were 2,369 members in 127 clubs.
Much has changed since then, including the name of the Club to 4H Canada and 4H Ontario in 1952. The mission of the organization has changed slightly too... focusing more on leadership and life skills, rather than a strictly farm-based approach.
The goals today are more about being a well-rounded individual and a productive member of society, rather than receiving crop or breed accolades.
Farming and agriculture are still very much a part of the 4H philosophy... But their outlook has shifted with the sands of time, and the farm has been joined at the front line by the city (and a slightly modernized battle plan).
4H Ontario works to develop youth into future community, school and global leaders. Through their initiatives- camps, competitions, conferences, and world travel opportunities- and with the help of both staff and volunteers, 4H Ontario gives our younger generations a positive space where they can learn, communicate and contribute.
Like the 4H motto says: "[LEARN TO DO BY DOING.]"
This canon has been around since the early days of the Boys and Girls Clubs. And we can see why: as its timeless practicality and simplicity still rings true to this day.
We think you'll agree that, in our modern social and technological climate, it's more important than ever to bring kids back to the community and the home.
And the fields, of course! Still with strong roots in the countryside, 4H Ontario is always looking to groom the next generation of Ontario farmers. The crops aren't gonna grow themselves, are they?!
The Maberly Agricultural Society is an outspoken proponent of the Lanark 4H Association and 4H Ontario. We are always looking to suggest 4H activities and initiatives to young people looking to get involved in their community.
You can visit the [4H ONTARIO WEBSITE http://www.4-hontario.ca/] anytime to learn more.
Go to [THIS PAGE http://www.4-hontario.ca/4h-in-my-area/lanark/clubs.aspx] to see a list of clubs in the Lanark area, or contact the President of the Lanark 4H Association, Melissa Renaud, at 613-250-0438 (or using [THIS CONTACT FORM http://www.4-hontario.ca/4h-in-my-area/lanark/contact.aspx]). Refer to [THIS PAGE http://4-hontario.ca/4h-in-my-area/] to find your own local chapter of 4H Ontario.
We talk about 4H Ontario- and other programs, activities and resources for youth- on our [KIDS] page. And there are countless other organizations and tools for the Ontario farmer in the rest of our [RESOURCES] section.
Click on either of those links, or any other links on this page…
Or backtrack a bit, and learn more about our [MABERLY FAIR].
i. "Who We Are." NFU Ontario, 2018, http://www.nfuontario.ca/wpr/about/who-we-are-2/.
ii. "Lanark Federation Of Agriculture | Ontario Federation Of Agriculture." Ontario Federation Of Agriculture, 2018, https://ofa.on.ca/federations/lanark/.