Producers are among the most vulnerable when it comes to mental health issues. Stress, anxiety, depression, emotional exhaustion and burnout are all high among producers.

If you are in crisis, please visit your local emergency department or call 911 immediately.

Stressed? Help is available. Click here.

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Agri-Tourism Opportunities on Ontario Farms

Matthew Rae – MPP for Perth-Wellington recently table the Growing Agritourism Act, 2024

This legislation, if passed, will remove barriers to investment, provide consistency across Ontario’s agritourism providers, and ensure participants are aware of the inherent risks associated with farm activities. 

The Wellington Federation of Agriculture endorses this Act as it provides resources and supports for members within our County to farm in a safe and economically viable way.


Since the tabling of the new Act, the farming community has been hearing from the general public, asking what does this mean and what exactly is Agritourism.

So, what is Agritourism?  Under the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) that is currently being updated to be named the Provincial Planning Statement (PPS) policy, direction on matters of provincial interest related to land use planning and development are provided. As a key part of Ontario’s policy-led planning system, this Policy Statement sets the policy foundation for regulating the development and use of land. It also supports the provincial goal to enhance the quality of life for all Ontarians.

From the PPS, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rual Affairs (OMAFRA) developed a publication called: The Guidelines on Permitted Uses in Ontario’s Prime Agricultural Areas.  It is a tool to help municipalities, decision-makers, farmers and others interpret the policies in the Provincial Policy Statement, 2014 (PPS) on the uses that are permitted in prime agricultural areas.

The Guideline details what On-Farm Diversified Uses are. On-farm diversified uses should be related to agriculture, supportive of agriculture or able to co-exist with agriculture without conflict. On-farm diversified uses are intended to enable farm operators to diversify and supplement their farm income, as well as to accommodate value-added and agri-tourism uses in prime agricultural areas.

Agri-tourism as a form of On-Farm Diversified use and is defined as - a use, that is limited in area, promotes enjoyment, education, or activities related to the agricultural operation. The main activity of the property must be an agricultural use.

Examples of agritourism could be but are not limited to – a farm vacation suite, bed and breakfast, hay rides, petting zoo, farm-themed playground, horse trail rides, corn maze, seasonal events, equine events, wine tasting, retreats, zip lines)


The Wellington Federation of Agriculture (WFA), representing over 1,500 farm business owners in Wellington County, underscores the pivotal role of agriculture in our local economy. Agriculture serves as the backbone of our region's economic vitality and sustains numerous families within our community. The ability for farm business owners to diversify their operations is instrumental in ensuring their financial resilience.  The recent Growing Agritourism Act, 2024 provides some supports to farm owners to mitigate the risks involved with agritourism with liability protections.

To understand agriculture and learn about farming in Ontario please check out Farm and Food Care at  The site provides virtual farm tours at or to understand food and farming in Ontario check out The Real Dirt on Farming publication that answers the question around current societal, climate and health questions in farming.


The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is actively addressing concerns from Ontario farmers and farm businesses regarding the federal government’s proposed increase to Canada’s capital gains inclusion rate, which was announced recently in the 2024 budget.

What are the proposed changes?

For corporations and trusts: the inclusion rate will increase from one-half to two-thirds for all capital gains.

For individuals: The inclusion rate will increase to two-thirds for capital gains higher than $250,000 after deductions and exemptions.

These measures are proposed to take effect on June 25, 2024.

The budget also contained a proposal to increase the inclusion rate, Budget 2024 also proposed to increase the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption (LCGE) for qualified farm property from $1 million to $1.25 million and continue adjusting it for inflation after 2026.

Why is this causing concern?

This change has significant implications for farm succession planning and the economic viability of family farms because of the burden it places on Ontario’s farm businesses, particularly at a time when a growing number of farmers are approaching retirement and farm succession planning is more important than ever.

The increase in capital gains inclusion would make farm succession planning less financially viable and present significant challenges for farmers reinvesting in their business.

What is OFA doing?

OFA is working closely with the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and national accounting firms to fully assess these proposed changes and their impact on farm businesses and farm business succession planning.

We are committed to ensuring that our farmers’ voices are heard in this critical discussion, and in partnership with CFA, are advocating for a supportive tax environment for farmers.

Member webinar: OFA is hosting a webinar in partnership with tax experts from BDO Canada on May 16 at 12 pm about these changes, what they mean, and what resources are available for farmers on the subject.

To register for the online webinar – follow the link:

What should farmers do?

Consult with accountants: Farmers are encouraged to discuss the specific impacts of these changes with their accountants to understand the personal and operational effects.

Review business plans: Review and update business plans and asset management strategies as needed in light of the proposed changes.

Important deadlines to know: June 25, 2024 is the proposed implementation date for these changes. Farmers are encouraged to consult with their accountants regarding any potential activities to mitigate increased tax liabilities.

Where can I get more information?

Visit or contact Ben Lefort, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 519-822-0589.

By Tracey Arts, Director, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

Ontario’s agri-food sector often flies under the radar in the face of prominent industries like automotive, but it’s actually a major economic powerhouse in its own right.

In fact, the industry that spans from Ontario’s farms right through to food service contributes $47 billion to the provincial economy every year and provides jobs for about 10% of the province’s workforce – or more than 750,000 people.

Ontario’s more than 48,000 farms are the backbone of the value chain, which includes businesses that supply inputs like seed and fertilizer, as well as manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, retail, food service, tourism and waste management.

Our family’s southwestern Ontario dairy farm is one of those farms and it’s always interesting to see the many other aspects of the provincial economy we touch, from the local farm supply store and veterinary clinic to transportation and processing all the way down to the people who eventually consume Ontario-made milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products.

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)’s Grow Ontario Strategy sets out ambitious goals for the growth of this sector between now and 2032, which will support economic growth and ensure an efficient and reliable food supply.

A strong component of making that happen is support and development of Ontario’s rural economy.

I’m also a director on the board of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, and this past winter, I attended the Rural Ontario Municipal Association’s annual conference, where OMAFRA announced the development of the first Rural Economic Development Strategy for the province.

From diversification of existing businesses to the development of new enterprises, we hope it will seize the opportunity to unleash the untapped potential in rural Ontario not just for agriculture but also for the many businesses and services our communities rely on.

A strong rural economy matters to the entire provincial economy, and rural economic development should be a focus not just for OMAFRA but also many other ministries who have a role to play in our rural business and social fabric, from health, housing, and labour to economic development, transportation and more.

OFA has just submitted comments to the provincial consultation for the strategy, highlighting what we believe will help rural economic development be impactful and drive meaningful change.

Strong rural economies

Preserving farmland is a cornerstone of a provincial economic strategy that includes growth of the agri-food sector and its untapped economic potential. All levels of government should provide funding and other supports for local agri-food business diversification and encourage business-to-business networking.

While rural Ontario often faces challenges with lack of staff and funding capacity, restoring staff levels in OMAFRA’s Community Economic Development unit to full capacity and increasing the funding envelope for the Rural Economic Development Program will be integral to supporting important projects in rural areas.

Business development

OFA encourages the Ontario government to continue to fund innovation, diversification, and market development in the agri-food sector, and believes the province and its rural communities should be marketed as an agri-food cluster to attract new businesses to our communities. Business attraction should be done strategically using smart land use planning that targets investment-ready sites, so that farmland is preserved for agricultural uses as much as possible.

Targeted support for agritourism, ecotourism and culinary tourism businesses will help them expand and diversify their offerings. Funding for projects that support greater use of online platforms can expand market access for agri-food businesses to more Ontarians.

The growth of rural communities and businesses, however, requires infrastructure like affordable natural gas, high-speed broadband internet and well-maintained roads and bridges, as well as social infrastructure like schools, hospitals and community supports.


The agri-food sector offers rewarding and fulfilling opportunities through many different career paths, including communications, science, health, technology and more. Strategies to attract workers with agri-food sector skill sets to rural areas are a key component of economic growth, and connecting prospective employees to agricultural and manufacturing employers is crucial to filling local labour gaps and ensuring a robust agri-food labour pool in rural Ontario.

Rural Ontario also needs a workforce with skills and talents that ensure services are available for rural residents, including medicine, education, technology, innovation and skilled trades. Complete communities with attainable housing, schools, education, childcare, quality job opportunities and a strong local food sector will ensure that rural Ontario can attract the best and brightest into their communities.

For more information, contact:

Tyler Brooks
Director of Communications and Stakeholder Relations
Ontario Federation of Agriculture
519-821-8883 ext. 218
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GUELPH ON [April 26, 2024] – The Waterloo Federation of Agriculture (WFA) and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) are disappointed at the ongoing lack of transparency and consultation in the land use situation in Wilmot Township, a municipality in Waterloo Region.


A consulting firm acting on behalf of the Region of Waterloo has approached farmers and landowners in the area with offers to purchase 770 acres of prime farmland for a yet undisclosed industrial economic development project.


“Investing in agriculture and food production and processing will also create jobs and economic development in Ontario, as well as creating new opportunities for rural communities who are poised to grow,” says farmer and OFA President Drew Spoelstra. “We can’t emphasize enough the need to balance growth with minimizing the ongoing loss of farmland in Ontario and protecting our precious and limited agricultural resources wherever possible.”


Farmland is the cornerstone of Ontario food production. The agri-food sector, which is built around productive agricultural land, contributes $47 billion to the provincial economy and $20 billion in agri-food exports annually, and employs about 10 per cent of Ontario’s work force, supporting more than 750,000 jobs.


Under the Region’s land purchase offer, any landowners who do not agree to sell will see their farmland expropriated for industrial development. The Waterloo Federation of Agriculture’s requests to delegate to Wilmot Township Council and Waterloo Region Council have both been denied and interactions between both Councils and individual farmers have been minimal.


“Farmers in the area have had a positive working relationship with local and regional government for more than 30 years, so it is deeply disappointing that we haven’t been given the opportunity to be part of this process, have our voices heard and contribute to a solution workable to all,” says Nic Weber, local farmer and WFA president. “We all benefit from striking a practical balance between encouraging urban economic development and preserving the farmland that supports not just our rural economy but also contributes strongly to our food security.”


The OFA has been working closely with the WFA, area farmers and affected landowners ever since the Region’s land assembly process for industrial development first came to light earlier this year. The provincial organization takes an active role provincially in advocating for farmland preservation through a responsible land use planning approach that supports economic growth opportunities in areas that are best suited for this type of development and prioritizes farmland use for food production.


“We’ve been calling for a pause on this action so that local farmers and landowners can be consulted, and we’re disappointed at both the lack of transparency around this project and the unwillingness to involve farmers in the process,” says OFA President Drew Spoelstra. “Meeting the growth targets set out for the agri-food sector under the province’s Grow Ontario Strategy will require strategic economic investments to grow the industry, a targeted approach to farmland protection across Ontario’s productive farm landscape and collaboration between all levels of government, landowners and farmers.”


Both the WFA and the OFA are continuing efforts to engage in discussions to identify alternative locations for this development so the loss of productive farmland can be minimized. Community members are encouraged to share any concerns about the proposed rezoning with elected municipal, regional and provincial politicians.


The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) represents 38,000 farm families across the province and serves as the leading advocate and strongest voice of Ontario’s farmers. As a dynamic farmer-led organization, the OFA represents and champions the interests of Ontario farmers through government relations, farm policy recommendations, research, lobby efforts, community representation, media relations and more.


The Waterloo Federation of Agriculture (WFA) is one of 51 county and regional federations across the province supported by OFA. WFA represents the voice of agriculture in the local community and advocates on behalf of farm families in the Region of Waterloo on local agricultural issues. The goal of WFA is to promote the farm community in support of the innovation, hard work and compassion that is emblematic of the Region.


By Clint Cameron, Director, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

Tax season is coming up and while it’s always important to stay on top of deadlines and new rules, there are changes to three specific federal tax filing requirements that farmers should pay particular attention to for 2024.

Underused Housing Tax

In 2022, the federal Underused Housing Tax (UHT) Act became law, putting a tax on the value of vacant and underused housing owned either directly or indirectly by people who aren’t Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

For the farming sector, the UHT’s onerous annual filing requirements and steep penalties for non-compliance, which ranged from $5,000-$10,000, were a major concern. Following advocacy from the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) and other organizations, the federal government announced the following proposed changes in its 2023 Fall Economic statement:

  • Exemption for farmers: farm businesses will be exempt from filing the UHT for the 2023 tax year and beyond as long as more than 90% of ownership is by Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
  • Lower penalties: minimum penalties for failing to file a UHT return were lowered to $1,000 for individuals and $2,000 for corporations for each UHT return not submitted.

The proposed changes, which would apply for the 2023 tax year and beyond, still need to be introduced and passed through legislation in order to come into effect.

Key takeaway for farmers: UHT still applies for the 2022 tax year, so any farmers who were required to file a UHT return for 2022 but have not yet done so, should file by April 30, 2024 to avoid penalties and interest.

T3 reporting rules for federal trusts

The federal government has introduced new reporting requirements for trusts, including those used in farm business and estate planning, that will take effect for taxation years ending after December 30, 2023.

  • Annual filing: Although there are some exemptions, most Canadian trusts must now file an annual T3 return even if the trust didn’t dispose of capital property or owe any tax during the year.
  • More information: those filing a T3 will need provide much more information than in the past, including names, addresses, birth dates, jurisdiction of residence and taxpayer identification numbers of anyone involved with a trust (trustees, beneficiaries, settlers or influencers of trust decisions).
  • Non-compliance penalties: the filing deadline for 2023 T3 returns is April 2, 2024. Penalties start at $25 per day for each day the return is late, with a minimum penalty of $100 and a maximum of $2,500. In more severe cases, penalties could be $2,500 or 5% of the highest fair market value of the assets held by the trust during the year.

Key takeaway for farmers: Farm businesses who use family trusts to hold private company shares, such as a farm corporation, as well as trusts used for estate planning or holding personal-use assets must now file an annual T3 return. Not sure if these rules apply to your farm? Consult a professional who is knowledgeable in farm trusts; filing unnecessarily can complicate estate planning and impose unintended legal and financial challenges.

Electronic filing for HST returns becomes mandatory

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has implementing new electronic filing requirements for GST/HST returns starting in 2024 for anyone with a GST or HST number, with the exception of charities and a few listed financial institutions. For CRA purposes, electronic filing options include:

  • GST/HST NETFILE: a direct online submission to the CRA.
  • My Business Account: A secure CRA portal for various business tax accounts.
  • Represent a Client: A service for accountants to file a return on behalf their clients.
  • Electronic Data Interchange (EDI): Electronic payment of net tax through Canadian financial institutions.
  • GST/HST TELEFILE: A telephone-based filing system using a touchtone phone.
  • GST/HST Internet File Transfer: Submission through third-party accounting software.

Key takeaway for farmers: for those without access to a computer or a reliable Internet connection, filing by phone using GST/HST TELEFILE is a valid electronic filing option.

It can be a bit overwhelming to keep on top of the evolving tax landscape, so OFA has put together an easy-to-follow fact sheet that summarizes these key changes and where to go for more information. It’s downloadable on the OFA website.

In addition to farming and running a business that offers services to farmers, I have also spent a large part of my career in the corporate world. So I’m no stranger to the paperwork that comes with being in business. Here are a few tips to make things easier at tax time:

  • Keep good financial records and make sure those records and your books are up to date.
  • Look for updates on changes from the OFA, accounting firms, financial institutions and others.
  • Consult professionals, like accountants, tax specialists, financial advisors or estate planners, to help you navigate any new requirements and ensure you’re compliant.

For more information, contact:

Tyler Brooks
Director of Communications and Stakeholder Relations
Ontario Federation of Agriculture
519-821-8883 ext. 218
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GUELPH, ON [February 21, 2024] – A new cost-share funding program was announced today that will support marketing projects to promote Ontario farmers at farmers’ markets across the province. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is contributing $50,000 to the initiative as a result of a first-ever partnership with Farmers’ Markets Ontario (FMO).

“Farmers’ markets are one of the strongest direct links between farmers and consumers, and OFA is proud to partner with FMO to strengthen those connections even further,” says OFA President Drew Spoelstra. “This new partnership is an excellent complement to the OFA’s Home Grown campaign, which focuses on raising awareness of the bounty of food, fibre, fuel and flowers we produce here in Ontario.”

Under the new program, funding will be available for marketing and awareness projects to promote and support local farmers who are participating at farmers’ markets. Individual farmers’ markets can apply to FMO for up to 50% of their total project costs to a maximum of $2,500 in grant funding. The program will be administered by FMO.

“Active and prosperous farmers’ markets contribute vibrant, healthy communities and we are excited to launch this new collaboration with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and shine a spotlight on the farmers who play such key roles at local markets,” says Elmer Buchanan, Vice Chair of FMO and director with the Peterborough County Federation of Agriculture. “More than a million Ontarians shop at farmers’ markets, making FMO members a key pillar of a strong and growing local food value chain in our province.”

Application forms and programs will be available through Farmers’ Markets Ontario in April. Applicants must be a member of Farmers’ Markets Ontario to apply.

About Ontario Federation of Agriculture
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is the largest general farm organization in Ontario, representing 38,000 farm families across the province and serving as the leading advocate and strongest voice of Ontario’s farmers. As a dynamic farmer-led organization based in Guelph, the OFA represents and champions the interests of Ontario farmers through government relations, farm policy recommendations, research, lobby efforts, community representation, media relations and more. Home Grown is a public awareness initiative of the OFA to advocate for the importance of Ontario farms as a source of food, fibre, fuel and flowers.

About Farmers’ Markets Ontario
Farmers’ Markets Ontario is a not-for-profit organization representing over 180 farmers’ markets in Ontario. FMO is the only recognized provincial voice for farmers’ markets and dedicated to assisting and supporting their efforts. Ontario’s farmers’ markets contribute an estimated $2.47 billion dollars annually to the provincial economy in direct, indirect and induced economic impacts. 

For more information:

Tyler Brooks
Director of Communications and Stakeholder Relations, Ontario Federation of Agriculture
519-821-8883 ext. 218 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Catherine Clark
Executive Director, Farmers’ Markets Ontario
613-475-4769 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

By Paul Maurice, Director, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

January marks the renewal season of membership in the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) and there are a number of ways that farmers, farm businesses and agricultural organizations can hold a membership in the OFA.

Most well-known is the Farm Business Registration membership. In Ontario, farms that have earned a gross income of at least $7,000 in the past year are required to register their business through Agricorp in order to qualify for certain programs and benefits.

Registered farm businesses are eligible for the farm property class tax rate for farmland and farm vehicle license plates, as well as being able to apply for special government programs for agriculture.

These include, for example, the Wildlife Damage Compensation Program for losses to crops or livestock caused by wildlife, and government cost-share programs for initiatives boosting soil health and water quality, reducing greenhouse gas emissions or protecting species at risk.

Similar to how the federal government relies on data gathered through the Canadian Census to help with decision-making, the provincial government uses statistics and information generated through FBR to support agricultural program and policy development.

With registration, farmers select a membership in one of Ontario’s three accredited farm organizations – and every year, they decide which organization they wish to belong to and support with their membership fee.

Other forms of membership in the OFA include Individual Farm Membership, which represents individuals who are or have been directly involved in farming but who do not otherwise quality for Farm Business Registration.

OFA is also pleased to include 29 agricultural and commodity organizations among our valued members. OFA is a strong believer in the power of partnerships and working together to achieve common goals.

I’m a director on OFA’s provincial board, where I have represented farmers in Peel, Simcoe and York since 2021. My wife and I were dairy farmers in the small bilingual community of Lafontaine just west of Penetanguishene for 50 years, and today, we raise broiler chickens and grow crops together with our son, Alex, who is the fifth generation of our family on our farm.

I’ve been a member of the OFA for decades, and I believe strongly in the value of farmers having a strong organization who can represent our sector and our issues with a united voice.

Our advocacy work yields important outcomes for farm businesses and rural communities on topics as wide-ranging as taxation, farmland preservation, farmer wellness, rural infrastructure and supply chain resilience, to name just a few.

As a provincial organization, our advocacy focuses primarily on the provincial government, but we are also active federally as members of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. As well, we dedicate resources to working with municipalities as a significant amount of legislation affecting farmers actually stems from local government.

That’s why, for example, we make sure we participate in key events like the annual conferences of Economic Developers Council of Ontario, the Rural Ontario Municipal Association, the Ontario Good Roads Association, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and others.

To put it simply, to me advocacy means being able to help people who affect our lives and our farming businesses understand who we are and what we do – and what impact their decisions have on those of us who produce food, fuel, fibre and flowers.

This means working closely with our membership and local Federations and collaboratively with government, other farm organizations and industry partners to find and put the proper tools in place so that as farmers, we can keep our businesses profitable and efficient.

And I like to think that OFA, who represents approximately 88% of Ontario’s farmers, is best positioned to be that leading, trusted voice for our sector.

We appreciate the support of our members and their trust in us to represent their interests and turn their concerns into action that helps ensure Farms and Food Forever.

For more information, contact:

Rachelle Kerr
Communications Coordinator
Ontario Federation of Agriculture
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CONSTITUTION               Revised – October 2023

link in pdf format 

Article 1: Title/Name


This organization shall be known as the Wellington Federation of Agriculture.


Article 2: Definitions ADDED


  1. The Wellington Federation of Agriculture will be referenced as “WFA”
  2. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture will be referenced as “OFA”
  3. The County of Wellington will be referenced as “County”


Article 3: Objectives


  1. To work towards improving the welfare of the individual farmer and the farming industry
  2. To bring the views, concerns, and recommendations of the membership to the OFA for policy development and action, and to interpret for all members the OFA policy that is developed
  3. To communicate core agricultural information effectively and promptly to the farming community
  4. To accurately present agriculture in the County to the community at large
  5. To work in collaboration with OFA
  6. To encourage social, electoral, and educational activities as they affect agriculture ADDED
  7. To engage with government officials and policymakers to provide input, share information, and advocate for policies and regulations that align with the needs and goals of the agricultural industry. ADDED


Bylaw 1: Membership


  1. A Member of WFA shall be any Registered Farm Business with membership with OFA or anyone with an Individual Farm Membership with OFA, who resides in the County and the City of Guelph
  2. Members of WFA shall have the right to attend and vote at all WFA General Meetings and to seek election to the WFA Board of Directors. ADDED
  3. Only one person per membership is permitted to cast a vote during a voting process. ADDED


Bylaw 2: Board of Directors


  1. A Board of Directors will be established with representation as follows:
    1. President
    2. Past President ADDED
    3. 1st and 2nd Vice Presidents
    4. Up to three Directors representing each municipality in the County and the City of Guelph
    5. Up to ten Directors-at-Large


  1. The Board of Directors will have the responsibilities of:
    1. The management and regulation of all business of WFA between Annual General Meetings
    2. Establishing new positions and making changes to existing positions as deemed necessary by the organization
    3. The implementation of WFA and OFA organizational policy
    4. Making a full report of WFA’s activities, including the presentation of a reviewed financial statement at each Annual General Meeting.
    5. The use of WFA’s funds in accordance with approved budgets. ADDED
    6. The hiring, contractual agreement and management of a WFA administrator. ADDED


Bylaw 3: Duties


  1. President ADDED

The responsibilities of the President will include:

Chairing all General, Board and Executive Meetings

  1. Chairing all General, Board and Executive meetings.
  2. Acting as spokesperson of WFA
  3. Promoting OFA membership within the agriculture community
  4. Keeping well informed of relevant issues
  5. Being prepared for WFA activities
  6. Developing a positive relationship with the media to promote agriculture
  7. Delegate responsibilities as needed





  1. Vice Presidents ADDED

The responsibilities of the Vice Presidents will include:

  1. Assuming the duties of the President in their absence
  2. Serving as a member of the Board of Directors
  3. Assisting the President in performing their duties
  4. Keeping well informed of relevant issues
  5. Being prepared for WFA activities
  6. Preparing for the role of President


  1. Past President ADDED

The responsibilities of the Past President will include:

  1. Providing guidance and wisdom to the Board of Directors and Executive as needed.


  1. Directors ADDED

The responsibilities of the Directors will include:

  1. Attending and participating in Board meetings regularly
  2. Present issues and concerns of the Members
  3. Assisting with WFA activities outside of meetings
  4. Participating in WFA Committees
  5. Assisting in the recruitment, orientation, and retention of Board members


Bylaw 4: Executive


The Executive shall consist of the President, Vice Presidents, and Past President.

The responsibilities of the Executive will include: ADDED

  1. Overseeing financial operations of WFA
  2. Review any issues from the Board that require extra attention
  3. Serve as the Officers of WFA
  4. Overseeing any volunteers and staff contracted by WFA


Bylaw 5: Officers


The Officers shall consist of the President, Vice Presidents, and Secretary-Treasurer.


Bylaw 6: Secretary-Treasurer


  1. The roles of Secretary and Treasurer shall be served by the Administrator
  2. The Administrator will be hired from outside of the WFA Board
  3. When vacant the position will be publicly advertised. ADDED
    1. Applicants will be interviewed by a selection committee comprising the President and at least two other members of the Board of Directors.
    2. The Committee will recommend the hiring of a suitable applicant pursuant to the contractual terms of engagement.
  4. Responsibilities include handling and reporting on WFA’s finances and correspondence, taking minutes at all General, Board and Executive Meetings and performing other duties as directed by the Board and Executive. ADDED



Bylaw 7: Committees ADDED


  1. WFA may form ad hoc committees for a specific, temporary purpose.
  2. Standing Committees are:

i) Scholarship Committee

ii)Budget Committee

iii)Nomination Committee

  1. Committees will be made up of members of the Board of Directors
  2. Committees will report their work to the Board


Bylaw 8:  Quorum


  1. The quorum for all General Meetings shall be 15
  2. The quorum for all Board Meetings shall be 4. UPDATED
  3. The quorum for all Executive Meetings shall be 3


Bylaw 9: Fiscal Year ADDED

The fiscal year will run from October 1st to September 30th of each year.


Bylaw 10: Elections ADDED


  1. Elections for all WFA positions on the Board of Directors will occur at the Annual General Meeting.
  2. All elected positions of WFA are for a one-year term
  3. A nominations committee will be struck by the Board of Directors in advance of the Annual General Meeting, the duties of this committee listed in WFA’s policy document.
  4. Nominees for elections must be current Members as per Bylaw 1.
  5. Nominations can be made verbally or in writing by any Member in advance of, or from the floor, at the Annual General Meeting.
  6. Elections shall be held by a secret or private voting method, the details of the voting and ballots listed in WFA’s policy document.
  7. Vacancies on the Board of Directors between Annual General Meetings will be handled by the Board of Directors as listed in WFA’s policy document.
  8. All such vacancies to be filled require a 2/3 vote by the Board of Directors for approval


Bylaw 11: Meetings


  1. Annual General Meeting: UPDATED 


 i)The WFA Annual General Meeting will take place a minimum of 14 days before the OFA AGM

ii)The WFA Annual General Meeting will take place within 60 days following the end of WFA’s fiscal year.

  1. Notice of such meeting to be given either by mail or email, or notice on the WFA website, or insertion in the local press, or in WFA’s social media accounts, or all, at least ten full days in advance of the fixed date.
  2. The agenda will include the election of the Board of Directors, a Financial Statement, the appointment of Auditors and election of representatives to OFA as stated in the Article on Representation to OFA.


  1. Special Meetings:
    1. Special General Meetings may be called by the Board of Directors
    2. The Secretary will call a Special General Meeting on a written request signed by twelve Members.
    3. Notice of a Special General Meeting will be given at least seven full days, by insertion in the local press, email, or notice on the WFA website.
    4. Special Meetings of the Board of Directors may be called by the Executive
    5. Special Meetings of the Executive may be called by the President


  1. Board Meetings:
    1. The Executive will call at least ten Board Meetings in each year
    2. The dates to be determined by the Executive, for which at least three full days notice in writing or email will be given to each member of the Board.
    3. The meetings will deal with routine business and correspondence and other matters relevant to WFA services and operations.


Bylaw 12: Conduct of Meetings


  1. All meetings of WFA will be conducted according to Robert’s Rules of Order


Bylaw 13:  Attendance at meetings

  1. All meetings will follow a hybrid format combining in-person and virtual attendance options to accommodate both remote and on-site participants. ADDED


Bylaw 14: Expulsion and Suspension


  1. The expulsion of a member of the Board of Directors may be declared for any cause - after investigation - by a three-fourths vote of the Board of Directors present at the meeting called to consider the question.
  2. A member of the Board of Directors may be suspended in the same manner


Bylaw 15: Amendments


  1. The provisions of the Constitution and Bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds vote of Members present at a General Meeting.
  2. Notice of proposed amendments shall be posted electronically on WFA’s website and available by request for mailing for no fewer than 10 days prior to the General Meeting that amendments shall be presented at for voting on ADDED


Bylaw 16: Representation to OFA


  1. WFA will undertake the election and appointment of its delegates for OFA’s convention and representatives for OFA’s Policy Advisory Council at WFA’s Annual Regional Meeting.
  2. The number of allowable delegates will be determined by OFA ADDED


Bylaw 17: Indemnification ADDED


The WFA shall indemnify any Directors, Officers and Contractors to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law when they are or may be made a party to legal proceedings by reason of their association with the WFA.


Bylaw 18: Insurance ADDED

WFA shall purchase Director and Officers liability insurance on behalf of its Board of Directors, contractors, and volunteers.



WFA is pleased to sponsor an annual Award program to encourage Wellington County students to pursue post secondary studies in agriculture or an agriculture related field of study (it’s relation may be established by applicant in the body of the essay)
Four awards of $1000 (minimum) each are available to students who reside in Wellington County-The Flewwelling Award, the John Sealey Bursary, the Ray Baptie Bursary and a WFA Board of Directors Bursary. More students may be awarded or a higher amount awarded at the discretion of our committee and budget availability. Any year of study may apply, but applicants may not have previously received a bursary.

1) Complete the WFA Ag Student Award Application.
2) Write an ‘essay’ of approximately 500 words in which you indicate why you should be a recipient of the above- mentioned award (Basically 500 words about yourself, and how you plan to use your knowledge to work within or support the Ag Industry post study)
3) Submit proof of attending a post secondary school program including documentation of program year that you are enrolled in. (This documentation to be received by Sept 15th, after official enrollment)
4) If you are notified as being the recipient of a bursary, you must forward a photo suitable for a media release by WFA prior to receiving your cheque.
Applications can be received by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by contacting Katherine Noble, WFA Administrator at 519-323-7294, 
Deadline for applications : September 1st of each year

The leadership of Ontario’s agricultural organizations named below are pleased to find common ground with the Ontario government in respect to protecting farmland under the proposed Provincial Planning Statement, with thanks to Premier Doug Ford, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Lisa Thompson and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark, for their willingness to meet with farmers on this issue, better understand our position and work together to find a resolution on this matter.

By Paul Vickers, Executive Member, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

Leadership recruitment and development are foundational to the long-term success of any business or organization. At the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), for example, attracting dedicated leaders and supporting their skills development plays a key role in our organization’s management and succession planning approach.

The OFA is led by a board of directors who are chosen for those positions by farmers in designated zones across Ontario. In June every year, a certain number of board positions, which are three-year terms, are up for election – giving candidates a chance to put their name forward for a seat on the board and farmers the opportunity to vote for who they would like to be their representative.

Wellington County –

Wellington County’s population is expected to increase by 61% by 2051 which will put notable pressure on area farmland. Understanding the impacts of the agri-food system is crucial to help balance the needs of Wellington County’s population growth while continuing to strengthen the agrifood  system.

The Wellington Federation of Agriculture (WFA) recently released a report that examines the agri-food system in the County. Wellington County’s agri-food system contributes $2.8 billion to Canada’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product). The primary agriculture sector in Wellington County plays a crucial role in the economy by contributing $841 million to Ontario’s GDP and employing over 12,260 people. Wellington County accounts for a notable portion of the provincial agricultural supply chain, too, producing 5.8% of 2021 provincial farm cash receipts.

WFA recognizes the Grand River Agricultural Society as a valued partner in our shared mission of supporting the local agricultural industry and are thankful for the generous financial support towards this project. The Society’s work demonstrates its deep commitment to protecting our valuable farmland and ensuring its sustainability for future generations.


Updated: May 12, 2023

OFA does not support the Planning Act amendment specified in Schedule 6 of Bill 97 to give the Minister the ability to issue MZOs that are not consistent with policy statements, provincial plans and official plans. However, OFA understands the need for the Minister to have the power of an MZO and we support MZO usage in areas of the province that are without robust local planning processes. We have no objection to MZOs being used within the lands that would be considered the Urban Envelope.

As a strong advocate for the protection of Ontario’s farmlands for their long-term ability to produce food, fibre, fuel, flowers, and nursery stock, OFA is unable to support amendments to the Planning Act that would give the Minister or any other planning authority the ability to make planning decisions which are not consistent with the PPS 2020. On balance, the policies of the PPS 2020 represent the minimum standard in support of protecting the environment, farmland and public health and safety.


The leadership of Ontario’s agricultural organizations, named below, are united in asking the Ontario government to take pause on its recently released Proposed Provincial Planning Statement and newly proposed Bill 97.

We stand in strong opposition to the 3 lot severances per farm parcel proposed in prime agricultural areas as well as other measures that weaken local farmland protection. We request that the limited circumstances permitting residential lot creation in prime agricultural areas under the Provincial Policy Statement, 2020, be retained in the new Proposed Provincial Planning Statement.


WFA AGM and OFA Regional Meeting is at The Grandway this year on Oct 28!  Tickets are $20 each and feature a plated Pork Tenderloin dinner.

Guest Speaker is Tim May aka 'Farmer Tim'!

For tickets email Katherine Noble at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Oct 14--we now accept etransfer!

Dinner is at 7, meeting portion starts at 8.

Do you want to make rewarding contributions to the future of our agricultural industry-both locally and provincially?

The Wellington Federation of Agriculture (WFA) is a local, general farm organization with over 1500 members, affiliated with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) and dedicated to uniting the farming community through grassroots leadership and cooperation


We are currently seeking an individual to provide administrative services to our board on a part-time basis, working from home. (average 15 hours/week)


The WFA Administrator reports to the WFA President and Board of Directors and will provide administrative services for the Federation, assisting the County Federation Board of Directors in achieving its mandate:


  • To improve the welfare of the individual farmer and the farming industry
  • To bring the viewpoints, concerns and recommendations of the membership to the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) for policy development and action and to interpret OFA policy so developed to all members of the WFA
  • To effectively and promptly communicate core agricultural information to the farming community
  • To accurately present Wellington County agriculture to the community at large
  • To work in collaboration with the OFA


Provides a key link between Board, members, and community; and will endeavour to build and maintain exceptional service-driven relationships and effectively resolve member concerns, plan events and manage internal and external communications.


Key Position Responsibilities and Duties:

  • Follows all County Federation policies/procedures, Health and Safety
  • Have a reliable vehicle, Driver’s License and insurance.
  • Work closely with local OFA Member Service Representative and WFA Board Directors



  • Prepare monthly financial statements, circulate bank statements to Board
  • Support the annual financial review in preparations of annual financial statement
  • Pay accounts following Board approval of expenditures and co-signing of cheques
  • Prepare Annual Reports for Annual Meeting
  • Calculate Per Diems for Directors



  • Support the individual County President and decisions made by the Board
  • Arrange and attend all meetings (in person or virtual), provide refreshments if required
  • Prepare agendas in cooperation with President
  • Take minutes and distribute to Board
  • Follow-up directives by the Board and support committees
  • Create letters on behalf of the President or County Federation, and mail or email after Board approval
  • Research information in advance of meetings
  • Review correspondence and forward to President and Directors
  • Maintain files of information and post to ‘slack’
  • Maintains and manages website, social media accounts
  • Refer to WFA Constitution, policies, and bylaws and Roberts Rules of Order
  • Maintain files, general information; historical information
  • Planning and executing of planned events
  • Coordinate Annual General Meeting



  • Completion of a minimum two years post-secondary, Diploma from an accredited educational institution or equivalent experience preferred in agricultural industry.


Qualifications and Experience:

  • Above average computer skills, Microsoft Office familiarity, electronic filing of information and photos
  • Ability to manage a home office
  • Strong background within the agricultural industry and the passion and energy to help it flourish
  • Experience working with Boards of Directors/Not for Profits
  • Demonstrates experience in creation of flyers, posters, and newsletters, event planning



  • Strong language and communication skills, written and verbal
  • Strong planning and organizational skills
  • Attention to detail and deadlines
  • Available to attend evening meetings and occasional weekend events
  • Self-disciplined and motivated to work alone from home
  • Ability to multitask and pivot 


Working Conditions:

  • Works in a home office environment as well as out in the field as required
  • Will be required to work flexible hours (evening and weekend) to attend meetings or events and functions
  • May deal with conflict and member relations issues causing stress at times
  • Spends a frequent amount of time driving to events, meetings and member venues
  • Travel required
  • Possesses a reliable vehicle and Ontario Driver’s License + insurance


Please forward resumes to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 5 pm July 22nd, 2022

Only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.

GUELPH, ON [June 10, 2022] – Ontario is losing 319 acres of farmland every day.

That is the average daily loss of farmland, according to data from the latest Census of Agriculture that was released last month. It is a steep climb from the 175 daily average loss that was recorded in the 2016 Census of Agriculture.

“To see a daily loss of 319 acres of farmland is a shocking jolt of reality that is simply not sustainable if we hope to have any kind of food sovereignty or independence in Ontario,” says Peggy Brekveld, President of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture. “While urban growth isn’t the only cause of farmland loss, it can’t be denied that development is putting intense pressure on Ontario farmland. Urban development is leap-frogging the Greenbelt and straining against urban-rural boundaries.”

Farmland is a finite, but diminishing resource, and the availability of prime agricultural land is fundamental to Ontario’s future. A country’s ability to feed its own population is an important pillar of a well-functioning and sustainable society.

But to do that, we need to ensure that we have land where we can grow our food, and in Ontario that space is limited. While the province is geographically large, much of the northern reaches cannot be farmed because of the Canadian Shield and climate. In the South, cities and towns cover much of the landscape. All told, only about five per cent of the province’s land is suitable for growing food or raising livestock.

Losing 319 acres of this land daily is the equivalent of losing nine family farms each week.

“What will that look like in 10, 50 or 100 years if left unchecked?” asks Brekveld. “Once this farmland is gone, it’s gone forever. We are not saying don’t build. We get the province has to accommodate growth. What we are saying is to build in the right places through long-term strategic land-use planning.”

The 319 acres per day figure was calculated based on a comparison of the total farm area in the province in the 2016 Census of Agriculture (12.4 million acres) versus the 2021 Census of Agriculture (11.7 million acres). The difference of 582,392 acres is divided by five to reach an average annual loss of 116,478.4 acres per year. Divide that by 365 days to 319.12 acres per day.

About the Ontario Federation of Agriculture

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is the largest general farm organization in Ontario, representing 38,000 farm families across the province. As a dynamic farmer-led organization based in Guelph, the OFA works to represent and champion the interests of Ontario farmers through government relations, farm policy recommendations, research, lobby efforts, community representation, media relations and more. OFA is the leading advocate for Ontario’s farmers and is Ontario’s voice of the farmer. For more information, visit

About Home Grown

A public awareness initiative of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Home Grown is a campaign to advocate for the importance of Ontario farms as a source of food, fuel and fibre. Arable farmland is the most important natural resource, but Ontario is losing an average of 175 acres of farmland to urban development every day; that is the equivalent of five family farms paved over every week. It is the objective of Home Grown to help develop a workable plan to guide responsible development in Ontario, ensuring growth to provide housing and support local tax bases while also protecting productive farmland.

Join the conversation on Twitter @OntarioFarms and Facebook /ontariofarms. For more information, please visit

For more information, contact:

Tyler Brooks
Director of Communications and Stakeholder Relations
Ontario Federation of Agriculture
519-821-8883 ext. 218
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

WFA is hosting an Ag Debate for the riding of Wellington Halton Hills

Available on Facebook live and recorded, and on recorded on youtube.

Participate live via zoom

By Paul Maurice, Director, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

The care, well-being and safety of livestock is of the utmost importance for farmers, especially in cases of transportation. Anyone involved in transporting animals, directly or indirectly, has the responsibility to ensure their livestock are ready for the journey.

In an effort to improve animal welfare and reduce risk to livestock during transport, amendments to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) Health of Animals Regulations: Part XII: Transportation of Animals were enacted which requires new rules to be followed during animal transportation. These changes were implemented to improve the well-being of animals during the entire transportation process and are the result of many years of consultation with key industry stakeholders.

Following a two-year period focused on education, awareness and compliance promotion, enforcement of the transport regulations officially came into effect on February 20, 2022. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) wants to remind members of notable changes to the regulations to ensure compliance and the welfare of livestock before, during, and after transportation.

Under the new regulations, anyone transporting animals commercially or for business/financial benefit must keep records related to the movement of those animals. These records include the name and address of the producer, ID number, measurement of floor area available to the animals, date, time and place, a description of the animals, and the last time they were given food or water. A Transfer of Care (TOC) document is now required for situations where the responsibility and care of livestock is transferred from one party to another. For example, a TOC is needed when a producer loads their animals on the trailer of a commercial shipper, or when transporting animals to an auction market or abattoir. This document provides proof that a load of animals has arrived or that the care/responsibility of those animals is passed on from one person to another.

The definitions of unfit and compromised animals have been updated in the regulations, with specific directions to determine if your livestock are safe for transport. The transportation of any animal considered unfit is a direct violation of the regulations, with the exception of receiving care recommended by a veterinarian.

Anyone involved in animal transport must assess the fitness of each animal while ensuring all provisions of the regulations are met. Then, only animals fit for the intended trip need to be selected, prepared, and loaded. To help determine if your animals are fit for their journey, the CFIA has developed a user-friendly brochure and guide for producers and a one-page fact sheet for signs of an unfit or compromised animal.

Significant changes have been made to the time frames during which animals are in transport without feed, water, and rest (FWR). Feed, water and rest intervals now vary by species and age of animal, and cover cattle, sheep, goats, swine, horses, and birds. It is also important to note that compromised animals have additional FWR requirements.

A verbal or written contingency plan is now needed for those transporting animals for business, including commercial carriers. The plan covers unforeseen delays or cases of an animal(s) becoming compromised or unfit during loading, confinement, transport or unloading and establishes steps to be taken to reduce or mitigate animal suffering in the event of these circumstances. A template for contingency plans can be found in Appendix 2 of the CFIA’s interpretive guidance document. Anyone required to have a contingency plan must inform all those involved in transporting of the animals (directly or indirectly) or who take part in the decision-making of the contingency plan.

Those not in compliance with the new regulations as of February 20, 2022, may be subjected to verbal or written notices and monetary or non-monetary penalties. CFIA’s enforcement approach will balance the need to ensure the care and well-being of animals during the entire transportation process, while supporting the different industry sectors in complying with the regulations.

OFA is committed to the continuous improvement in animal care and handling practices and increasing animal welfare. If you are involved in activities related to the loading, transport, or unloading of animals, ensure you are familiar with and follow the federal transport of animal regulations.

For more information, members can view CFIA’s ‘Then and Now’ fact sheet, demonstrating how the regulations have changed since the amendments in 2020.

For more information, contact:

Tyler Brooks
Director of Communications and Stakeholder Relations
Ontario Federation of Agriculture
519-821-8883 ext. 218
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

May be an image of text

September 9 at 7:30.  Visit our events page for links/phone in number

Deadline Sept 1.

Must be in an ag related post secondary program

Resident of Wellington County

Not a previous award recipient

complete application and 500 word essay

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for details.

Stay-at-home exemption letter

Updated: January 14, 2021

In response to the Ontario government’s stay-at-home orders which came into effect at 12:01 a.m. on January 14, 2021, OFA has developed the Stay-at-Home Exemption Letter for members and their employees. The letter clearly outlines that under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, any person (farmer or employee) carrying the letter is considered exempt from the stay-at-home order while conducting essential business activities.

The letter clearly identifies businesses that are permitted to stay open as well as a list of essential activities related to the agriculture and food sector that are exempt.

The purpose of the letter is to allow farmers and employees to travel in order to conduct business.

GUELPH, ON [December 7, 2020] – Ontario’s conservation authorities provide a watershed level planning perspective that transcends municipal borders, one that the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) supports and one that deserves support, not only from the province but also from municipalities.

“Agriculture and conservation authorities have a vested interest in the health and sustainability of our land and our waterways,” said Peggy Brekveld, OFA President. “Ensuring conservation authorities can adequately fulfill their roles and responsibilities is important in enabling farmers and landowners to be able to protect our most vital land and water resources.”

This is about the long-term planning for protecting and preserving our productive land and water resources.

The proposed amendments to Schedule 6 will negatively impact a conservation authority’s role in watershed level planning as well as their role in keeping development out of hazardous areas, such as flood plains, erodible beaches, etc.

That watershed level planning perspective transcends not only municipal boundaries, but also the boundaries of unique features, such as the Oak Ridges Moraine, as well as protected spaces like the Greenbelt Plan area. Development activities occurring outside the Greenbelt will have negative impacts to protected spaces in the Greenbelt Plan area.

OFA strongly supports plans for an agricultural representative to have a voice and seat at the board table of the conservation authorities. We believe those on the board should have a vested interest in the conservation authority area they’re representing.

However, the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs has proposed a new section to Schedule 6 which would require a conservation authority to issue a permit when the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing issues a Minister’s Zoning Order (MZO), which can override a conservation authority’s watershed-based decision. The new section requires the conservation authority to issue the permit even if the application does not meet their criteria for issuing a permit and/or contravenes provincial policies and plans. OFA opposes the government’s abuse of its MZO powers.

As an organization, we understand the importance of conservation authorities to be able to implement stop work orders when things are not going well or as planned. In those situations, prompt action is vital.

OFA also agrees that conservation authorities have a role and responsibility in development related to natural hazards and the conservation and management of lands, the ability to appeal planning decisions is appropriate.

OFA emphasizes that there is only one Ontario landscape, meaning that the full range of land uses found across Ontario; urban, rural, agricultural, natural heritage, cultural heritage and mineral extraction, must share that landscape. Our agricultural areas not only provide us with food, fibre and fuel, but also a broad range of environmental and ecological goods and services that benefit all Ontarians. Ontario’s conservation authorities play a vital role in fulfilling that perspective through their role in watershed level planning.

It is evident that more time and consultation is needed to develop workable solutions for all stakeholders.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is the largest general farm organization in Ontario, representing 38,000 farm families across the province. As a dynamic farmer-led organization based in Guelph, the OFA works to represent and champion the interests of Ontario farmers through government relations, farm policy recommendations, research, lobby efforts, community representation, media relations and more. OFA is the leading advocate for Ontario’s farmers and is Ontario’s voice of the farmer. For more information, visit

For more information, contact:

Peggy Brekveld
Ontario Federation of Agriculture
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Cathy Lennon
General Manager
Ontario Federation of Agriculture
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Wellington Federation of Agriculture

Harriston ON N0G 1Z0 519-323-7294
Thank you to OFA's Proud to Lead and Farm Credit Canada for their financial support towards our website design.