Confirmed for another three years as the accepted general purpose agricultural lobby group representing French-speaking farmers, l’Union des cultivaterurs franco-ontariens is planning its 89th annual conference in Alfred, March 22-23.
The confirmation allows UCFO to continue receiving funding as part of the Farm Business Registration program that supports the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario, and National Farmers Union. Under FBR, farm operations earning more than $7,000 annually are required to check off which of the organizations they choose to help finance; UCFO gets 1.5 per cent of the allocations.
So while the French-language group based at Clarence Creek isn’t exactly formally recognized, it’s accepted and backed by the province along with English-language organizations. UCFO general manager Simon Durand calls the three-year reaffirmation a clear indication that his group is fulfilling its mandate “despite our limited resources.”
To be held on what became a Cité Collégiale campus after it was abandoned by the University of Guelph, the UCFO meeting in Alfred will cover a wide range of topics and activities, including annual presentation of the coveted Pierre Bercier Award for Agricultural Excellence, this year to Denis and Lyse Perrault of Navan, noted dairy farmers and winery operators.
Election will be held of a new president to replace Marc Laflèche who said he was gratified over the past eight years to see UCFO’s influence grow. Keynote speaker will be Jean-Philippe Gervais, chief agricultural economist with Farm Credit Canada, and a Statistics Canada report will examine the status of francophone agricultural workers in Ontario; several other speakers will also be on hand.
The annual banquet to be held at the nearby Plantagenet community centre will be the icing on the cake of what’s expected to be another successful conference by an organization that consistently delivers the goods in the maternal language of many Ontario farmers.