Just about every farmer and politician in our region was in Elmwood (north of Hanover) over the weekend for a meeting on agriculture.
The 11th Annual Politicians Meeting was held at the Elmwood Community Centre on Saturday.
It was hosted by the Grey County Federation of Agriculture and the Bruce County Federation of Agriculture.
Among those in attendance were Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker, Huron Bruce MP Ben Lobb, Grey County Warden and Deputy Mayor of Hanover Selwyn Hicks, Bruce County Warden and Huron-Kinloss Mayor Mitch Twolan, and Council representatives from each municipality in the two counties.
Also there were members of Grey Sauble and Saugeen Conservation Authorities, and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.
Among the topics discussed at the meeting: tax assessments, farm safety, and the future of farming.
Bruce County Federation of Agriculture President John Rodgers says there has always been a great turnout to these meetings and this year is no different.
He says that is because everybody here cares about farming and agriculture, and there is great interest in this industry.
Rodgers says one of the main concerns he is hearing from farmers is the low interest rates.
He says once these rate go up, it will be difficult for farmers to deal with the debt that will accrue over time.
Rodgers says another issue is being able to attract young people as less than two-thirds of students coming out of high school get into farming and their supportive industries.
He says there is also an aging population that are about to leave the industry.
One topic that was brought up at the meeting that some may not associate with agriculture is mental health.
Rodgers says farming often puts a mental strain on those in the industry and it is becoming a major issue.
Twolan says these types of meeting help guide his and other municipalities when developing policy changes.
He says some people have come up to him with regards to the County's Official Plan.
Twolan says he is very optimistic about the future of farming.
He says farmers can think on their feet and are able to adapt to technology change.