LINDSAY: The Ontario government is expanding eligibility for agriculture societies to apply for funding to help offset the financial losses due to the cancellation of fall fairs, exhibitions, and activities during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.
For this year only, nearly $1 million will be made available to all qualifying agricultural and horticultural societies to help ensure operations.
In previous years, organizations could only qualify for provincial funding if they operated fall fairs. Making the announcement, Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said: “We know that the decision to cancel their fairs and events was a difficult but important one in order to do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Minister Hardeman.
“We are providing this funding to help continue operations and relieve some of the burdens they are experiencing.”
“Our horticultural and agricultural societies have educated and entertained us on the importance of agriculture for more than a century,” said Laurie Scott, MPP for Haliburton-Kawartha LakesBrock.
The Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies (OASS) reported that over 175 fall fairs and events have been canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19.
“The Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies (OAAS) is grateful for the Ontario government’s support,” said Vince Brennan, OAAS Manager. “This investment shows the confidence and appreciation that the Ontario government has for our over 200 Ontario Agricultural Societies, their members, and volunteers.”
“Charles Freeman, Vice President of the Ontario Horticultural Association said: “Ontario’s continuing support of the 27,000 plus membership across the province is appreciated by everyone involved with the OHA.”
• The OASS represents over 200 agricultural societies from across the province.
The OHA is a volunteer charitable organization that encourages interest in gardening and related environmental issues representing over 280 horticultural societies from across the province.