Today’s $2 million funding announcement by the Ontario government is welcome news to the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA). The new funds extend select skills training programs for one academic year, beginning September 2014, at the University of Guelph’s Kemptville campus.
According to the government announcement, the funding will provide skills training in trades that support the agricultural sector in eastern Ontario, including agricultural equipment technician, heavy duty equipment technician, truck and coach technician, welder, horticultural technician and dairy herdsperson.
“This is the first positive message we’ve had since the announcement was made to close the college less than a month ago,” says Mark Wales, OFA president. “Our industry, together with eastern Ontario communities, is grateful for the program extensions. We are still hopeful a solution can be found to continue offering the associate diploma and degree programs in agriculture at Kemptville College too.”
Students already enrolled in the campus’s associate diploma programs in agriculture, equine care and food science will be able to complete their programs in Kemptville for 2014-15.
OFA believes our industry needs a plan, continued investment and support for agricultural training institutions like Kemptville College. According to recent University of Guelph research, there are two jobs waiting for every diploma graduate in Ontario and three jobs waiting for every degree program graduate. These job opportunities demonstrate the strength of Ontario’s agri-food sector and the promising future it offers the next generation.
Ontario Minister of Training, Colleges, and Universities, Hon. Brad Duguid recently announced a new facilitator position will be appointed to assist in the development of a long-term solution to keep Kemptville College operating. OFA supports the minister and looks forward to working with the provincial facilitator, industry stakeholders and the Kemptville College Renewal Task Force to continue delivering agricultural and skills training courses at the college.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is the largest general farm organization in Ontario. 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, 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.