Farming Within the Urban Shadow

I can help you sort through difficulties you may be experiencing with farm neighbours about nuisance complaints. I have an Executive Certificate in Conflict Management and 25 years of experience solving the seven nuisances listed under the Farming and Food Production Protection Act (FFPPA). I’ve given expert witness evidence under oath over 20 times on farm matters and performed 100s of hours of mediation. I’ve appeared as an expert before the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board more than anyone else. I’ve had a lot of experience at clarifying what should be considered Best Management Practices that support Normal Farm Practice.

Maybe your local Municipal staff misunderstands what you do at your farm and doesn’t realize that farming with hundreds of neighbours across the line-fence can be difficult with traffic safety, trespassing, vandalism, encroachment, liability, labour costs, etc. I can help sort through the differences between agricultural uses, agriculture-related uses and on-farm diversified uses as outlined under the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ Publication 851, “Guidelines on Permitted Used in Ontario’s Prime Agricultural Areas.” It’s not wrong, it’s simply the reality— there are fewer neighbours or Municipal staff who understand the complexities of modern farming.

Minimum Distance Separation (MDS)

I can help you with particularly complicated Minimum Distance Separation II (MDS-II) issues. Until 2015, I worked for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) as the Provincial lead on development, application and interpretation of the MDS II formulae for siting livestock facilities away from incompatible uses such as homes. I co-authored OMAFRA Publication 853: The Minimum Distance Separation (MDS) Document which was effective March 1, 2017. I also co-authored the previous MDS version OMAFRA Publication 707: Minimum Distance Separation Formulae Implementation Guidelines. 

Modern Farm Operations are Complicated

I’m good at explaining technical things on the farm to those who are not technically-minded and I know how to talk to Municipal officials about what it is you do. Misunderstandings are most often the root of conflict. I currently work with the greenhouse and nursery industries in Niagara to represent their interests in dealings with the Municipality. The more Municipal staff understand your operations and their importance to the local rural economy and employment, the better.

Certified Auditor for Ontario Viticulture & Winery Sustainability Program

I’ve been a certified auditor for four years for the Ontario Craft Wineries and the Grape Growers of Ontario. I have performed dozens of audits. This program was adapted from other grape and wine regions around the world and was integrated with Ontario’s Environmental Farm Plan to encompass all three pillars of sustainability: Environmentally Sound; Economically Feasible; and Socially Equitable. I will sit down with you at your winery or vineyard and spend plenty of time thoughtfully going through the program’s hundreds of self-scoring questions with you. Audits include; homework ahead of my visit by operators preparing paperwork for me to see at my visit; the visit itself where I verify what operators have indicated what they do; seeing specific things with my own eyes; then my follow up depending on what I heard/saw/verified at my visit. Give me a call and we can set up an audit around your busy schedules. From what I have seen to date, participants learn about things they can improve upon and the experience was “far less painful” than they anticipated!