Where are our 3 farm organizations when we need them most?

Orangeville Citizen

The numerous wind farms being built should make apparent to everyone that southern Ontario will be covered with wind turbines from Lake Huron to Lake Erie & Lake Ontario. That is provincial government policy and the Green Energy Act “streamlines” the approval process to the benefit of the wind turbine companies. 

Sadly, all the farm organizations appear to have been bullied into submission and are not looking after farmers’ interests. Simply stated:

  1. Will we have protection of property rights? – for example, the construction liens on the SkyPower project in Prince Edward County at a minimum, complicate selling a property and related mortgages. It may also affect the amount of the lease payments to the farmer another company buys them.
  2. The long term financial return has a “variable” component that is dependent on the price and amount of electricity generated. Most contracts provide no increases or minimal increases over the 20 year term – a case of diminishing returns.
  3. Costs of accidents and decommissioning remain concern; recently a turbine collapsed in Fenner, NY. Equipment failures are not uncommon and the very size of the machines limits corrective action.
  4. Health effects to our families and neighbours is very much a concern and still no proper, epidemiological study has been done.The Japanese government launched a comprehensive 4-year study on what they call “wind turbine syndrome.” Are people less valuable here?

These are very important issues. We need strong leadership demanding protection of the rural Ontario and its residents. Where are our 3 farm organizations when we need them most?  What have they been doing?

The OFA, while dutifully posting a “to do” list for anyone approached by a wind salesman, maintains a chummy relationship with members of the Green Energy Act Alliance whose members include the David Suzuki Foundation, Pembina Institute, and Environmental Defence, Ontario Sustainable Energy Association, who all have a heavy wind industry presence within their ranks. This chummy association taints the mandate of the OFA of promoting sustainability for Ontario Farmers .   The OFA should resign its membership from this alliance immediately.  The NFU and the CFFO can be barely heard. They don’t want to offend anyone. We need a strong voice, and we need it now before the countryside is plastered with these machines.

I have a modest proposal – remember who the person is writing the cheque when registering your farm with an association? You are, and you can write a simple letter to the designated farm organization asking for a refund based on your concerns over “ethical and transparent representation of the agricultural industry”.  No more is necessary. A refund will be sent to you for the total amount, and it will not compromise your standing as a farmer/producer. More importantly, a message will be sent to the farm organizations, that says people are very upset with having badly configured programs shoved down their throats and that the producers want the farm organizations to call for an end to these very wasteful programs that will ultimately cost Ontario taxpayers and farmers billions of dollars.

With this simple action, they may become very attentive to our opinions. Further, this action will catch the attention of our MPP’s. They also, would do well to note the anger and disdain people have for the scam tactics and the secrecy that is needed to sell the leases. All leases have a confidentiality clause. Why are they using bully tactics? What are they hiding?

I would suggest that when the bully pushes, push back – it works every time. And waste no worry on the OFA, they can go and beg from their chums in the Green Energy Alliance I’m sure they’ll cut a cheque.

Harvey Wrightman
Kerwood, ON

17 thoughts on “Where are our 3 farm organizations when we need them most?

  1. The Farm Associations are pretty “active” when it comes time to solicit your dollars aren’t they?

    Of course it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to assume that the Executives in these farm associations may be more interested in promoting Wind Executives and their agenda where OUR money is free flowing instead of doing the mundane day to day work of helping the poor farmers survive!

    It’s all about money folks, not saving valuable farmland for future generations.

    “Kick the bums out!” should be everyone’s “mantra” for 2010!

  2. Seriously, with the way these wind companies are buying people it’s not hard to imagine they went in years ago with their mis-represented sales presentations on how to save the planet, flashed some money, and easily bought the organizations support before they even approached the landowners. One has to wonder….

  3. We withdrew our support from the OFA two years ago precisely for this reason. Farmers who sign up for turbines and their neighbours will ultimately pay the price of this wind folly, and the farm organizations have done a great disservice to their supporters by encouraging this destruction of our agricultural heritage.

  4. OFA is playing the political game. Quick review of their website shows they applauded the Green Energy Act. They are the recipient of numerous numerous grants from every level of government i.e. Nov’09 received $160,000 fed grant for feasibility study on trading carbon credits. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

  5. At a meeting held in Chatham-Kent a couple of years ago, Ted Cowan of the OFA stated to the crowd of growers: “The Third World can feed themselves now…the future of farming in Ontario is in energy production!”.

    Disgusting. Very bad strategy. So let’s stop growing food and depend on the wind companies go give us our allowance every year instead. Just unbelievably bad guidance from the OFA.

  6. These farm groups support primary producers first and exurbanites (who benefit from farmland tax breaks and DON’T rely on the farm as their primary source of income) second.

    Since farmers support wind, solar and biomass, these farm groups support green energy.

    How many of you naysayers are primary producers?

  7. I am a primary producer. I want farm organizations to seriously consider the impact of these large industrial projects and what they do to the health of individuals, the social health of the communities affected, and the economic health of the communities. It has become apparent that there are lots of negative impacts, yet we are supposed to support all this to give the appearance of cordial agreement. My ancestors came to South Western Ontario to escape summary treatment.I will not support those who abuse us.

  8. M Lavoie. Are you suggesting this many people have nothing better to do with their time? Do you really think people want to move out of their homes after many happy years and $’s invested? Your worn out views don’t cut it anymore. Do some research.
    PS There are lawsuits. It’s just that people choose not to let Michael Lavoie in on their personal business.

  9. Please note: All posts containing slanderous remarks will be deleted.

  10. I am also a primary producer who was approached by a wind developer to host a turbine. Despite my requests to have things changed in the contract such as First-rights-of refusal and postponement of mortgages I was laughed at as being naive and ignorant to the larger issue of Ontario’s energy system. When I asked about turbine collapses, I was told that I should be viewing this in the same context as a tree or electrical pole falling. Ya! right! a 67 tonne tree.

    Sorry Michael, IF primary producers support green energy, it’s because it is perceived as strictly an opportunity to make MONEY! and in my opinion it attracts the needy and the greedy. We as farmers are not given the whole story about how it can affect our farms or the ag. industry on the whole. Many like yourself refuse to look at the other side of Industrial wind development which cannot prove that it can lower harmful emissions, reduce the mining and burning of coal, lower or stabilize electricity rates, wean us from foreign oil, nor provide a timely and reliable product needed in a modern society.

    For these reasons, we should not be misguided by the Wind industry into thinking that these turbines will do anything other than provide a superficial feel good gesture, political move for the McGuinty gov’t to appear environmentally conscious and an opportunity for the “Windies” to make a lot of money off the taxpayer’s back. The last time I checked, farmers are taxpayers too!

  11. M.Lavoie, You are “steering wide”,with all those broad assertions. Let me lead you back to the point of my letter.

    All the farm organizations are in a bind on this issue and are sending mixed signals. The OFA, in particular, is a part of the Green Energy Act Alliance. This is a conflict which will taint its advocacy. If one reads the past and present policy statements of the CFFO and NFU, it is easy to be confused. No where do they, or for that matter the OFA, discuss thoroughly and dispationately the negative aspects of wind energy; yet, they claim status as research organs for their clients – that’s us, the ones with the Farm Business #.We pay the dues.

    Further, it appears that they have decided that this program is going to happen anyway, so we may as well get on board with – better than getting left out. Well, I and many others can see the scam scenario in all this, and we do protest, as is our right.

    On this issue, the OFA in particular, has cast with one side. The other 2 are merely trying to stay out of the mess that will result from the gathering storm. If the OFA would renounce its membership in the Green Energy Alliance, it would be a step to regaining its legitimacy on the issue.

  12. I have never been to a farm meeting (OFA, CFFO or NFU) where farmers have been against wind energy. There is no grass roots movement against wind or solar.

    To defer to a few wind opponents would cause a “mess” as these farm groups work on the farmers behalf. It’s an arm of democracy that makes this country great.

    If farmers were against it, well you’d hear about it. Have you ever seen a farm rally at Queens park or Parliament Hill? I doubt you’ll ever see an anti wind rally like that.

    You are right about one thing, Harvey. The program was going to happen anyway but the OFA did the right thing and got on board in time to help steer the Act to work for rural Ontario.

    These stray voltage issues at the Melanchton wind farm were rectified because of the battle that the OFA won in making Hydro One acknowledge that stray voltage is a real issue. An issue that needed addressing to make Ontario farms safe and viable.

  13. M. Lavoie Both Ripley and Melancthon have stray voltage and dirty electricity issues and nothing has been done to rectify them. Either you really don’t know whats going on but feel irresponsible comments might hoodwink some people or you do know whats going on and continue to lie to the public.

    Why don’t you find something worthwhile to keep you busy. You clearly do not have anything to add to this issue.

    PS the farmers can’t cause an upset because they are tied to gag clauses in their contracts. What an open and transparent industry this is. Do some research.

  14. M. Lavoie,
    I reiterate, the farm organizations have not addressed the multitude of issues that wind energy projects present. Instead, they use members’ money to aid the implementation of the provincial strategy- completely bass-ackwards. Get the principles correct, firstly. Find out what the impacts are and address them in a vigorous fashion. They have not done the basic research, and make only feeble cries that it should be done.
    They simply don’t care. Once they have family or friends who become a victim of the industry, the tears will flow.

    Re:” …the program is going to happen anyway.”
    On the OFA “commentary” section,Ja.15, a similar piece of advice is written,”So remember even if you think climate change is silly, the world doesn’t.” – a patronizing statement if ever there were one. As I said before, push the bully back.

  15. Well at least Dr. McMurtry gives OFA credit for asking for a complete wind turbine health study! Please correct me if I am wrong, unforunately I don’t see any recognition of that fact on this site.

  16. “You talk so well, really I feel quite drowsy.It is just like being in church.” -Oscar Wilde.
    A feeble letter from the OFA to the MOE on Sept.11,2009, seeking a moratorium and a health study;but, from the other side of the mouth on Sept.25,2009,comes praise for the Green Energy Act’s standards of 550m and 40 dBA noise levels. What rubbish and drivel – in the FPL Bornish project, there are:
    – 3 rows of turbines, totalling 50 in number
    – 11 houses are over 45dBA
    – 5 over 40dBA
    – 50 over 35dBA
    – some houses are less than 550m
    – the noise map is horrendous
    This was all presented at the recent “open house” in ParkHill. The noise maps – the one thing everyone was interested in – had no reference legend to relate to the “residence numbers” on the maps – not even the roads were named.People were confused – basically tricked. The explanation from the company rep was, “…no room to put on a legend and road names.” This is how rural people are being treated, and where are the “farm organizations” who should be analyzing the ESR’s of these projects and attacking this shoddy treatment of their people. That’s what you get for $200.Not a good-bye or go to hell.
    These are the real issues, that some sniivelly letter to Minister Gerretsen is not going to fix. More people hurt, more victims and we have only a letter. When does this madness end?

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