FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26, 2014
Ecological Farmers of Ontario (EFAO) would like to express concern over the recently announced closure of the University of Guelph’s satellite Kemptville and d’Alfred college campuses in Eastern Ontario in 2015 and urge officials to preserve d’Alfred’s organic dairy research and teaching capacity.
These closures come at a time when organic is the fastest growing segment of agri-food, accounting for $1 billion in Ontario sales. According to recent figures from the Canadian Organic Trade Organization, Canada is the fourth largest organic market in the world.
Organic production and profitability is extremely dependent on research, education, and knowledge transfer, and Ontario has the only organic research dairy herd to perform this vital function.
To echo the statement by Organic Council of Ontario (OCO) board member Tom Manley, these closures should address this critical issue: “To maintain the organic dairy research and education, the academic transfer from U of Guelph to Collège Boréal and La Cité Collégiale must also include a transfer of the research activities and the dairy quota provided by the Dairy Farmers of Ontario.”
On March 12, 2014, university officials announced the closure of the two colleges to save $7 million in annual costs and more in deferred capital upgrades needed at both sites. Since then, Collège Boréal in Sudbury and La Cité Collégiale in Ottawa, Ontario’s two francophone colleges, have agreed to take over three of Alfred’s educational diplomas, and St. Lawrence College in Cornwall and Ottawa-based Algonquin College are in talks to save Kemptville’s educational programming.
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