Sean McGivern and Michael Schmidt are forming new “Practical Farmers” group to meet March 31st, and seek adjustment of supply management

From Jim Algie, in the Owen Sound Sun Times:

“It’s worth noticing that Grey County farm policy reformer Sean McGivern prefers to talk these days about a “readjustment” in agricultural supply management.

Considering the direction from which he has come, the Desboro-based founder of a proposed new general farm organization could be talking instead about scrapping the controversial Canadian system for controlling farm production of some commodities.

An energetic, entrepreneurial, organic farmer who has run up against the system’s production limitations personally, McGivern might have joined the chorus of high profile non-farm commentators seeking to dismantle supply management.

Philosophical opponents of the supply management system have sensed a political opening with the election last spring of Stephen Harper’s majority Conservative government. That no member of Harper’s government has joined the supply-management bashing binge is beside the point.

A discussion has begun and McGivern has joined it cautiously at a time when he might have found support for more radical proposals.

Even so, his recent departure from an active role in the National Farmers Union’s Ontario wing to establish a new group, Practical Farmers of Ontario (PFO), involves a challenge to the status quo and a few key platforms in addition to his call for limited supply management reform to make room for new participants.

Indeed, the other issues may turn out to have provided the prime motivation for PFO’s organizational drive this winter. Prominent among supporters of the new group is another high-profile Grey County organic farmer — raw milk advocate Michael Schmidt, whose challenges to food safety regulations are well known…”

Read it all in the Owen Sound Sun Times.

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