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Bill will address farm sign issue


June 17, 2008
By Ernie Hardeman

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ontariologoJune 17, 2008, Toronto, Ont. –
Ernie Hardeman, Oxford MPP and PC Critic for Agriculture and Food,
recently introduced a bill that would allow farmers to post directional
signage on provincial highways to advertise their fresh Ontario grown
products.

June 17, 2008, Toronto, Ont. – Ernie Hardeman , Oxford MPP and PC Critic for Agriculture and Food, recently introduced a bill that would allow farmers to post directional signage on provincial highways to advertise their fresh Ontario grown products.

ontariologo“Many farms are located on side roads so farmers and consumers rely on directional signs to help people find out when crops are being harvested and where they are available,” said Hardeman. “This tradition of stopping at a farm or produce stand to buy newly picked Ontario fruits and vegetables is being threatened.”

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The bill would provide an exemption for farmers to allow them to post seasonal directional signage on private agriculturally zoned property as long as the sign is advertising Ontario grown products for sale by the person who grew or produced them.

Current laws prohibit signage within 400 metres of a provincial highway unless it is displaying the name or owner of the premises or a ministerial permit has been granted.

This spring, Chuck Emre, a farmer in Norfolk County, was forced to take down his asparagus sign, even though it was displayed on private property with the permission of the owner. He estimated that without the sign his sales dropped 50 per cent.

“I was very pleased to hear Mr. Hardeman was tabling a Private Members’ Bill addressing the issue of signage to promote agriculture,” said Emre. “I believe this is a positive step to support agriculture, Ontario farmers and the economy as well as making fresh produce more available to all Ontarians.”

“If passed, this bill will allow farmers to stop dealing with red tape and get back to dealing with their crops and all the people who will once again be following the signs to Ontario’s freshest produce,” said Hardeman.