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OPINION: Dairy industry can surmount new challenges

Dairy cows much hay at a farm in Quebec. Shubenacadie dairy farmer Gerrit Damsteegt says supply management makes his industry more stable. Ryan Remiorz
Dairy cows munch down on some hay at a Canadian farm. Ryan Remiorz - The Canadian Press

Buying decisions can help sustain and maintain a business, a community and a family

BY AUDREY WOOD

GUEST OPINION

I am a life-long member of the American Quarter Association, and several other equine affiliates. My work experience is deeply weighted in working with horses of many breeds and disciplines, including racing, draft horses, English and Western performance.

From four provinces west, I travelled to the Maritimes to support harness racing, after the Ontario provincial government virtually gutted the race horse industry, with policy cutbacks through the AGC (Alcohol and Gaming Commission). It was apparent where their priorities were.

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While still living in rural Ontario, I tried to rally horsemen/women to advocate and stand up for their interests. I also found that few people outside my industry understood the ramifications of the then-Premier Kathleen Wynne's actions. After all horses, like all facets of agriculture represent a huge economic generator.

So, it is with sincere interest that I read the two letters in the Saturday Oct. 6 issue of The Guardian. The first, from dairy farmer Bloyce Thompson, voiced his concerns about economic compromise from the USMCA agreement. In the second, dairy farmer Inabelle Peardon, puts forward a solution that I would encourage every citizen to embrace.

Individuals do have a choice as to what products they purchase. I am an avid supporter of Buy Canadian, and whenever possible, 'Buy Local.' Your buying decisions can help sustain and maintain a business, a community and more importantly, a family.

Prince Edward Island is a special province, vested in agriculture and one that perpetuates an outstanding harness horse industry. It is vastly different from my former home province, whose virtual scars from government actions run deep.

I believe your dairy industry can surmount these new challenges. Whether large or small operations, know that when people buy products or services, from a local business or industry, they support a dream. This is a small province with a huge heart.

Know that people from other venues can and will stand behind you. It takes an Island -- and you are P.E.I. strong. I believe that.

- Audrey Wood, AQHA (American Quarter Horse Association) senior member, Tri-Star Performance Horses and Heartland Racing LLC, Inverness, N.S.

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