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"Agriculture at a Crossroads"

Agriculture is one of the three main economic sectors in Simcoe County, along with industry and tourism. There are over 14,000 agriculture-related jobs in the country.

In 1998, representitives from the Simcoe County Federation of Agriculture, Simcoe District School Board and Human Resources & Skills Development Canada Compiled information on the economic impact of agriculture in Simcoe County. A Socio-Economic Profile and Agriculture Related Business Survey was produced in July of 1999.

The group subsequently hosted a forum called "Agriculture at a Crossroads in Simcoe County". This forum was held in April 1999, to discuss the future of agriculture and related sectors in Simcoe County.

In February 2000, consultations began with community organizations. Participants identified a number of critical issues and corresponding strategic actions to establish Action Groups. The Ag-Industry Task Force report as finalized and accepted in the fall of 2001.

The goals and strategic actions of the Ag-Industry Task Force report have been incorporated into this plan.

Community Consultations

The Town of Bradford West Gwillumbury, in partnership with the Nottawasaga Futures and Industry Canada, began a community-based consultation process in October 2004. To encourage optimal participation, weekly advertisements were placed in local newspapers. Invitations were sent to individuals and organizations and followed up with telephone calls.

Residents, both experienced, and new to community involement, provided their inputs during two facilitated sessions. Representitives from businesses, community organizations, arts and culture groups, seniors, and youth are some examples of the sectors that particiapted.

During the first session, people were encourgaed to talk about the community's strengths and their visions for the future. As well, they shared their concerns about the issues facing the comunity.

Within weeks, the second session was held. Participants worked together to develop plans to build upon the strengths, meet the challenged, and achieve their visions for the community.

All of this information has been included in the plan.

Business Retention and Expansion Task Force

This program created a forum in which sensitive confidential business information could be adressed effectively.

Members of the Business and Retention Task Force and selected volunteers visited 48 local businesses to conduct a standardized survey. Upon completion of the survey, the Business Resources Coordinator reviewed the data and responded to the immediate concerns. Typically, each participating business was contacted within two weeks.

The survey data was entered into specifically designed software, ensuring the business information remained confidential. A statistical analysis was conducted, and a report prepared for the Business Retention and Expansion Task Force and Municipality.

The survey results were shared with the Task Force and local businesses in February 2005.

Using this Document

The vision, goal and actions contained within this Community Consultation document were based upon three inputs:

  • the Ag-Industry Task Force report;
  • community consultation sessions; and
  • the Business Retention and Expansion survey.

As the community begins to implement specific action items, it may wish to identify the source of input.

This symbol identifies the goals and strategic actions from the Ag-Industry Task Force report.

Similarly, goals and actions identified through the consultations undertaken by the Business Retention and Expansion Task Force are designated by this symbol.

Input from the community consultations is broadest in nature and requires no specific desgination.