Ernie Hardeman is no longer the minister overseeing Ontario’s Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).
Now serving in the position is longtime MPP Lisa Thompson, who also represents the constituency of Huron-Bruce. Thompson was first elected to the legislature in 2011 and is presently serving her third consecutive term. Thompson, a graduate of the University of Guelph, has longstanding ties to agriculture. She is an alumnus of Class 6 of the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program and the George Morris Executive Leadership Program. Prior to entering into politics, she served as the general manager of the Ontario Dairy Goat Cooperative (ODGC). She has also served as an Ontario 4-H Foundation chair and as vice-chair of Ontario Agri-Food Education Inc. She lives on a farm that has been in her husband’s family for 120 years.
Hardeman was first elected to the legislature in 1995 and has held various minister, associate minister and critic positions. He first served as minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs from 1999 to 2001.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture issued a statement thanking Hardeman for his work on the file, as well as Ford for his support. “We engaged regularly with Minister Hardman over the past few years and wholeheartedly appreciate his passion for agriculture and his desire to see our dynamic industry grow, innovate and move forward,” said Peggy Brekveld, OFA president. “We wish him the best of luck in his future endeavours and appreciated our time working together for the betterment of Ontario agriculture.”
OFA added that it has built a “solid relationship” with Thompson, particularly in her previous and most recent role as Minister of Government and Consumer Services.
“Minister Thompson has a valuable understanding of farm and rural issues and has a direct connection to those communities,” said Brekveld. “We look forward to working alongside her to grow the industry and continue to focus on the priorities and opportunities that will stimulate economic growth for all Ontarians.”
Greg Rockford has also taken on the newly merged role of the minister of northern development, mining, natural resources and Rural Affairs. The new ministry will focus on economic growth, development and sustainability in Northern Ontario.