A couple of issues ago, The AgriNews editorially insisted that the harvest is too serious a business for slackers to be out cluttering the fields under farmfare because theyíre forced to be, not because they want to be.
Trying to keep supply up with demand is hard enough for producers without coping with a workforce present under government guidelines which benefit them more than the boss, we opined.
We knocked the concept as "farmfare folly" when it appeared that, if it came to pass, it would replace FARMS, the producer operated program which brings migrant workers to Ontario every year to help with the fruit and vegetable harvest.
After all, thatís what got Premier Mike Harris hot to trot in the first place, the "tragedy" of able-bodied Ontarians earning benefits for sitting on their duffs while migrants were doing all the hard work under FARMS.
But now OMAFRA Minister Ernie Hardeman assures us farmfare wouldnít eliminate FARMS but would instead serve as a supplementary program, as another source of labor for farmers in dire need.
And, of course, it would be voluntary with no farmer forced to bring in workers they didnít want under terms they didnít accept.
There are a lot of bugs to iron out, Ernie tells us, but he hopes to have a firm program in place by next harvest time.
Under the crucial condition that FARMS stays in place, we revise our position. As an extra labor pool for farmers to tap into if they choose, farmfare might prove to be very useful.
Who knows? Some of the mainly cityslickers sent out under farmfare might take a shine to the work and prove to be valuable long-term additions to the farm.