The Ontario beef industry is an ally against discrimination based on race, sexual orientation, gender, religion, and ability (visible and invisible), as well as linguistic discrimination. We recognize that we are not always a diverse industry, but we believe in fighting racism and discrimination in all its forms.
Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) joins with those in our community who are calling for an end to systemic racism, as well as discrimination and prejudice based on sexual orientation, gender, religion, and ability (visible and invisible), and linguistic discrimination. BFO is committed to advocating for diversity, equity and inclusion within the beef industry and the broader agri-food sector, and fighting racism and discrimination in all of its forms.
We recognize the beef sector is not always a diverse industry, particularly at the farmer and association level. Further along our supply chain, however, there is a great amount of diversity among the people dedicated to ensuring our product makes it to the tables of consumers. Likewise, our consumers are another integral and incredibly diverse group from all walks of life. We feel it is important to be a voice, build bridges, listen, learn, and support all members of our community.
We recognize and acknowledge this commitment is not a one-time thing – it’s a starting point for what needs to be a continually evolving conversation and effort, and ultimately a culture shift within the industry. These are more than just words on a page, they represent alignment and a commitment to future action at our highest level.
Recognizing the need to develop from within, we are focused on advocacy and education within the organization, its activities, and among the membership. There are a number of ways in which we are committed to development, including but not limited to the following:
- BFO is committed to listening and learning and speaking up against prejudice and discriminatory language, behaviour and actions.
- BFO is committed to increased understanding of how policies and programs related to agriculture affect Indigenous peoples. We commit to working with these groups on contentious issues such as allowing agriculture use on Crown land.
- BFO is committed to advocating for more diversity, equity and inclusion in agriculture.
- BFO is committed to education within our industry, including educating our membership on racism and other prejudice as well as promoting diversity and allyship.
- BFO is committed to ensuring our actions are not just self-serving, including promoting and using BIPOC-owned businesses, as well as developing more diverse and authentic recipes that appeal to and celebrate our diverse communities.
- BFO is committed to working in collaboration with other groups and individuals who are more knowledgeable than us on fighting discrimination.
- BFO is committed to evolving our commitments as we learn.
BFO will also continue to strongly support community organizations like Feed Ontario, AgScape and 4-H that we know provide important service, support, education and programing to diverse communities all across the province.
The BFO board and staff are actively looking at our own organization and current activities to see where we can do better and how we can weave education and advocacy around diversity, equity and inclusion into existing activities and programing. We are also looking at other ideas, initiatives, organizations or activities to support or partner on to put our commitment into action.
As we listen and learn, our commitments and actions will continue to develop over time as we work to evolve the culture within the beef industry and broader agri-food sector to be more welcoming to and supportive of all members of our communities.
This page will be updated and built upon as we learn, evolve, and put our words into action.
To view a PDF of BFO's Statement of Values on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, click HERE.
To view BFO's media statement on diversity, equity and inclusion, click HERE.
We are prioritizing our efforts to turn our words into action. Recognizing we, as an organization and industry, are starting at the beginning of our journey, our first tangible actions have been to chosen in effort to build a solid understanding of diversity, equity and inclusion, and ensure we have a system in place to maintain accountability.
We have committed to a comprehensize training program designed to build a baseline understanding and knowledge of the foundations of diversity, equity and inclusion. All board directors and staff will complete this program this spring, and we have extended an invitation to some of our grassroots leadership to join us for this learning experience. Our hope is we will become better equipped to make informed decisions when it comes to improving diversity, equity and inclusion within BFO, the beef industry and beyond.
The BFO Board has also recently created a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee. The DEI Committee consists of several board directors and staff and is tasked with ensuring BFO is accountable and actively working toward improving diversity, equity and inclusion across the organization and beyond.
This is just the starting point. We will continue to update as we continue to learn and evolve our actions.
Part of the Conversation
In addition to our efforts to create action, BFO has had opportunities to be part of a number of conversations in different forums across the agri-food sector and beyond.
Growing Organic Inclusion Webinar featuring Jesse Wente
This webinar was hosted by the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity and also featured a panel discussion that included BFO Director Jordan Miller.
Rogers TV HEALTH LINK
Health Link host Carol Merton has a conversation with BFO Director Jordan Miller and BFO staff member, Jennifer Kyle, about BFO's commitments, action plan and the importance of the efforts.
The Diversity Imperative Podcast
Hosts Erin and Hannah speak to guests Joe Dickenson, beef producer and director with BFO, and Chantelle Donahue, grain farmer from Saskatchewan and Vice President & Commercial Leader for Global Edible Oil Solutions-North America for Cargill. They discuss the ways BFO and Cargill, two very different organizations, are working to hold themselves accountable when it comes to building diversity, equity and inclusion into their organizations. Erin and Hannah also discuss some learning they did on transactional and transformational leadership.
Real Ag Radio
Host Lyndsey Smith chats with BFO Director Joe Dickenson about BFO's statement of values on diversity, equity and inclusion. Check out the article HERE, or take a listen to the audio interview below.
Other Media Articles
Farmwork to Feed Canada