Future of Pontiac agriculture discussed at public consultation

A woman gives a presentation to approximately 50 people in a large room with beige walls, lots of windows and beamed ceiling.
Around 50 people gathered at the Little Red Wagon Winery in Claredon on November 22 for a public consultation on the future of Pontiac agriculture. Photo by Caleb Nickerson/CHIP 101.9.
Caleb Nickerson - CHIP - PontiacQC | 23-11-2023
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Fifty people gathered to talk about the future of agriculture in the Pontiac region on Wednesday morning at the Little Red Wagon Winery in Clarendon.

The event was the first of several public meetings to update the plan de développement de la zone agricole (PDZA), a document that sets the region's agricultural priorities for the next five years.

Shanna Armstrong, an economic development officer at MRC Pontiac specializing in agriculture, explained that the Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation (MAPAQ) requires each region to create this document to assess the current lay of the land, in order to help focus priorities and streamline development.

At the beginning of the meeting, Armstrong gave a brief demographic overview of Pontiac's ag community.

According to the 2021 census, the 325 farm operators in the region, 240 were men and 85 were women. The vast majority of Pontiac farmers (215) are over 55 years old, with an average age of 57.4. Only 20  were under 30 years of age.

Of the 239 farms in the region, 96 (40%) are in Clarendon, 37 (15%) in Bristol and 27 (11%) in L'Isle-aux-Allumettes. The municipalities of L'Ile-du-Grand Calumet, Litchfield and Mansfield-et-Pontefract each had 20 (8%).

Armstrong explained that over the next year there will be several more meetings as part of the revision process, with the final PDZA set to be presented in early 2025.

The full interview with Armstrong is available below: