38/ MAY 2021 THE RIDER

Mark Reusser, Vice Presi- dent, Ontario Federation of Agriculture Trespassing on farm

OFA highlights trespassing on farm property as ongoing issue for Ontario farmers With nearly 20,000

property continues to be an ongoing concern for many of our farmers across the province. As the warm weather arrives, farmers often deal with an increased number of off-road vehicles and rural trail hikers roam- ing the countryside.

kilometres of trails in On- tario attracting thousands of visitors every year, it’s vital that trail users respect the rights of Ontario farmers and their land. What many individuals fail to realize is that our farms are also our homes. They’re where we raise our families, spend our time and make our living. Acts of trespass pose a seri-

ous threat to our families, employees, the integrity of our land and the health of our livestock. The Ontario Federation

of Agriculture (OFA) is re- minding all Ontario farmers to be aware of growing threats and to take precau- tions to prevent or mitigate the consequences of trespass that threaten regular farm activities, our family and

employees’ sense of security and our livestock’s well- being. Recently, OFA re-

ceived a resolution from the Dufferin Federation of Agri- culture, voicing concerns re- garding ongoing issues with drivers and operators of ATVs, dirt bikes, and snow- mobiles trespassing on pri- vate farm property. In many cases, incidents like this have the potential to put our families, employees and livestock at great risk, and can have detrimental effects on our crops, land and liveli- hood.

Anyone entering pri-

vate property without legal authority or permission from the occupier is tres- passing. If they fail to leave upon being asked to do so, they can be found guilty of an offence under the Tres- pass to Property Act. Exam- ples of individuals who have the authority to access farm property without explicit permission include land sur- veyors, utility meter readers, building inspectors, public

Whispering Hearts

is a non-profit organization that relies on public support and donations.

Our mandate is to provide care and

rehabilitation to abused and neglected horses. We assist community members that can no longer care for their horses in an

attempt to prevent innocent animals being subjected to auctions and slaughter.

Visit our website to see how you can help!

Hagersville, ON (905) 768-9951

Ayr, Ontario

Where the Whispers of Many Horses in need are Heard!

health inspectors and con- servation authority staff. If in doubt, ask the person for their identification and au- thority to enter your prop- erty.

OFA has developed a

variety of resources to share helpful tips and considera- tions that farmers and rural landowners can use in deal- ing with trespassing issues. We encourage all farmers to be aware of the resources available to them, and act in a proactive manner to avoid further damage or threat to their land. OFA is encouraging all

farmers to be prepared for unwanted visitors by post- ing ‘No Trespassing’ signs, or any other necessary biosecurity signs to clearly mark private property and biosecurity areas. Ensure that you remove any keys from your tractors and equipment and lock all building doors and vehicles. It is also important to train your family and employees on how to properly respond to unwanted visitors and sit-

uations that would require contacting the police. More than ever, OFA

has been focusing on raising awareness by working with local OPP units to further educate responders on the provisions proclaimed in the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2020 (STPFSA). The Secu- rity from Trespass and Pro- tecting Food Safety Act offers farmers, livestock transporters, and processing facilities new protections, and provides the Ontario ju- dicial system additional tools to address direct threats to the food system associated with trespassing. This past year, OFA

has reached out to multiple police departments to dis- cuss ways to prepare mem- bers to report and address unwanted trespass, and how to support police in commu- nicating and implementing effective approaches to the mandates of the STPFSA. We encourage all members to utilize their resources and engage law enforcement in

any situations of trespassing on farm property. With strong enforcement of STPFSA by police and the support of the courts, we will be able to keep our food supply chain, loved ones, agri-food workers and live- stock safe from harm. To learn more about

the cost and availability of OFA’s ‘No Trespassing’ or biosecurity signs, members can contact their local Mem- ber Service Representative. Find the MSR in your area at OFA will continue to

advocate for the protection of farmland, and the safety and security of their farms, families, employees and livestock. For more information,

contact: Tyler Brooks, Director of Communications and Stake- holder Relations Ontario Federation of Agri- culture 519-821-8883 ext. 218

Barn Swallows, The Shelf That Works

By Linda Marie Glass Ward Although I have been observing birds for many years

I had little more than a passing interest in them until we went on a horseback holiday between Port Rowan and Simcoe in 2016. Besides horse riding in the forests there, My husband John and I visited the headquarters of Birds Canada, where we learned that all six species of Ontario swallows are in decline by 80% or more. They are the cliff, tree, rough winged, bank, barn swallows, and the purple martin. Although I have loved barn swallows for many years

it was not until 2016 that I made a concentrated effort to attract barn swallows to our riding arena and other build- ings. Upon reading that birds do not reuse their nests I mistakenly took down the few old barn swallow nests when the swallows finished nesting that fall. Later, I read that barn and cliff swallows do reuse old

nests, but 2017 was a boon year here (3 pairs in our Bot- tom Barn) because one aggressive male who chased away all other swallows had to build a new nest and lost his ad- vantage. In the spring of 2017 I screwed shelves to the under-

sides of the collar ties of our Front Barn, and I put wooden disks in our riding arena above all the open doors. I left them there for two years. but they also did not attract swal- lows. Then in 2019 I put cleats on the rafters in both loca- tions. I placed them where barn swallows typically nest, four feet in and in the centre of all the large openings. January 2020 I visited Lisa (another horse owner) to

put up shelves, and experimented with little pieces of elec- trical wire. I put similar wires and shelves at another friend’s

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place, in her horse shelter. Barn swallows may build a nest on any little protrusion. Then that same spring I made some very small

shelves, 4x4 inches square or smaller. I visited a friend and put some of the same shelves in her horse shelter. A few farms down from there, I gave another family some shelves, which they promptly installed in their horse shel- ter. Success, the birds used them! With the help of my husband, I installed over 100 in

our riding arena. And later in May of 2020, I put some in our neighbours’ barn which has been vacant for at least a decade. There barn swallows discovered them and used them right away. More success, I finally found a shelf that works! Also, the wires did not work. Maybe if a long wire

was attached along the entire joist it would work. It cer- tainly does at my barn, but when I installed only little pieces swallows did not use them. Putting many on did not work. I wasted good screws. After 5 years of study, I concluded the shelves must

be 10 cm (4”) square or smaller, and must be tucked up under a ceiling, porch roof, or eaves, 14 cm (5 1/2”) down. They should be four feet apart with floor joist or rafter as a physical barrier between them. If the structure has a strapped metal roof, placement should be directly under the strap to insulate the nest from the summer heat. Barn swallows are losing habitat as old barns are torn

down. Ideal alternate structures are open livestock shel- ters. How can you help increase swallow populations? See Facebook; Linda Marie Glass Ward, 519 327-4541.

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