The future of agriculture in the north has been a big topic at FONOM’s annual conference this year.

Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Jeff Leal says rising food prices are becoming a big factor in why residents are choosing to get produce locally.

Leal says the province is doing what it can to combat food prices but the exchange rate on most imported items is a big issue.

The minister arrived a few days early ahead of the conference to meet with First Nations and municipal leaders to discuss the future of the region.

He says there are many successful agricultural operations in the region, such as the award winning Rheault Distillery in Hearst along with the Fromagerie and Demonstration Farm in Kapuskasing.