Farm leaders bring recommendations to Canada’s agriculture ministers

Industry-government roundtable explores options for future ag programs

OTTAWA, July 25, 2016 – Farm leaders met to discuss their policy and program recommendations with federal, provincial and territorial agriculture ministers during the Canadian Federation of Agriculture’s (CFA) annual industry-government roundtable in Calgary last Wednesday.

“CFA presented opportunities and solutions based on feedback from farmers across Canada, and we felt our ideas and considerations helped set the stage as the country’s ag ministers gathered to negotiate a framework on the next generation of programs,” said CFA President Ron Bonnett. The current suite of programs, created under Growing Forward 2, will expire in 2018.

The roundtable followed the CFA summer board meeting, at which members established priorities in a range of areas, including: risk management, labour, trade, research, climate change, transportation, as well as public awareness and trust.

“Agriculture is a unique sector for Canada; we are one of only a handful of countries that can produce more food than we consume. We’ve asked governments to invest strategically so that our producers can stay competitive on the global stage. This approach includes tools to be successful in domestic markets, such as supply management,” said Bonnett.

Strengthening Canada’s position as a leading exporter requires action from several governmental departments. In particular, CFA calls on the Government of Canada to consider agriculture when looking at policy changes linked to trade and transportation. Grain transportation, for example, is a critical concern for farmers servicing customers overseas.

“Rail transportation is top of mind for our western grain growers, since they anticipate a bumper crop this fall and cannot risk a repeat of the shipping backlog experienced in 2013-14,” said Bonnett.

Another priority is support to young farmers and new entrants to the industry. Farm groups seek changes that address both transitional funding for intergenerational farm transfers and seed capital requirements for new operations.

CFA is committed to working in partnership with all levels of government as they continue toward designing the next agricultural policy framework.