Canada’s agriculture ministers and farm leaders discuss strategies to grow ag-food sector

OTTAWA, July 20, 2017 – Agriculture industry leaders met with federal, provincial and territorial agriculture ministers today during the Canadian Federation of Agriculture’s (CFA) annual Industry-Government FPT Roundtable in St. John’s, Newfoundland, where they explored priorities and strategies to grow the sector. Discussion topics included the next Agriculture Policy Framework (APF), which is set to begin on April 1, 2018, efforts toward creating a National Food Policy, and NAFTA trade negotiations.

Celebrations around Canada’s 150th birthday continue in many communities, and farm leaders proudly highlight that agriculture is positioned to bring greater prosperity to Canadians, both in urban and rural areas. “We’ve got the land, resources, technology and expertise to become world leaders in this industry. And we’ve reiterated to governments that investments in strategically-designed programs will allow our producers to compete for a larger share of export markets. This includes tools needed by sectors that rely on the domestic market such as the supply managed industries,” said CFA President Ron Bonnett.

The current suite of APF programs, under Growing Forward 2, expire on March 31, 2018, and CFA directors were pleased to present their views as the new APF is now in the final stages of federal/provincial/territorial negotiations. CFA and other organizations that are part of the AgGrowth Coalition are advocating for a review of business risk management programs that would make them more effective and responsive to farmer needs. Other APF requests relate to supporting young farmers and new entrants into the industry, and accounting for newly identified priorities that governments will add to the next APF.

“Farm groups are eager to learn how we can work with governments toward the long-term success of our industry, as envisioned in the 2017 Federal Budget and the federal Advisory Council on Economic Growth report (the Barton Report),” added Bonnett. “CFA has been calling for a National Food Policy as a means of mapping out a whole-of-government approach that would integrate and coordinate policies link to food and agriculture.”

CFA presented the ministers with its A Food Policy for Canada discussion document that describes a range of recommendations to this end.

The roundtable was preceded by the CFA summer board meeting, at which members established priorities in a range of areas, including: labour, trade, climate change, transportation, as well as consumer trust.

Board members also heard comments from Scott Vanderwal, Vice-President of the American Farm Bureau Federation, who offered remarks on the importance of maintaining a strong Canada-U.S. trade relationship. He noted that the AFB values their ongoing dialogue with Canadian farmers and that the two organizations share views on issues such as labour requirements and the need for regulatory harmonization.

Canada’s Chief Agricultural Negotiator, Frederic Seppey, provided an overview of government’s initiatives leading up to NAFTA re-negotiations.

Looking ahead, CFA remains committed to working in partnership with all orders of government as they prepare to implement the next agricultural policy framework, proceed through international trade talks, and explore the options for a national food policy.

About CFA

Founded in 1935 to provide Canada’s farmers with a single voice in Ottawa, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture is the country’s largest general farm organization. Its members include provincial general farm organizations, as well as national and inter-provincial commodity organizations. Through its members, CFA represents over 200,000 Canadian farmers and farm families.

Media Contact:

Janice Hall
CFA Director of Communications
Phone: 613-236-3633 ext. 2322