August 16, 2021, Ottawa – The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is calling on the federal parties to prioritize agriculture in their election platforms as a means of spurring Canada’s economic recovery, while creating a foundation for economic and environmental benefits for years to come. Farmers and citizens across Canada need a government that is dedicated to unleashing the potential for agriculture not only as an economic engine, but also as an important ally in the fight against climate change.
A main priority of the sector is to increase funding for the Next Policy Framework (NPF), which will determine the bulk of funding for the agriculture sector and take effect in 2023. This additional support would position Government and producers as partners in the response to the impacts of climate change and fully embrace their potential as climate-solutions providers. The ongoing extreme drought conditions across Canada demonstrate the important role Canada’s agricultural policy framework plays in responding to climate change.
“We are pleased to see the Government of Canada announce $500 million in AgriRecovery funding to support farmers and ranchers. As these events increase in regularity, we need to ensure the support available to producers facing truly urgent needs is timely, adequate, and based on clearly defined triggers. This is critical to mitigate any long-term consequences that might arise from producers making decisions when backed into a corner,” said CFA President, Mary Robinson.
“Canadian agriculture has been repeatedly identified by the government and financial institutions as a sector that can achieve incredible growth. Our natural resources are one of Canada’s strongest foundations. Yet consecutive governments have failed to provide any kind of increase in consistent funding to actually achieve this growth, failing to even keep up with inflation. Farming and food production is truly an essential industry, and we need to see actions that support and propel the industry to new heights,” said Robinson.
Part of leveraging agriculture’s environmental benefits is helping relieve the burden farmers face from climate change and working together to capitalize on agriculture’s potential for carbon sequestration and climate change mitigation. This includes establishing carbon tax exemptions for climate change mitigation activities and ensuring access to emission reduction credits to help incentivize on-farm sustainability efforts.
Farmers across Canada also continue to deal with infrastructure deficits in transportation, broadband access, and skills development. These challenges hamper farmers’ ability to fully harness cutting-edge technologies and access new markets.
“A lack of rural connectivity is a prime example of a problem that can no longer be ignored, especially as we usher in a new generation of farmers who rely on the internet for their lifestyle and day-to-day business needs. Basic minimum standards need to be guaranteed that meet the needs of today and the future,” added Robinson.
Apart from these central planks, CFA also recommends:
- Modernizing Canada’s post-secondary infrastructure for agricultural research
- Removing bottlenecks in transportation infrastructure
- Facilitating the smooth and efficient transfer of family farms
- Ensuring the Canada Grain Act Review results in funding comparable to competitor countries
- Supporting regulations addressing on-farm activism that could endanger animals and farm families
CFA will be working diligently during the lead-up to the federal election to ensure that agriculture is a priority in all party platforms.