Business & Policy
Ag ministers and farm leaders focus on the future
By Top Crop Manager
Industry leaders met with federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) agriculture ministers to discuss Canada’s next agriculture policy framework, creating a national food policy and North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations during the Canadian Federation of Agriculture's annual industry-government FPT roundtable in St. John’s on July 19.
The current suite of agriculture policy framework (APF) programs offered under Growing Forward 2 will expire on March 31, 2018, and CFA directors took the opportunity to present their views as the replacement framework enters the final stages of FPT negotiations. CFA and other organizations in 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 framework.
“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,” said CFA president Ron 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 [linked[ to food and agriculture.”
CFA also 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 and consumer trust.
Board members also heard comments from Scott Vanderwal, vice-president of the American Farm Bureau (AFB) Federation, who offered remarks on the importance of maintaining a strong Canada-U.S. trade relationship. He noted that the AFB values its 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, was also on hand to provide an overview of the federal government’s initiatives leading up to NAFTA re-negotiations, which are scheduled to kick off in Washington on Aug. 16.