Canada’s agriculture ministers and farm leaders discuss strategies to grow ag-food sector
By Top Crop Manager
Agriculture industry leaders met with federal, provincial and territorial agriculture ministers yesterday 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 in a press release.
The current suite of APF programs, under Growing Forward 2, expire on March 31, 2018. 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.
CFA presented the ministers with its A Food Policy for Canada discussion document that describes a range of recommendations to this end.
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.