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Farm optimism strengthens in November

Dec. 7, 2011 –According to the latest Monthly Agriculture Business Barometer Index from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), agri-business confidence rebounded to early 2011 levels and is ahead of the national average of 63.7. The Index reveals optimism among its agricultural members increased 6.2 points to 64.5 in November 2011 from 58.3 in October 2011.

"For the first time in three years, we are seeing our farm members’ optimism levels above the national average for all sectors," said Virginia Labbie, CFIB’s senior policy analyst for Agri-business. "It is also encouraging to see optimism levels on an upward trend from mid-2009 index levels which hovered around the low-to-mid 40’s."

"While agriculture is certainly not immune to the global economic challenges of recent months, this is positive news," noted Labbie. "We encourage federal and provincial governments to implement policies that help to improve the overall competitiveness of the sector."

Federal, Provincial and Territorial Agriculture Ministers are currently working to finalize Growing Forward 2, a 5-year policy agreement to replace the current agreement, Growing Forward. Growing Forward expires on March 31, 2013 and the next agreement must be ready for implementation on April 1, 2013.

"As we head into the third round of industry consultations in spring 2012, we hope governments are ready to tackle our competitive challenges and develop policies that will remove barriers to growth in the industry," said Labbie.

In a recent CFIB survey on the Future of Agriculture Policy, farmers were asked to prioritize how governments could improve the agriculture sector’s overall competitiveness. The top three priorities for government action included: focusing on regulatory reform and reducing red tape, reducing the total tax burden, and improving market access for Canadian agricultural products.

"It will be important for Agriculture Ministers to ensure their policy decisions for Growing Forward 2 further fuel, not dampen, optimism in the agriculture sector," concluded Labbie.

CFIB’s index is measured on a scale between 0 and 100, an index level above 50 means owners expecting their businesses’ performance to be stronger in the next year outnumber those expecting weaker performance. Further details can be found at:

December 7, 2011  By Canadian Federation of Independent Business


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