National Newswatch

Guelph Statement issued by the federal and provincial agriculture ministers sets out work plan for the agrifood sector.


Ottawa—Leaders of a cross-section of national farm groups met the federal and provincial agriculture ministers during their annual meeting in early November and came away generally pleased with the reception they got.

One key conclusion the ministers reached was for them and their officials to work more closely with their environment departments whose decisions have a major impact on farming across the country, a statement from the Canadian Federation of Agriculture noted.

It, Grain Growers of Canada, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, the Canadian Pork Council, the Canola Council of Canada and the Canadian Canola Growers Association made presentations to the ministers on their key themes and priorities.

CFA President Mary Robinson said the Guelph Statement released by the ministers at the end of their meeting outlines their priorities for the future including tackling climate change and environmental protection, innovation, sector growth and sustainability, and enhanced resilience.

Robinson said CFA welcomes the statement’s explicit link between sector’s continued competitiveness and the sustainability of the agrifood sector. Also lauded was support for environmentally Beneficial Management Practices, accelerated technological adoption, and enhanced data collection.

Grain Farmers of Ontario was pleased with the progressive and insightful shared vision of the Guelph Statement. “The priority areas in the new policy framework shared by the FPT align with grain farming and our own priority areas,” said Chair Brendan Byrne. “We look forward to working with all levels of government to ensure the future of grain farming.

“Grain farmers in Ontario are part of the solution when it comes to protecting the environment, with the wide number of practices they have adopted to promote good land stewardship, and their willingness to be early adopters of innovation that will help protect the land.”

“The FPT Ministers commitment to business risk management programs and acknowledgement of the diverse Canadian landscape will be vitally important to maintaining the economic and social benefits that farming brings to our province and our country,” said GFO CEO Crosby Devitt.

“As these programs are evaluated, we urge our governments to ensure that they maintain the purpose of these programs, which are meant to support farmers when faced with risks outside their control. For changes that use the lens of climate change, additional programs or changes need to be resourced properly, especially as more weight is given to innovative practices that increase environmental stewardship and ask the farmers to bear the responsibility of implementation.”

Robinson said the recognition of market development and trade, Business Risk Management, and value-added agriculture also reflects the continued relevance of the priorities identified under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

Meanwhile, new priorities relating to mental health, labour attraction and retention, extension, and support for market diversification and science-based trade rules highlight the proliferation of critical challenges confronting Canadian agriculture.

“Canadian farmers have always been good stewards of the land and have a solid track record of sustainable agriculture, with sound management practices, innovation, and new technologies. Over the past two decades, farmers have doubled the value of production while stabilizing greenhouse gas emissions. In that time, the amount of agricultural emissions per dollar of GDP generated by the sector has dropped by half.”

Click here for more political news headlines