Ministers discussed the need to make long-term strategic investments in innovation in addition to exploring insurance-based and other options to make sure business risk management (BRM) programs work for farmers. While governments will have provided approximately $6 billion in BRM programming over the past three years, they acknowledge producers’ concerns and remain committed to ensuring that programs are responsive and effective. Today’s fastest and largest AgriRecovery response of $450 million to prairie flooding demonstrates the programs at work.
“This has been a tough season for prairie farmers and today’s announcement shows that we have the tools in place to respond to the needs of Canada’s farm community,” said federal Minister Ritz. “Ministers around this table always work to put farmers first and today we’re delivering much-needed assistance for our hard-working Canadian farm families.”
“This spring has been frustrating for many farmers who haven’t been able to get their crops seeded or had seeded crops flooded out,” said Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Bob Bjornerud. “The record rainfall producers have received makes this truly a disaster situation and I hope the support we are providing will help address the challenges facing farm families.”
Recognizing that current BRM programs are not intended to address long-term farm income declines, industry and governments agree that smart investments will help producers create new market opportunities.
Recent federal and provincial trade missions were also highlighted. This team effort, including Minister Ritz’s latest mission to China, secured a breakthrough agreement allowing staged market access for beef and tallow.
As part of the ongoing work to create market opportunities for producers, Ministers announced a roadmap that would see the creation of pilot projects targeted at expanding inter-provincial trade in meat. This initiative will increase processors’ ability to move product across the country in keeping with Canada’s high domestic standard.
Ministers agreed with an industry panel about the importance of maintaining a strictly science-based regulatory system to spur innovation and drive the agricultural economy, create new markets, and increase profitability for producers. Traceability, food safety, market access and a focus on young and beginning farmers are also key to the successor policy framework to Growing Forward.
The next annual meeting of Federal/Provincial/Territorial Ministers of Agriculture will be held July 7-8, 2011, in St. Andrews, New Brunswick.