Canada’s New Government Is Working Hard For Farmers
Just look at a few of the major achievements made for farmers:
1. BUSINESS RISK MANAGEMENT
• In March the Prime Minister announced $1 Billion for farmers.
-$400 million will go directly into farmers pockets to help cover high production costs. An additional $100 million will be available annually to address cost of production issues when they occur. The details around the $400 million were announced in May and the money will begin flowing in late June.
-$600 million will go to kick start a new producer savings account program. This money is federal only. The details for the program are being finalized and hopefully will be agreed to at the Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) at the end of June.
• A total of $4.5 Billion has been committed to Agriculture in the 2006 and 2007 Budgets.
• Improved Cash Advances – Legislative changes were made to the Agricultural Marketing Programs Act (AMPA), which expanded coverage to include livestock and additional crops. The overall limit on advances have been increased from $250,000 to $400,000; and increased the amount of interest-free portion of the advances from $50,000 to $100,000.
2. BIOFUELS AND THE BIO INDUSTRY
• In Budget 2007 $2 billion was invested into the support and expansion of the Canadian renewable fuel Industry. This funding will help create a sustainable biofuel sector that will deliver a new demand for Canadian agricultural products.
• An additional $10 million was announced for the Biofuel Opportunities for Producers Initiative (BOPI) program in March, as a result of strong producer uptake and demand. BOPI provides financial aid to assist in development of sound business proposals, as well as to undertake other studies to support the creation and expansion of biofuel production capacity.
• Some projects that have been funded through the BOPI program to date are:
- $294,500 in Atlantic Canada, which will be used for a pilot project that will see a local refinery produce environmentally friendly bio-diesel, fuel conditioners, and lubricants from canola, mustard and soybeans.
- § $117,000 invested in North Battleford for the study of biofuel in Saskatchewan. BOPI is assisting Western Biofuels inc. in developing a biodiesel facility in the Battlefords community, which is the prime location in the heart of canola country.
- $1 million invested in 5 biofuel projects located in Southern Alberta.
- $718,000 invested in 6 Ontario organizations to expand the biofuels industry.
- $975,000 invested into 4 research projects in rural Alberta to conduct a series of studies pertaining to business plans and economic impacts surrounding the biofuel industry.
• $200 million ecoAgriculture Biofuels Capital Initiative (ecoABC). This is a four-year program designed to encourage agricultural producers’ participation in the renewable fuels industry. The program will provide repayable capital funding arrangements to renewable fuels projects based on agricultural producers’ contributions to the biofuels facilities.
• $110,174 invested to develop innovative ways to power Ontario’s greenhouse operations. The funding, under the Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food Program, was presented to AMCO Farms Inc. of Leamington to assist with its plan to demonstrate clean combustion of biomass residues and blends in a small-scale system for the greenhouse industry. The project has the potential to be applicable to other agricultural sectors.
• $145 million for the Agricultural Bioproducts Innovation Program (ABIP). This is a five-year program designed to promote research, development, technology transfer and the commercialization of agricultural bioproducts, including biofuels, in Canada. The program will benefit farmers by generating new agricultural knowledge and technology.
• Nearly $150,000 was granted to the University of Saskatchewan to assist the development of their sustainable feeding program from the byproducts of biofuel. This research program will discover economic and efficient uses for the byproducts of biofuel.
3. SCIENCE AND INNOVATION
• A new Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Science and Innovation Strategy that was released to invoke partnerships between government and private sector which will maximize research opportunities.
• Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Potato Research Centre (PRC) in Prince Edward Island is celebrating its 10 year anniversary by introducing 9 new varieties of potatoes.
• $4 million for flax research that will be directed toward the discovery of flax products pertaining to human and animal health.
• $3.4 million in research and innovation funding for AAFC’s Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa will allow the research and breeding grains that is needed to make agriculture a more viable industry.
• $136,000 will go towards addressing the unexplained losses in the bee population and to support the long term sustainability of the bee industry.
• $228,000 for environmental farm practices, led by Fédération de l’UPA de Saint- Hyacinthe, will help develop solutions to prevent soil erosion in Quebec and New Brunswick.
• $886,512 for 9 research projects in Guelph that include: identifying linkages between dietary fibre and human health, developing strategies to reduce salmonella in pork and poultry, as well as starch research for nutritional and industrial applications.
• Through a five year partnership with the Province of Ontario, $15.5 million is granted to the Vineland Research Centre in Southern Ontario to help revitalize the horticulture research activities at Vineland.
• A new Fast Growing Hybrid Poplar was released from the federal experimental farm in Indian Head Saskatchewan. It is named after the Okanese first nation’s band and will be available next year through the PFRA’s shelter belt centre in Indian Head.
• $1.9 million for 28 research projects in Atlantic Canada that will work primarily in the area of health, environment, and bioeconomy.
4. CANADIAN FOOD INSPECTION AGENCY
• In May, 2007 Canada earned “Controlled Risk” status, which is the second highest level awarded from the World Organization of Animal Health (OIE). Since the announcement, countries have expressed their intention to re-open their borders to Canadian beef.
• The AAFC has worked to expand the Canadian beef industry. New markets such as Russia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Egypt and other nations are now importing Canadian beef. Along with exporting cattle for food, Canada is now beginning to export breeding stock to various nations.
• “Hold and Test” measures put in place at borders to ensure the safety of imported food products.
• CFIA veterinarians are posted in Canadian embassies to minimize impacts of disease outbreak on the Canadian industry.
• A new program to aid nurseries affected by Sudden Oak Death (SOD).
• New control measures are taken against the Brown Spruce Longhorn Beetle (BSLB) including a restriction area that allows movement of specified commodities.
• New grading system for Bison heifers that will deliver a higher grade for carcasses, this initiative will increase retail value in both local and export markets.
• Border was opened for import of sheep and goats allowing Canadian farmers to develop better genetics in their herds.
• New Bluetongue and anaplasmosis Policy, based on scientific risk analysis was revised to eliminate current bluetongue-related control measures for cattle, sheep and other imports from United States.
• The Minister has had trade meetings with the United States Secretary, California’s Agriculture Minister, Argentina’s Agriculture Minister, India’s Agriculture Minister as well as the Agriculture Minister from Chile.
• Continued push for an aggressive outcome at the WTO that will eliminate export subsidies, reduce trade distortion, and increase market access.
• Together with the Minister of Trade, formally requested a WTO dispute settlement panel on the issue of U.S. subsidies. There are two objectives in requesting the panel. The first objective is to address the total level of U.S. trade-distorting agricultural subsidies (often called “Amber Box” subsidies). The second objective to address export credit guarantees to certain agricultural products (such as corn and soybeans).
• $440,000 for strengthening the Canadian Honey Council and Honey Farmers for communication plans, launching awareness projects, as well as marketing strategies.
• $225,250 to support the international market development efforts of the Canadian Vintners Association (CVA). Funded through the Canadian Agriculture and Food International (CAFI) Program, the CVA will build on the “Wines of Canada” brand, enhance international awareness of Canada’s quality wines, and improve market access, development and promotion. The CVA will also explore new marketing opportunities through in-store tasting in new and existing markets, buyer education, as well as improving success in the “duty free” market.
• $544,663 for expanding markets for the Canadian Maple Syrup Industry. Funded through the CAFI program, the Fédération des producteurs acéricoles du Québec aims to create new opportunities in key markets by raising consumer awareness of the benefits of this natural, safe and innovative product. Education and awareness initiatives will promote the use of maple products in everyday cooking and elite cuisine, as well as development activities for importers and distributors.
6. CANADIAN GRAIN COMMISSION
• Formal response to the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food’s Review of the Canadian Grain Act and the Canadian Grain Commission conducted by COMPAS Inc.
• In agreement with a recommendation by SCAAF, the Government and CGC are working towards the elimination of KVD by 2010. The elimination of KVD will enable increased innovation in the development of new wheat varieties for both traditional and new end-uses, including livestock feed and biofuels.
7. CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD
• Announced plebiscite results, with 62% of producers voting for increased marketing choice for barley.
• The Federal Government took the necessary steps to remove barley from the monopoly of the CWB.
• On April 21st, the Government published draft regulations to amend the monopoly powers of the CWB in the Canada Gazette. The public had 30 days to comment on the draft regulations.
• On June 11th, the Government announced that after a careful review of public comments on the draft regulations, the regulations had been made final and will be published in Canada Gazette II on June 27th, 2007. As a result, barley will be removed from under the CWB as of August 1st, 2007.
8. SUPPLY MANAGEMENT
• Minister Emerson and Minister Strahl continue to support supply management at the WTO.
• In April, the Government formally submitted to the WTO its intention to invoke an Article 28, to restrict imports of milk protein concentrates.
• On June 16th, the Government published draft regulations for cheese compositional standards in the Canada Gazette.
• $9.6 million to assist Alberta’s farm water supply in ensure long term solutions for drought.
• $16.5 million was committed by the Federal Government to B.C. to help defend the Fraser River from flooding. This region is facing rising water levels from record snowfall in the mountains, along with countless spring showers.
• $39.4 million commitment to fund the Canada-Manitoba Water Supply Expansion Program (CMWSEP) that will help Manitoba agricultural producers, along with the surrounding communities, develop sustainable water management.
• $10 million funding for Federal Community Pastures throughout Canada to increase water sustainability, increase wildlife habitat, pasture health and infrastructure.
For more information please visit http://www.agr.gc.ca.