Provincial, territorial and federal governments seek input on new agricultural policy framework

Albertans are invited to have their voices heard through an online survey.

Growing Forward 2, the current inter-governmental policy framework that guides Alberta’s agriculture industry programs, is set to come to an end on March 31, 2018, and the province is looking for input from agricultural producers on how to shape the replacement plan.

Growing Forward 2 has been responsible for the delivery of three national programs: AgriInnovation, AgriCompetitiveness and AgriMarketing. By the time the program expires in March 2018, governments will have delivered over $400 million in strategic funding to the Canadian agriculture sector through the policy framework.

The new policy framework will guide federal, provincial and territorial investment priorities in agriculture, agri-food and other agriculture based sectors over the next five years.

“Negotiating the next agriculture policy framework with the federal government is an important conversation about how we can support our sector, our rural communities, and our producers,” said Oneil Carlier, Alberta’s Minister of Agriculture and Forestry. “It’s important that we hear from producers and other stakeholders so that we can craft an agreement that supports sustainable growth and makes life better for Alberta producers and their communities.”

Input is being sought from industry leaders as well as Albertans from all walks of life, but especially those who have some involvement in agriculture, according to Carlier.

Representatives from the agriculture sector will provide input through a series of roundtable discussions held throughout April, and anyone else who would like to contribute to the discussion is invited to take part in an online survey, which can be found at www.alberta.ca/agricultural-policy-framework-engagement.aspx.

The survey asks respondents to give their input on several priority areas including markets and trade, research and innovation, risk management, and environmental sustainability and climate change. The survey will be open until May 8, 2017.

Tim Smith, an agricultural producer in Coronation and delegate for Alberta Beef Producers, is one of the stakeholders who has been asked to take part in the roundtable discussions.

So far, Smith has been encouraged by the amount of consultation the government is undertaking.

“It’s vital that the government does these consultations with the industry,” Smith said.

Smith is hoping that the different levels of government will be open to hearing about the priorities of organizations like Alberta Beef Producers.

“One of our priorities is to ensure that research and technology transfer and communication is in place so that different research and technology that comes down is disseminated out to the industry,” commented Smith.

Smith is also hoping that the consultations will bring news regarding new revenue sources.

“I’m hoping, being that the provincial government is taking in revenue from the carbon tax, they’ll put that back into the industry in some way,” he said.

Smith encouraged anyone who would like to have their voice heard to take part in the online survey.

“The survey is the only way the accurate and pertinent information is passed forward,” Smith added.

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