Agriculture remains a key Alberta plank

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Dear Editor,

For more than 100 years, farmers have been growing families, communities and a future for themselves and Alberta in the rich soil and pasture of this province.

Today, agriculture is still one of three pillars of Alberta’s economy of food, fibre and fuel. Agriculture provides jobs to more than 75,000 people in food production and processing, and innovation is leading agriculture into a larger role in both fibre and fuel. And with the world’s population reaching seven billion people this year, agriculture will continue to be a vital part of Alberta’s future prosperity.

As leader of the Progressive Conservative party and government, I would make sure that Alberta agriculture has the market opportunities, trade agreements and support for innovation that our agricultural producers and communities need to achieve their potential in a world that needs food. To achieve this, I will draw on my years promoting Alberta agriculture in Washington, D.C., and across the U.S.

I know about BSE and thick beet juice. I also will use my experience and contacts as the minister for international and intergovernmental relations to expand Alberta’s presence in emerging markets. And my commitments to innovation, education and the environment will serve agriculture. For example, I will work to align industry with post-secondary education, so young Albertans are prepared for leadership in agriculture and other industries, and I will work to ensure that geography is no barrier to education.

Mostly, I will listen and work with producers, processors, communities and local governments and development organizations to make sure the right regulations, policies, programs and supports are in place. I am committed to a full discussion and review of regional land-use planning and Bill 36.

Check out my agriculture policy online at http://garymar.ca.

With your support, I would continue to champion Alberta’s agricultural future as the leader of a reinvigorated Alberta Progressive Conservative party and government that values agriculture and its potential.

Gary Mar,

Progressive Conservative leadership candidate