Less than a week after being re-appointed to lead Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Marie-Claude Bibeau headed to Regina, Sask., to meet with grain, oilseed, and beef producer groups at the 49th annual Canadian Western Agribition.
“Farmers in western Canada have acquired a reputation for excellence around the world. In this year which is ending with an extremely difficult harvest season, I am pleased to come to meet them here in Saskatchewan for my first trip after returning as the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food,” she says in a news release. “I am determined to work tirelessly with Minister (David) Marit and our other provincial partners to help them succeed.”
Those from the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission (SaskWheat), the Saskatchewan Pulse Growers (SPG), and the Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission (SaskCanola), met with Minister Bibeau to discuss numerous top agriculture issues including the impact of the CN rail strike (now resolved) and systemic transportation challenges grain farmers face. There was also a push from all three groups for the need for revamping Business Risk Management programming.
SaskWheat chair Laura Reiter says the meeting with Minister Bibeau was an important one to convey their message to not only the minister, but also to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada officials.
“This has been one of the most difficult harvests in many years, which has had a major impact on the quality of crops, and transportation constraints add to those challenges. We are pleased to see that CN and their union have come to a tentative agreement and that work will resume soon,” Reiter says. “We will continue to pursue improvements in the transportation system, as grain transportation and handling needs to be consistent and affordable for grain farmers to capture marketing opportunities.”
Meanwhile, SPG director Chad Doerksen is calling on the federal government to look further into the fumigation situation in India when it comes to pulses. “These tariffs have caused pulse exports to reach record low prices and have caused pulse farmers across the province significant duress,” Doerksen says.
In the long-term, the pulse industry is working to diversify markets for pulse crops to reduce our reliance on singular export markets, and will do this through developing new-use and new market opportunities for Canadian pulses and pulse ingredients.”
The trade situation with China was brought up by SaskCanola, as the country has yet to lift its ban on Canadian canola.
Lane Stockbrugger, chair of the commodity group, says farmers continue to face numerous challenges due to a number of factors, but trade and weather are at the top of the list.
“This is the time when effective Business Risk Management programs are critical to help carry through the uncertainty. It was a good opportunity to meet with Minister Bibeau and raise the concerns that are on the minds of many Saskatchewan farmers.”
Burning of the brand, renewed funding
To kick off Canada’s largest livestock show, Bibeau participated in the burning of the brand along with Saskatchewan’s Agriculture Minster, David Marit, and the mayor of Regina.
Here’s what the opposite side of the @Agribition Burning of the Brand looks like. Just a couple cameras… #cwa19 pic.twitter.com/z0g3zi4zmC
— Melanie Davidson (@melddavidson) November 25, 2019
While at the grounds it was announced that the governments of Canada and Saskatchewan renewed a funding contribution of $100,000 for the CWA Next Gen Agriculture mentorship program. The money comes from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP), a federal-provincial initiative.
“Saskatchewan has outstanding leaders in the agriculture industry, and their willingness to share their knowledge and expertise is an invaluable resource,” Minister Marit said while at the branding ceremony. “By connecting future leaders with mentors in the industry, we’re helping to build a bright future for Saskatchewan agriculture.”
Applications are now open for the second round of the program, which aims to provide young people with industry skills for the future. To apply, click here.