RealAg Politics, Ep 7: The Ag Policy Framework, soil carbon sequestration, and the results of the Ontario election

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Hosts Shaun Haney and Kelvin Heppner are back for another edition of RealAg Politics, where they discuss the latest in agricultural policy issues.

This week we’re doing things a bit differently — instead of one segment, we’re having three, with three different topics and four guests!

This week’s guests are :

  • Tom Steve of the Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions, on the next Canadian Ag Policy Framework;
  • Deb Conlon of the Grain Farmers of Ontario, on the results of the Ontario election; and
  • Tyler McCann and Callum Morrison of the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute, on a recent report on different approaches to increase soil carbon sequestration.

SUMMARY

Tom Steve, Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions

  • They want to keep the crop insurance program that we have
  • Not all of Canada places the same value on crop insurance
  • There are concerns about higher premiums
  • Push to expand the crop insurance program — that its not keeping up to inflation
  • The pot has not increased
  • At least 15 per cent of all programs must comply with the federal government’s green program. A lot of groups say this is not an achievable objective
  • Working on renegotiating the research clusters
  • A big part of the policy framework is tied to their climate change and greenhouse gas emission reduction targets
  • The mandate letter of the current Minister is very clear that it has to do with environment. These are honourable pursuits, but we have to be competitive in the global market or we’re not going to survive
  • How people feel about AgriStability varies wildly even within the Alberta Wheat and Barley membership
  • The triggering of a payment is still one of the largest issues when it comes to AgriStability

Debra Conlon, Grain Farmers of Ontario

  • Election night was a crazy night. Predictions were that Premier Ford would get a minority government, and he came out with a sweeping majority.
  • Those running the campaign clearly knew what they were doing
  • Ford is not a typical conservative
  • GFO has had great relationships with both sides of the political spectrum, but these results definitely keep the last four years going into the next four years
  • Now that the election is over, the GFO is going to be working on getting the supply-chain in better condition
  • The GFO along with StoneX is looking at a domestic solution for fertilizer supply, sourcing it within Canada

Tyler McCann and Callum Morrison, Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute

  • Cover crops will potentially play a big role in carbon sequestration on the Prairies
  • There are many different regions across the Prairies, which makes this tricky
  • Regional differences are very real, and a huge stumbling block. How do we determine best management practices?
  • We need different approaches across the country, and we haven’t always seen that
  • The living labs initiative is a step in the right direction.
  • We need to better understand what’s going to work adn what’s not going to work, by involving producers across the board
  • A lot of value should be put into research and extension, so we can get proper information
  • We need traditional plot research and on-farm research, too
  • Understanding farmers decisions is just as important as understanding what they are putting in the ground
  • We have to be able to provide and map out ROI
  • There’s concern that Canada is falling behind in these practices
  • Check out the breakdown of their report, here.

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