RealAg Politics, Ep 8: Fertilizer sanctions, emission reduction targets, front-of-product labelling, and food security

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Happy Friday and welcome to another edition of RealAg Politics!

Today, co-hosts Shaun Haney and Kelvin Heppner, of RealAgriculture, are joined by a great list of guests to talk about the big ag policy issues of the week that are impacting farmers and ranchers across Canada and the US.

This episode features guests:

  • Karen Proud, of Fertilizer Canada, on fertilizer sanctions, emissions reductions and expanding production.
  • Nate Horner, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry in Alberta on potential new beef labelling by Health Canada
  • Keith Currie, VP of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, just returned from the World Trade Organization Ministerial meetings in Geneva.

SUMMARY:

Karen Proud President and CEO of Fertilizer Canada

  • What is Fertilizer Canada’s position on sanctions on fertilizer coming from Russia and Belarus
    • Supports the government’s efforts in ending the war, however they didn’t/don’t realize the impact they have on the farming community
    • Fertilizer Canada holds the position that the sanctions should be removed
  • Is the government contemplating lifting the sanctions or providing a rebate for the increase in input prices
  • A decision needs to be made in the very near future, time is of the essence as we can already be looking ahead to the 2023 crop
  • Current programs need to be looked at to see if they are viable and evaluate the federal governments regulations within the sector, ie. climate change initiatives
  • Canada should be looking at bolstering investments into our fertilizer sector
  • Does Canada’s investment mean Canadian farmers get an assured supply at an un-inflated price?
  • Fertilizer Canada’s position on the 30 per cent emission reduction
    • Government recently came out with a white paper which outlined more of their thinking on the target and are now conducting consultations
    • Government says the emissions targets is not about reducing fertilizer usage or productivity of farmers
    • Right now, the measurements do not take into consideration the 4Rs, which many say, it should

Nate Horner, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry in Alberta

  • Front of package labelling/warning concerns
    • The Alberta Ministry recent press conference to show support for the sector and essentially say, enough is enough
    • Alberta Ministry has been advocating against this labelling
    • There are some exemptions but the government’s reasonings for these exemptions don’t necessarily line up
    • Cooking the meat can vastly change the saturated fat content, making the labels even more misleading
    • Does the government have an ulterior motive? Ultimately, why is this happening? Something isn’t adding up.
    • How could the changes affect exports?
    • What are the additional costs associated with the labelling changes?
    • Is there an opportunity for Health Canada to turn this around?
      • Individuals and organizations need to have their voices heard with their local MLA’s and MP’s

Keith Currie, VP of the CFA

  • … he did not find his luggage at the Pearson Airport in Toronto
  • Talks at the WTO Ministerial Meeting in Geneva
    • Ministers were simply looking for progress
    • Food security was top of mind given the Russia/Ukraine war
    • Protecting domestic supply while also ensuring sufficient exports
    • Came out with a statement on food security – a genuine desire to get around the tariff barriers and maintain responsible exporting
    • No unanimous decision was agreed upon, progress was made but no substantial agreement
    • Talks on reforming WTO and dispute resolution
    • Meetings are looking to be annual oppose to every two years to continue to work on these issues
    • Spoke with other ag organizations from other countries – what are they saying?
    • Significant move on fisheries at the meeting
    • How do we move forward with green box programs to make them fair across the board
    • CFA’s position on cross-compliance on climate change initiatives

 

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