From missing the mark, to protecting the herd: producer groups weigh in on federal budget commitments


Within hours of Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, introducing the 2023-24 federal budget, comments in support of or criticism against the government’s proposed budget began to roll in.

Livestock groups, including the Canadian Cattle Association and Dairy Farmers of Canada, are welcoming the government’s commitment to establishing a Foot-and-Mouth (FMD) disease vaccine bank.

With an initial outlay of $57.5 million over five years to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the vaccine Bank will ensure early vaccination of Canadian livestock, reduce the threat of border closures, and, in turn, protect the livelihoods of livestock farmers in the event of an outbreak.

CCA was also pleased to see a commitment towards the recovery of species at risk, with $184 million over three years being allocated towards strengthening the Species At Risk Act. “We will be engaging with the Government of Canada to ensure beef producers are at the table as key stewards of lands where species at risk live,” says CCA.

Also in the win column, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) and western groups say there’s some positive language regarding some upcoming news on railway interswitching, as well as discussion of establishing a Transportation Supply Chain Office.

There is also mention of opening the door for more on right to repair, natural disaster protection, biofuels, and intergenerational transfers, says CFA.

But where the federal government has “missed the mark,” according to several producer groups is on the so-called “return” of tariff funds paid on Russian-sourced fertilizer in 2022. The federal government opted to take that $34.1 million and add it, over three years, to the On-Farm Climate Action Fund.

Eastern Canadian farmers represented by the Atlantic Grains Council, Grain Farmers of Ontario, Quebec Grain Farmers, Ontario Bean Growers, and Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario say the federal budget represents a “huge disappointment” for farmers who incurred the costs of an ineffective and ill-advised tariff.

“Despite warnings from the United Nations, Canada was the only G7 country to ask its farmers to pay a tariff on imported fertilizer. Farmers have been raising the issue with parliamentarians and the public about these unfair tariffs since the tariff was imposed in March 2022. While the budget mentions the impact of the invasion in Ukraine on farmers, it does not provide a mechanism to get money back directly to farmers who paid the tariff…We will continue to advocate for the tariffs paid by farmers to be returned to farmers,” the groups say in a press release.


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