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Agriculture sector must remain key election priority

Posted on May 18, 2023 by Vauxhall Advance

Alberta farmers represent less than one percent of Alberta’s population yet contribute billions to Alberta’s economy directly, as well as through exports and supplying value-added processors with high-quality feedstock. 

The crop and honey sector needs the next provincial government to focus on several key issues:

IMPROVED MARKET ACCESS 

Work with federal, provincial, and territorial governments to reduce trade barriers, open new markets and attract new customers for Alberta agricultural products. Alberta’s economy would also benefit from continued efforts to attract investment into value-added processing projects. 

BUSINESS RISK MANAGEMENT 

Work with provincial and federal counterparts to ensure that Business Risk Management (BRM) programs remain effective. This requires that program administrators recognize the variability in farmer practices and that BRM programs remain free from environmental cross-compliance measures that further increase red tape. 

COMPETITIVENESS THROUGH INNOVATION 

The viability of the agriculture industry and its ability to compete in the global market is supported by incorporating innovative technologies and educational advancements. Team Alberta Crops calls upon the Alberta government to continue investing in research, extension, as well as ag-related training and education. 

SUSTAINABILITY, CLIMATE CHANGE, AND THE CARBON TAX 

Global demand for food is growing, and limiting our capacity to produce healthy, hearty crops will result in other less sustainable countries filling the demand. The Alberta Government must recognize regional and crop-specific practices and use financial incentives to promote adopting beneficial management practices to reduce our environmental impact further. Additionally, the government needs to reduce land use conflict through land use frameworks and continue to invest in and promote plastic recycling programs. 

FEDERAL ADVOCACY SUPPORT 

Apply pressure to reverse the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) decision to eliminate animal feed treated with Lambda-Cyhalothrin and ensure the PMRA transformation agenda does not undermine the trust and reliability of science-based regulatory reviews. 

REPLACEMENT BEE STOCK 

Alberta beekeepers saw colony losses of 20 to 80 percent and urgently need to rebuild their numbers. The next provincial government must continue to work with the federal government and other provinces for approval to access bee stock from the approved safe zone in northern California. 

Reg Warkentin, Government Relations and Policy Manager, Team Alberta Crops 

Team Alberta Crops represents a collaboration between eight of Alberta’s crop commissions: Alberta Barley, Alberta Beekeepers Commission, Alberta Canola, Alberta Pulse Growers, Alberta-British Columbia Seed Growers, Alberta Sugar Beet Growers, Alberta Wheat Commission and the Potato Growers of Alberta. We are a non-partisan, grassroots partnership representing thousands of Alberta farmers. Sharing these priorities is to ensure agriculture is an integral part of the 2023 Alberta election conversation. 

For more detailed information on each of the election priorities, visit TeamAlbertaCrops.com. 

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