Agricultural industry leaders met with Federal, Provincial and Territorial (FPT) agriculture ministers on November 8th.

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) was joined by other agricultural stakeholder groups such as the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Canadian Pork Council, Grain Growers of Canada, Canola Council of Canada and the Canadian Canola Growers Association. Each group presented their key themes and priorities to the FPT Ministers. All groups stressed the importance of ecological goods and service programming, collaboration and science in support of environmental targets, triple-bottom-line sustainability and the need for strong risk management programming to support the sector.

During the meeting, the FPT Ministers spoke about the need to strengthen the partnerships between the agricultural departments and industry. They also stressed that due to the extremely close relationship agriculture has with the environment, that further engagement was needed between the environment and agriculture departments of the government.

“We were very happy with the FPT meeting, and we truly felt that the Ministers were engaged and looking to have productive and constructive conversations. We all agreed that a robust and competitive agriculture sector is important, and also that being proactive in addressing climate change will be a key aspect of that,” said CFA President Mary Robinson.

Following their meetings, the FPT Ministers released the Guelph Statement, which emphasizes the importance of tackling climate change and environmental protection, innovation, sector growth and sustainability, and enhanced resilience, amongst a host of other priorities.

In a news release, CFA said it welcomes the statement’s explicit link between sector’s continued competitiveness and the sustainability of the agriculture and agri-food sector. CFA was pleased to see support for environmentally Beneficial Management Practices, accelerated technological adoption, and enhanced data collection highlighted as clear priorities. CFA says the recognition of market development and trade, Business Risk Management, and value-added agriculture also reflects the continued relevance of the priorities identified under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. Meanwhile, new priorities relating to mental health, labour attraction and retention, extension, and support for market diversification and science-based trade rules highlight the proliferation of critical challenges confronting Canadian agriculture.

“We are happy to see Ministers identify and prioritize both the continued and emergent priorities for the sector. While we look forward to engaging with government and members on the concepts highlighted in today’s statements, I am struck by the breadth of priorities this statement quite rightly reflects. The diverse challenges and opportunities confronting our sector demonstrates the importance of increased investment in the Next Agricultural Policy Framework and the need to engage with farmers on how we can address these urgent priorities together,” added Robinson.