As the world population is growing, so is the demand for food. Long gone are the pioneer days when a farmer grew food to feed his family and sold any surplus eggs, milk, cream, vegetables or other farm products to local markets. Today, huge industrial farms consisting of thousands of acres of cropland, hundreds of cattle, thousands of chickens or hundreds of milk cows produce food that is shipped to markets around the world. Research and development continues to drive how food is produced while maintaining a focus on issues such as the safety of food, the impact on the environment with increased use of chemicals, pesticides and fertilizers and the impact that the high density operations will have on the water supply and on the environment.
Since being raised on the family farm north of Lacombe, Member of Parliament for Wetaskiwin, Blaine Calkins, has always maintained a respectful understanding about the importance of rural Alberta and the agri-food industry. He shares some of his current thoughts about why the Federal Government is investing millions of dollars in agriculture.
Calkiins reviews government commitment to agriculture
“Canada’s producers and farmers are known throughout the world for the safe, high quality foods they produce. Our Conservative Government recognizes that our farmers are innovative and want to meet the demands of consumers. Since taking office, we have made it a priority to invest in Canada’s food producers.
We delivered on our promise and gave Western Canadian grain farmers the same marketing freedom that other farmers enjoyed by ending the monopoly of the Canadian Wheat Board. We have invested in many Agriculture Risk Management programs like AgriStability and AgriInsurance, which have paid out billions in response to massive production loss from disasters like flooding and drought.
We have expanded trade markets through many free trade agreements with countries such as Japan, the European Union, and for the first time in over a decade Canadian beef will be sold in China. Our government is ensuring that Canadian farming products will be consumed in more countries than ever before, and will continue to strike trade agreements with countries that want to buy Canadian products.
Government is investing millions of dollars in agriculture.
Farmers are always developing new ways to improve their efficiency and improve their products. That is why we invested over $500 million into the Agricultural Flexibility Fund to proactively drive innovation, tap market opportunities, and bring new products to market. Over the next five years our Government will also be investing $3 billion to help increase modernization and competitiveness in agricultural industries. With the rapid expansion of technology, we are working to ensure that Canadians farmers have every advantage possible to maintain Canada’s strong agricultural reputation.
Our Government is also working to further improve the strength of food safety, with more inspectors, better funding and stronger tools and penalties. In response to the years of neglect of Canada’s food safety system by Liberal governments, our Conservative Government hired more than 700 additional food inspectors and increased the budget of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA); the opposition voted against both of these measures. Most recently we passed the Safe Food for Canadians Act, increasing penalties for companies that risk the health of Canadians and enhancing the inspection capabilities of the CFIA.
We are also investing in the next generation of Canadian Farmers. Through the Growing Forward Business Development Program and Young Farmer Loan programs, our government is helping the next generation of farmers get started on their road to success.
Our Government continues to focus on helping our economy create jobs and growth. We recognize that the agriculture industry is the back bone of our economy. We know that investing in Canadian food producers will help grow our economy and keep us on the right track toward long-term prosperity. Our Conservative Government will continue to listen to farmers; work with farmers; and deliver for farm families by investing in programs that will help bring long-term sustainability and prosperity to the agricultural industry.”