Bouctouche, N.B. Farmers from the three Maritime provinces gathered at the Duneview Inn/L’Auberge Vue de la Dune in Bouctouche, NB, on Tuesday, August 7, for the National Farmers Union (NFU) Region 1 Convention. This year’s theme was “Diversifying the Farm: Value-adding in the Local Marketplace” and discussions throughout the day focused on the various opportunities for fostering a sustainable Maritime farm-base in an ever-changing marketplace.
NFU Regional Coordinator, Randall Affleck, from Bedeque, PE, spoke about the devastating effect of drought conditions in parts of Ontario and elsewhere this summer. Affleck said other issues being addressed by the NFU nationally include the troubling trend of increasing foreign ownership of farm land, referred to as land grabbing. He said this leads to more farmers working as tenants, while farm debt continues to rise. Quoting Statistics Canada, he noted the troubling increase in national farm debt, up from $65.4 billion in 2010 to $69.6 billion in 2011.
Affleck also stressed the importance of the Canadian supply management system in stabilizing consumer prices and providing fair returns to producers. The NFU continues to work with other organizations to lobby government to protect this unique marketing system. Affleck warned that international trade deals, like the proposed Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union, no longer address food security and local economic development, and that, if signed, CETA could negatively affect Canadian farmers’ ability to compete with cheaper imports in the domestic marketplace. Trade agreements lead to a loss of policy tools, Affleck stated, resulting in less market power for farmers.
Winners of the 2012 NFU in NB David Frost Memorial Scholarships and the new $1000 NFU in NB scholarship were announced by committee member, Harold Culberson. Winner of the $1000 Frost Scholarship to a student studying agriculture in a degree program is Zachary Coates of Scoudouc. Denis Levesque of St. Andre is the winner of the $500 Frost Scholarship to a diploma of agriculture student. Allison Dykstra of Knowlesville is the first winner of the new $1000 NFU in NB Scholarship, established to assist children of NFU member families who choose to pursue an agriculture related career.
The NFU is a general farm organization representing agricultural producers from all commodities, working with farm families in New Brunswick for over 40 years.
Barb Somerville, Juniper 1-888-246-5583
Melanie Jellett, Murray Corner (506) 538-1189
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