The National Farmers Union (NFU) has shared its priorities for the next federal-provincial-territorial agriculture policy framework in a letter sent to Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial Agriculture Ministers ahead of their July annual conference. Setting priorities for the Next Policy Framework (NPF), the successor to the five-year Canadian Agricultural Partnership, is the focus of this meeting, to be held virtually on July 15.
The NFU urges ministers to wisely and fairly address food system weaknesses made visible by the pandemic, reverse biodiversity loss in our agricultural landscapes, drastically reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and help farmers adapt to the climate crisis, rebuild rural prosperity by addressing inequality in the allocation of farm revenues and net income, and address the alarming loss of farmers by making farming both possible and attractive for the next generation.
“The NPF is a key agriculture policy tool,” said Katie Ward, NFU President. “This five year, $3 billion investment, along with the Business Risk Management (BRM) programs, allows governments to shape our food and farming system. Canada is facing multiple crises that affect agriculture, and good programs will make a positive difference.”
“We asked the Ministers to consider which priorities will provide the best outcomes for our food system, our farmers and the Canadian public, and to use indicators and set targets for success that will help agriculture serve the common good,” Ward added. “While governments have primarily measured success by export growth, we recommend that the NPF use other indicators to reflect the range of problems that need to be addressed.”
The NFU’s priorities for the NPF include increasing infrastructure capacity for local, regional and domestic processing, storage, transportation and distribution; promoting farmer-led innovation and knowledge-sharing; upholding supply management, including support for alternative production and processing opportunities; helping farmers mitigate and adapt to climate change risks by setting targets for GHG emission reduction, funding new agri-environmental programs, and establishing a Canadian Farm Resilience Administration; building public trust in the food system by regulating for, and promoting ecologically friendly farm practices that a growing proportion of consumers demand; ensuring BRM Programs are accessible, relevant and equitable useful for farms of different sizes and production systems, and supporting land access for new and young farmers and marginalized groups.
“We encourage our agriculture ministers to use the lenses of the common good, sustainability, and resilience when assessing each element of the Next Policy Framework,” concluded Ward. “We look forward to a positive direction that will help farmers and Canada as whole.”
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For more information:
Katie Ward, NFU President: (613) 797-0601
Read the NFU letter to Agriculture Ministers