2015 Policy Brief Summaries

NFU-NB/UNF-N-B Submission to Government of New Brunswick Agricultural Land Policy Consultation

The National Farmers Union in New Brunswick (NFU-NB) appreciates the opportunity to add our voice to the Agricultural Land Policy consultations. We view the creation of an Agricultural Land Policy as an opportunity to outline what kind of agricultural and rural landscapes we want to promote in New Brunswick. There are many examples from across the country that we highlight below that may offer some ideas and best practices going forward, including PEI, BC and Saskatchewan. British Colombia implemented the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) in 1973. The ALR has allowed BC to actually increase their total number of farms since it was implemented, while still maintaining an average farm size of 130 acres. Over the same period New Brunswick lost over 33% of its farms, in keeping with the overall trend of a 30% loss of farms across the country. A strong Agricultural Land Policy can work to maintain and revitalize the farming community in Canada. The NFU-NB is pleased to contribute to a policy that will preserve and improve farmland, and promote family farms and vibrant rural communities. Read the full brief Read the Sommaire des recommandations (Summary of Recommendations in French)

NFU Submission concerning The Development of the PEI Water Act

The National Farmers Union (NFU) appreciates this opportunity to add our voice to many others concerning the intent and content of the PEI Water Act. We compliment the PEI Environmental Advisory Council for conducting an open process to receive the input of many groups and individuals. It has been a great relief and a joy to hear Islanders from many diverse sectors expressing what we have promoted since our founding in 1969. These sectors include long-time associates such the environmental movement and social justice organizations, all of us inspired by the teachings of the Mi’kmaq people.

Our key point over the years, which we are hearing from many groups is the central role of the land, water, air, and all inhabitants of this planet. In 2014, many new voices were raised, loud and clear, about the unacceptability of lifting the moratorium on high capacity wells. It is clear once again this year that Islanders are passionate about water. They expect a Water Act which protects water. Read the full brief

NFU Submission to Manitoba Risk Management Review Task Force

The National Farmers Union (NFU) welcomes the opportunity to provide input to the Manitoba Agriculture Risk Management Review Task Force regarding climate-related challenges. Read the full brief

UNF Présentation au Comité sénatorial sur les priorités d’accès au marché international

La présente étude déposée au Sénat vise à examiner les priorités d’accès du marché international pour le secteur agricole et agroalimentaire canadien et à présenter un rapport en ce sens. La politique agricole canadienne n’établit pas de distinction entre les agro-industriels (notamment les vendeurs liés à la production agricole, les transformateurs alimentaires et les détaillants ainsi que les fermes industrielles constituées en société) et les fermes familiales, pourtant les intérêts de ces secteurs divergent souvent. La politique agricole du Canada consiste principalement à augmenter les exportations dans la mesure où cet objectif éclipse d’autres valeurs comme la santé des sols, les moyens de subsistance des agriculteurs, la qualité des aliments, la protection de l’environnement et la qualité de vie en milieu rural. Le Canada a augmenté les échanges des produits agroalimentaires, mais cette augmentation n’a pas aidé les agriculteurs. À mesure que les échanges augmentent, il en va de même des dépenses et de la dette; en outre, le nombre total d’agriculteurs diminue, de façon plus marquée chez les agriculteurs de 35 ans et moins. Le revenu agricole net réalisé (revenu établi après avoir déduit toutes les dépenses) stagne. Lire le mémoire complet

Lire la transcription officielle de la réunion du Comité du Sénat avec témoin de Terry Boehm

NFU brief to Senate study on international market access priorities

The purpose of this Senate study is to examine and report on international market access priorities for the Canadian agricultural and agri-food sector. Canadian agriculture policy fails to distinguish between agribusiness (including input sellers, food processors, and retailers as well as corporate industrial farms) and family farmers, yet the interests of these sectors often diverge. Canada’s agriculture policy focuses on expanding exports to the extent that this goal eclipses other values such as soil health, farmer livelihoods, food quality, environmental protection and quality of rural life. Canada has increased trade in agri-food commodities, but this has not helped farmers. As trade increased, expenses and debt also increased and overall farmer numbers have declined, most dramatically for those farmers under the age of 35. Realized net farm income (income remaining after expenses have been paid) remains stagnant. Read the full brief

Read the official transcript of the Senate Committee meeting with NFU witness Terry Boehm, Chair NFU Seed and Trade Committee

NFU comments on the Canadian Grain Commission Consultation on Canadian Wheat Class Modernization

The Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) invited input on its proposal to change the wheat class system by adding a new lower-protein milling wheat class.

The NFU is satisfied with the current wheat class framework. The proposed addition of a lower-protein milling wheat class would have a negative impact on farmers, consumers, public wheat breeders and Canada’s reputation in export markets. Benefits of the proposed changes would flow primarily to multinational grain companies and seed corporations based in the United States.The problems identified in the CGC consultation document, namely consistency and marketability of Canadian Western Red Spring (CWRS) class wheat in regard to protein content and gluten strength, are not due to the limitations in wheat classes, but can be explained by other factors and solved without changing the current class parameters. Read the full submission

NFU Submission to the Canadian Grain Commission Consultation on Licensing of Feed Mills

The National Farmers Union is generally supportive of the Canadian Grain Commission licensing commercial feed mills, and is opposed to requiring feed mills owned by farmer co-operatives and on-farm feed mills to be licensed. The NFU is opposed to Bill C-48, which amends the Canada Grain Act, and warns of how it would affect farmers if feed mill licensing is adopted. Read the full submission.

Key Points on Bill C-48, An Act to amend the Canada Grain Act

The National Farmers Union urges MPs to vote against Bill C-48 because it would stop the Canadian Grain Commission from carrying out its work in the interests of grain farmers; allow government to end bond security system that now pays farmers if a licensed grain company defaults; create room for political interference with Standards Committee appointments, a critical component of grain grading system; require imported grain to be given best possible Canadian grade; and provide government with increased powers that can be used to enforce plant breeders rights on behalf of seed companies. Read the full briefing note.

The National Farmers Union submitted comments to the Canada Transporation Act Review

The NFU participated in the Canada Transportation Act Review Panel process by generally endorsing the joint submission put forward to the panel by the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission, the Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission, and the Agriculture Producers Association of Saskatchewan, “The Case for Producer Involvement in Grain Transportation.” The NFU submission expands on some of the points raised by that submission. Read the full submission.

NFU in Ontario submits comments on Provincial Neonicotinoid Use Proposal

The National Farmers Union in Ontario (NFU-O) supports the approach taken by the Government of Ontario in its Pollinator Health proposal. We support the move to restrict the use of neonicotinoid treated corn and soybean seed to those acres which can demonstrate the need for treated seed and the commitment to increase the practice of Integrated Pest Management. In January 2015 the NFU-O submitted comments through the Environmental Registry to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs on the discussion paper Pollinator Health – A Proposal for Enhancing Pollinator Health and Reducing the Use of Neonicotinoid Pesticides in Ontario. Read the full submission