The federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Marie-Claude Bibeau, joined MP Mike Bossio in Napanee Monday for a roundtable to hear from farmers from both Hastings County and Lennox and Addington County.
Agriculture is strong in Hastings—Lennox and Addington, and a key driver of rural sustainability, supporting population retention, tourism, and other small businesses. The most recent census data shows that dairy sector strong in both counties of the riding, with farm cash receipts of $20.35 million in Hastings County and $16.34 million in L&A County. From there, beef operations come a close second in Hastings County at $17.22 million, and soybeans second in L&A County with $9.7 million. These funds that are spent locally are economic drivers of our small businesses and rural communities.
The dairy sector in Hastings—Lennox and Addington alone supports over 1,400 full time jobs and contributes over $116 million in economic activity to Canada’s GDP. By ensuring that dairy farmers get a fair price for their healthy and well-regulated product, we are supporting rural middle class jobs and rural community sustainability, since having good jobs in rural areas keeps future generations from moving into the cities.
From providing up to $3.9 billion in support for supply-managed farmers to protect the value of their investments, to introducing a Food Policy for Canada that sets out a coordinated and collaborative approach to addressing food-related issues, Budget 2019 would ensure that the country’s agricultural sector will continue to be the pride of rural Canada that it has always been.
The recent Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPPTPP) trade deal also means Canadian pork exports to Japan are projected to increase by 36.2 per cent and Canadian beef exports by 94.5 per cent, which are new opportunities for local farmers. Exports in the sector are expected to go up by well over a third. The CPTPP forms one of the largest trading blocs in the world, representing 13.5 per cent of global GDP, providing preferential market access for Canadian beef, pork, grains and oilseeds, pulses, maple syrup, processed foods, wines and spirits in the Asia-Pacific region.
“Our government strongly supports farmers and the agricultural industry. In Budget 2019, we introduced a Food Policy for Canada that ensures Canadians have access to healthy, affordable, and locally produced food. We know the important place farmers have in our communities and we have always fought to support them. This means protecting their lands from climate change while opening access to new international and local markets.”
– Mike Bossio, Member of Parliament for Hastings—Lennox and Addington
“I am happy that the government is looking for input from our local producers and that time is being taken to determine where our thoughts are on the issues that matter to us, along with where we think the government should be focusing. This roundtable was a positive experience, and we are encouraged by the government actively responding to our concerns in this industry.”
– Kara Enright, Beef Producer
“It was nice to have Minister Bibeau here in Napanee, and it is encouraging to know that people in Ottawa are listening and interested in what local farmers have to say.”
– Ivan MacKinnon, MacKinnon Brothers Brewery
“As Canadians, it’s nice to know that our government is listening. It’s nice that the Minister took the time to sit down with us. This government is putting a real push on innovation – and that is wonderful. But what I got out of this, however, is that tradition is valued as well. The maintaining and respecting of tradition, which is why people are getting into agriculture, and why family farms continue to thrive, is thanks to that sense of tradition.”
– Jacob Murray, Topsy Farms
“The message that stood out for me was that rural economies all across our country are considered important, and that our government is willing to do something about it. Some of these programs that are rolling out have specific impacts on rural economies. The other positive message that came about is that, between all sectors in agriculture, there is a willingness to invest in these rural communities. To reach past the family farm, to include the entire rural economy, that’s where the sustainability peace comes in. Having a long term vision on agriculture from the federal government goes directly to supporting that.”
– Mike Walhout, Dairy Farmer
“Our Government has an ambitious agenda for the long-term growth of the agriculture sector that focuses on priorities such as trade, innovation, and sustainability – which we further demonstrated through our investments in Budget 2019. Working side-by-side with our farmers, we are making sure they continue to thrive, create good jobs and support vibrant rural communities. Mike Bossio is a strong advocate for these issues, and our roundtable today gave us a chance to listen to the needs of farmers in Eastern Ontario, which we will continue to deliver on.”
– The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food