N.L. ag department moving to fisheries oversight

Newfoundland and Labrador’s Forestry and Agrifoods Agency, which oversees public policy for the province’s livestock, crops and agrifood sectors, is under new management.

Premier Paul Davis on Thursday appointed provincial Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Vaughn Granter to added responsibility for the Forestry and Agrifoods Agency.

The agency, headquartered in Corner Brook, was set up in 2007 by then-natural resources minister Kathy Dunderdale and has until now been under the Natural Resources department’s oversight.

However, a spokesperson for the premier’s office confirmed Friday by email that the agency’s management will now move under the purview of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

The agency’s role is to develop policy and programs and provide “support functions” to the agriculture, agrifood and forestry industries with an eye on “well-planned, sustainable growth and development and associated economic and employment opportunities.”

Such programs include the federal/provincial AgriInsurance plan, Environmental Farm Planning and the Agriculture and Agrifoods Development Fund, among others.

The agency also oversees livestock veterinary services, lab analyses for animal diagnostics and food safety, food quality, animal disease monitoring, and control of “heritage animals.”

The agency’s offices also handle licensing and permitting relating to protecting livestock from predators; big game distribution, export and transport; destruction of “problem animals;” and timber cutting, exports and sawmilling, as well as grants for groups such as 4-H and the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Agriculture.

Combining agriculture and fisheries under the same minister’s oversight is not new at the provincial level in Canada. Quebec and New Brunswick today operate joint agriculture and fisheries ministries, while in British Columbia, commercial fishery and aquaculture programs are overseen by the ag ministry. — AGCanada.com Network


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