President, Canadian Federation of Agriculture
Farmers from all commodities and regions gathered to discuss issues and challenges at the Canadian Federation of Agriculture’s 74th Annual General Meeting. As I take the helm as CFA President, I look forward to re-affirming priorities and build upon existing CFA policies while tackling upcoming challenges. I will work with farm leaders, as well as CFA’s first vice-president, Ron Bonnett, and second vice-president, Garnet Etsell, to work towards solutions and build new partnerships that will strengthen the agriculture industry as a whole.
CFA will continue to actively promote our members’ policy priorities, including business risk management, trade, food safety, environmental and science issues, rural issues, and transportation issues. In the coming months, there are several specific priorities that CFA would like to see addressed.
We will be acting upon the positive budget announcements. The CFA appreciated the inclusion of a $225 million allocation to expand rural broadband expansion over the next three years. The Farm Improvement and Marketing Co-operatives Loans Act (FIMCLA) amendments were also welcomed. The recommitment to the Government’s election promise of $50 million over the next three years to expand slaughterhouse capacity within Canada for beef, pork and other livestock producers was a positive announcement. CFA is eagerly anticipating more details regarding help for the livestock sector.
CFA will also continue to push a balanced trade policy at WTO negotiations and continue to encourage the government to recognize farmers as an important tool in the fight against climate change.
CFA will voice industry concerns to ensure that farmer’s voices are taken into account when dealing with existing challenges. CFA is anxiously awaiting more detailed budget information and details regarding the new Growing Forward framework. CFA would like to see a commitment to adequately support programs being developed under the new ‘Growing Forward’ policy framework.
CFA is also seeking detailed information on AgriFlex’s funding announced in the budget. Concern remains around the specific requirement these funds are used for strictly for non-BRM programming. CFA has always maintained AgriFlex would be used for BRM as well as non-BRM purposes.
CFA’s members are very interested in the proposed excise tax measure. However, the budget made no reference to the promised two cent/litre diesel fuel excise tax reduction in the budget.
Also, given the economic climate, CFA would like assurance that existing credit tools such as FCC and the regular cash advance program will be given adequate funds to meet demand.
CFA has numerous initiatives planned for 2009 and is looking forward to continuing its work on behalf of our members. We encourage the government to continue to work with industry groups who represent commodities and farmers from across Canada and can act as solution providers.