Re­ac­tion to Bill 599 from UPA and FRAQ

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS - Vic­to­ria Vanier

The Union des pro­duc­teurs agri­coles (UPA) and the Fed­er­a­tion de la releve agri­cole du Que­bec (FRAQ) wel­come the ob­jec­tives of the pro­jet de loi 599 visant a con­trer l’ac­ca­pare­ment des ter­res agri­coles, de­posited last Thurs­day at the Na­tional Assem­bly of Que­bec by the MNA of Berthier and spokesper­son for the of­fi­cial op­po­si­tion in agri­cul­ture, An­dré Vil­leneuve.

“The mea­sures in the bill can be per­fected, but they can at least break the in­ac­tion of the gov­ern­ment,” com­mented Michele Lalancette, the pres­i­dent of the FRAQ. The mo­nop­o­liza­tion of land is a big con­cern of farm­ers and of the next gen­er­a­tion of farm­ers.

Ac­cord­ing to the UPA, the fifteen big­gest agri­cul­tural com­pa­nies have ac­quired, in only five years, more than 27,000 hectares of land, an in­vest- ment of $121.7 mil­lion. Among the mea­sures in the bill is the obli­ga­tion to ob­tain the sup­port of the Com­mis­sion de pro­tec­tion du ter­ri­toire agri­cole (CPTAQ) for all land buys if the to­tal area owned is more than 100 hectares. The ac­qui­si­tion would be autho­rized if the pur­chaser is a con­firmed agri­cul­tural pro­ducer. The bill also in­cludes the re­quire­ment that all trans­ac­tions in agri­cul­tural zones, re­gard­less of size, be re­ported to the Com­mis­sion.

“It is clear that with­out the in­ter­ven­tion of the State, the mo­nop­o­liza­tion of agri­cul­tural land will lead to the aban­don of many con­sol­i­da­tion projects and the es­tab­lish­ment of the next gen­er­a­tion of farm­ers, be­cause it is im­pos­si­ble for the pro­duc­ers to com­pete with in­vest­ment com­pa­nies,” said the pres­i­dent of the UPA, Mar­cel Groleau.

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