Agri­cul­ture min­is­ters dis­cuss trade, risk man­age­ment at meet­ing

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - EN­VI­RON­MENT

Fed­eral Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Lawrence Ma­cAulay wrapped up talks with his pro­vin­cial and ter­ri­to­rial coun­ter­parts Fri­day that were aimed at draft­ing the next pol­icy frame­work for the sec­tor.

Ma­cAulay says he ex­pected meet­ings in St. John’s, N.L., would fo­cus on a re­view of busi­ness risk man­age­ment pro­grams and AgriSta­bil­ity, which pro­vides sup­port for farm­ers ex­pe­ri­enc­ing crop fail­ures or large losses.

He says he’s heard from farm op­er­a­tors across the coun­try that they want as­sur­ances there won’t be a lapse in the pro­gram, adding he’s con­fi­dent that won’t take place.

But the min­is­ter says par­tic­i­pa­tion in the pro­gram has dropped sharply, which needs to be ad­dressed.

He says he ex­pected to dis­cuss NAFTA with his col­leagues, as trade talks on ev­ery­thing from wheat to dairy are set to be­gin next month with the United States.

Ma­cAulay says he’s con­fi­dent Canadian ne­go­tia­tors will con­vince their U.S. coun­ter­parts that open trade is vi­tal to both coun­tries, adding that the trade pact quadru­pled agri­cul­tural trade in North Amer­ica.

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