Carlier in Ottawa to discuss farm programs
A program that has provided $400 million to Alberta agriculture producers over the last five years will expire in March, but there is hope a new agreement will be sorted out by then.
Oneil Carlier joined his fellow provincial, territorial and federal agriculture ministers in Ottawa Wednesday as they begin preliminary work on Growing Forward, a $3-billion scheme that forms the foundation for government agricultural programs.
Carlier thinks the program serves Alberta producers quite well, so he’s not going to the table with a lengthy list of demands.
Yet, adverse weather created unprecedented challenges for Alberta farmers this year, and Carlier knows that has put pressure on the Growing Forward agriculture insurance program.
While that program works well “for the most part,” he said, he wouldn’t want to see any cash siphoned away from it.
Carlier said the other area that needs work is the AgriStability program, which provides support for producers who experience a large margin decline.
“That work continues, but it will be some time yet before we can say we’ve made changes to it,” Carlier said.
“Still, I remain optimistic that we can continue with what works well, and change what doesn’t work so well.”
The ministry has already reached out to producers, processors and folks in the research world to get their thoughts on the next Growing Forward policy framework, with a series of roundtables in Red Deer, Lethbridge and Grande Prairie, and public consultations online.
Carlier said he might also look at the results from market analysis the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation will kick off next month.
The next set of Growing Forward discussions will be held in July in St. John’s, N.L.