July 25, 2022 (Ottawa, ON) – The Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) appreciates the work done by Agriculture Ministers across Canada towards reaching an agreement for the next five-year Agricultural Policy Framework, set to begin in 2023.
“The Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (SCAP) is a step in the right direction towards achieving a balanced approach to economic and environmental objectives in agriculture,” says GGC Chair Andre Harpe from his farm in Alberta’s Peace Country. “We appreciate federal and provincial governments recognizing the need to increase funding to the upcoming 5-year framework and committing to an increase of 25% in cost-shared investments.”
The agreement unveiled $500 million in new cost-shared funds, bringing the total funding envelope to approximately $3.5 billion, of which $250 million will be earmarked for the new Resilient Agriculture Landscape Program (RALP) to reward environmental stewardship and emission reduction on farms.
“Governments must engage early and often with farmers in designing the RALP to ensure a low administrative burden for participants that maximizes the value of that investment for farmers and ensures a meaningful reduction in emissions,” adds Harpe.
The agreed improvements to the Agri-Stability program are a positive step, including a 10% increase in the compensation rate, bringing it to 80%, along with a commitment to consult on ways to improve timeliness and predictability within the following year.
As a global leader in food production, Canada’s emission targets must not impede food security and production. Public and private sector collaboration will be a key component of ensuring strength in our sector. GGC’s climate solution initiative, the Road to 2050, will develop a farmer-driven path that aligns Canada’s climate goals with the unique needs of our sector. Our Road to 2050 recommendations intends to inform government policies and programs around sustainability. We were encouraged to hear the Ministers discuss both the economic realities and environmental opportunities the industry faces and look forward to sharing our recommendations with government in 2023.
“We have concerns regarding the proposed cross compliance requirement that mandates an agri-environmental risk assessment to access Agri-Invest matching funds, and require additional details to understand potential impacts,” stated Harpe. “It is vital that farmers be engaged directly by government as they explore the integration of environmental practices into programs meant to help farmers manage financial risk and production losses outside their control.”
GGC commends Minister Bibeau and all provincial and territorial Agriculture Ministers for their continued efforts. We look forward to learning more details about elements within the agreement in the coming weeks and months. As the agreement begins to take shape, GGC is hopeful that the spirit of collaboration will extend to producers and industry partners so that we can best achieve our collective objectives.
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