Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

June 07, 2009 10:57 ET

Canada's Economic Action Plan Delivering for Farmers

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 7, 2009) - The Harper Government's Economic Action Plan is already delivering real results for Canadian farm businesses and farm families, Minister of Agriculture Gerry Ritz reported today.

"Agriculture is a vital sector of the Canadian economy and Canadian farmers must play an important role in helping Canada recover from the global recession," said Minister Ritz. "That is why our Economic Action Plan included key investments to make sure Canadian farmers can maximize market opportunities, and that is why we have taken extraordinary action to cut down on red-tape and delays so farmers can benefit from these investments right away."

"Farmers remain the backbone of the local economy for hundreds of communities throughout Canada," said the honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Agriculture). "The bottom line is that our plan will make sure farmers come out of the current global situation stronger than ever."

Ministers Ritz and Blackburn provided Canadians with a progress report on the investments for farmers contained within the Harper Government's Economic Action Plan. One of the most important initiatives contained within that plan is new legislation to guarantee an estimated $1 billion in loans over the next five years to help Canadian farm families and cooperatives obtain the credit they need despite tighter global credit markets. This affordable credit is vital for Canadian farmers when they are investing in new equipment, buying quota, and expanding their land base.

Canada's Economic Action Plan is also delivering new investments to help livestock producers get their product to market, with a new $50 million program to improve efficiency and competitiveness in Canadian slaughter facilities.

The Harper Government's Economic Action Plan is also providing farmers with access to cutting-edge technology and research facilities by delivering a $25.9 million investment to update eight laboratories across the country. These investments will support agricultural research, strengthen Canada's food safety system and create 270 jobs in our communities.

In addition, the Harper Government is helping farmers develop new products, tap into new technologies and open new markets through the $158 million investment in the Agri-Innovations program.

Canada's Conservative Government is working with farm leaders and provincial and territorial governments to get the Agri-Flexibility program up and running this summer. The Economic Action Plan's Agri-Flexibility program will deliver $500 million over five years to help the sector adapt to pressures and improve its competitiveness. This will help create opportunities by driving innovation and maximizing market opportunities.

For more information on Canada's Economic Action Plan, visit


Credit for Farmers

On May 1, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced expanded access to credit for Canadian farmers to deliver an estimated $1 billion in government-backed loans over five years. Legislation to amend the Farm Improvement and Marketing Cooperatives Loans Act (FIMCLA), with the amended act to be renamed the Canadian Agricultural Loans Act (CALA), has been passed by the House of Commons and is currently with the Senate.

The new loan program will deliver real action for Canadian agriculture by doubling the amount of credit available to each farmer for a total aggregate of $500,000. The program will also change eligibility criteria to make sure new farmers and cooperatives can access government-backed credit, allowing cooperatives with majority farm ownership to access up to $3 million and making up to $500,000 available to new farmers that are taking over the family farm from their parents.

May 1, 2009

Slaughter Improvement Program

The Harper Government will invest $50 million over the next three years to strengthen the competitiveness of Canada's red meat packing sector. The program will make repayable contributions available to support private-sector and other government investments aimed at reducing costs, increasing revenues and improving operations of meat slaughter and processing operations in Canada. These improvements will ensure that Canadian livestock producers have viable and sustainable slaughter options. The program also aims to address regional gaps by providing new marketing options and lower transportation costs for farmers from areas where there are no slaughterhouses.

June 5, 2009

Federal Labs

Eight AAFC laboratories will receive $25.9 million under the Modernizing Federal Laboratories program to update their facilities, providing long-term economic benefits for farmers and an immediate economic stimulus for their communities.

The projects will support important research in plant breeding, pesticide management, food safety and new product development. For example, these upgrades will allow for: continued research into the nutritional and therapeutic benefits of food and the safety of food processing techniques; the development of wheat varieties that are resistant to a new strain of wheat rust that could otherwise devastate crops; and better testing for pesticides.

The AAFC projects that are receiving funding are: the Crops and Livestock Research Centre in Charlottetown, P.E.I.; the Semiarid Prairie Agricultural Research Centre (SPARC) in Swift Current, Saskatchewan; the Dairy and Swine Research and Development Centre in Sherbrooke, Quebec; the Guelph Food Research Centre in Guelph, Ontario; the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency's (CPMA) Reference and Research Laboratory in Ottawa, Ontario; the Morden Research Centre in Morden, Manitoba; the Horticulture Research and Development Centre in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec; and the Potato Research Centre in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

June 5, 2009 - Ottawa, Ontario

May 20, 2009 - Sherbrooke, Quebec

May 19, 2009 - Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec

May 11, 2009 - Fredericton, New Brunswick

May 9, 2009 - Swift Current, Saskatchewan

May 9, 2009 - Charlottetown, P.E.I.

May 8, 2009 - Morden, Manitoba

May 8, 2009 - Guelph, Ontario


Agri-Flexibility will deliver $500 million over five years to provide targeted investments in priority areas that support the long-term competitiveness of the sector. The fund will be used for initiatives reducing productions costs, improving environmental sustainability, promoting innovation and responding to market challenges. In turn, new investments in technology and innovations will bring stability and prosperity to the industry.

Science and Innovation

In addition to the Economic Action Plan, the Harper Government has invested $158 million in the Agri-Innovations Program to build an innovative and competitive agricultural sector by encouraging industry leadership and investment in agricultural science and innovation.

Four initiatives will be available for application: Agri-Science Clusters, Growing Innovative Agri-Products, Agri-Foresight, and Promoting Agri-Based Investment Opportunities. The Agri-Innovations Program is available under Growing Forward, the new multilateral framework for support to the agriculture sector.

May 29, 2009

International Missions

This year, Minister Ritz led trade missions to the Middle East, South and South East Asia, South America, and North Africa. These trade missions resulted in the following: opening beef markets in Jordan and Saudi Arabia; expansion of key export opportunities for Canadian beef in Hong Kong; the signing of an agricultural Memorandum of Understanding between Canada and India that creates a framework to expand agricultural trade; and an agreement to expand Canadian pulse crop exports to India.

May 22, 2009 - South America

April 16, 2009 - North Africa

February 17, 2009 - Middle East

February 3, 2009 - Middle East

January 16, 2009 - Asia

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Media Relations
    The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
    Meagan Murdoch
    Press Secretary
    The Office of the Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn
    Sophie Doucet
    Press Secretary
    Office: 613-947-7298
    Cell: 613-608-3252