BANFF, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Dec. 7, 2012) - Today agriculture minister Gerry Ritz addressed the Alberta Barley Commission's Annual General Meeting and underscored the Government's support for the western Canadian barley industry, as it plays a vital role in growing the economy.
"As the one-year anniversary of the adoption of the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act approaches, western Canadian grain farmers are already enjoying the economic potential of an open market," said Minister Ritz. "I would like to thank the Alberta Barley Commission for its long-standing leadership in support of marketing freedom, innovation and a strong future for barley producers."
Canadian barley, known around the world for its high quality and superior characteristics, generated over $270 million in exports last year-a figure expected to continue to grow with the new marketing freedom options. The Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act, which received Royal Assent on December 15, 2011, allows anyone to buy and sell wheat and barley. By unleashing the sector's economic potential and entrepreneurial energy, the open grain market continues to usher in a new era of innovation and growth for Western Canada's grain industry, helping attract investment, encourage innovation, create value-added jobs and build a stronger economy.
Additionally, the Harper government recently announced an AgriMarketing investment of more than $525,000 to enable the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre, the Malting Industry Association of Canada, and the Brewing and Malting Barley Research Institute to increase their competitiveness in new and existing markets through innovative marketing and communications and through the development of a Canadian Malt Barley Brand. Product testing and evaluations will also be done on new malting barley varieties, the current year's harvest and cargo shipments to highlight the attributes of the current Canadian crop for international customers.
The Harper government's long-term strategy to strengthen and modernize the barley industry includes renewing the mandate of the Crop Logistics Working Group, to improve the performance of the supply chain for barley and all crops, and to ensure that the agricultural sector can reap the rewards of a dynamic and growing global marketplace.
Canada's grain farmers have a bright future in an open market where they are free to respond to market demands by innovating their farming and processing practices, and where they will be rewarded with premium returns. This is why the Harper government remains focused on supporting the barley industry through Growing Forward 2, Canada's new five-year agricultural policy, to enhance competitiveness, drive innovation and ensure long-term growth in Canadian agriculture.