Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

July 13, 2005 12:52 ET

Plenty of Good News Stories at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada : By the Honourable Andy Mitchell, P.C., M.P. Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - July 13, 2005) - Too often it seems that the only news coming out of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is bad news. The ongoing saga related to the discovery of BSE in Canada two years ago and the related border closure by the United States, problems with weather and disease, and falling commodity prices dominate the news. The silver lining in all of these episodes is the exceptional work and commitment from producers across this country in handling the situation. The steadfast support the Government of Canada and the provincial governments have shown for our nation's producers, with program payments approaching $5 billion going to farmers in each of the past two years, will continue.

Unfortunately, these events have overshadowed the good news stories coming out of the Department. So, instead of discussing BSE, border closures and income support payments as I have been doing over the past few months, I'd like to use this space to salute our science, technical and program development specialists who are doing outstanding work to keep Canada on the cutting edge of agricultural research and development.

A critical element in developing a prosperous and sustainable agricultural sector is the development of sustainable environmental programming. Safeguarding our air, water and soil for future generations is a priority for the Government of Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Among the numerous outstanding environmental programs being implemented by the Department, I'd like to bring attention to the significant contribution AAFC is making in helping Canada meet its

Kyoto Accord greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals during the 2008-2012 commitment period.

Agriculture is uniquely affected by climate change, as the sector is both a source of greenhouse gases as well as a source of reduced GHGs and a mitigator of climate change through practices that increase the amounts of carbon stored in the soil, instead of releasing it into the air

AAFC has been working on a number of projects, in partnership with producers and other industry stakeholders to promote sustainable, economically viable and environmentally sound activities.

For instance, the Government of Canada's Climate Fund includes a five-year initiative to plant an additional 8,000 kilometres of shelterbelts across the Prairies by 2006. As well, AAFC has developed a Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Program to reduce emissions through improved soil, nutrient and livestock management techniques. The Model Farms Program is developing methods for estimating net GHG emissions from whole farms, estimating current emissions and evaluating mitigation practices.

As well, the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration has been instrumental in helping farmers adopt new practices that protect the environment and keep them in business. The PFRA's expertise in land, water, and information management developed in Western Canada over the past 70 years will be invaluable as the Government of Canada considers developing a new national agri-environmental service.

By developing these sorts of programs, AAFC is helping to brand Canada as a world leader in sustainable and profitable environmental agricultural practices. As consumers around the world become more concerned with the quality and protection of their environment and the quality of their food, Canadian producers will benefit from the increased market opportunities that come with recognition as a world leader in sound environmental and innovative agricultural practices.

The Canada "brand" identifies Canada as a producer of healthy and safe food produced in an environmentally sustainable way. AAFC is doing outstanding work in developing the Canada brand and, in the process, developing new markets for our agricultural producers.

In today's highly competitive global marketplace, countries must use every tool available to differentiate their products from others. Canada has a positive image around the world, and the work being done by Department officials to develop a strategy building on our international reputation for high-quality agricultural and food products will help expand existing markets and open new ones for our agricultural producers.

It is through these kinds of initiatives, as well as the many other programs being developed by the Department aimed at developing an environment that will allow farmers to make a decent living off the land, that Canadian agriculture will enjoy a profitable and sustainable future.

Contact Information

  • AAFC
    Media Relations
    (613) 759-7972