AFA advocates on behalf of Alberta farmers to keep agriculture a high priority among candidates, politicians and policymakers in Alberta and across Canada.
As we move towards the April 16, 2019 election in Alberta, there are many issues on the minds of Alberta farmers. Many of these challenges not only affect Alberta farmers, but producers and growers across Canada. As the province’s general farm organization, AFA is focussed on issues in all sectors of the industry, from crop production, livestock management, value-added food production and more.
Here are just some of the current agriculture issues we’re staying on top of for our farm members.
AFA discusses canola market access with Minister of International Trade Diversification
AFA was pleased to join with Alberta Canola and other members of Canada’s canola value chain to meet with the Honourable Jim Carr, Minister of International Trade Diversification on April 11, 2019 to discuss the issue of market access for canola seed into China.
Challenges persist for canola producers in Alberta, and across the country, as China continues its ban on Canadian canola seed. With China accounting for 40% of canola exports, farmers will now have to make difficult seeding decisions for the 2019 crop season with this growing uncertainty looming on the horizon.
“We were very happy to be at the table and afforded the opportunity to meet with Minister Carr and other colleagues within the industry to discuss this critical issue,” said Humphrey Banack, director of AFA. “It’s no secret that China represents a huge piece of our canola export market, so it’s good to see our government working quickly to resolve the issue as soon as possible.”
Learn about Minister Carr’s three-pronged approach discussed in our meeting on April 11, 2019 here.
AFA Director speaks to the Standing Committee on Alberta’s Economic Future
AFA Director Humphrey Banack spoke with the Standing Committee on Alberta’s Economic Future on March 14, 2019 in Edmonton, Alberta. The discussion served to share the potential impacts on agriculture of the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA).
“While some beneficial results were achieved for some sectors within agriculture, we are well aware that others will be hurt by some of the concessions included in this new trade deal,” Banack says.
For the full transcript of the meeting and to read the presentation given by Humphrey Banack, click here.
Bill 6, the WCB and farm labour: how much of an issue is it?
When it comes to Bill 6, the farm and ranch workplace legislation, there are different approaches being proposed among leaders of each political party that include repealing it, changing or enhancing it or keeping it as is. AFA President Lynn Jacobson feels that after early pressure from farm groups several years ago, the government did consult with farmers prior to implementing the final legislation, and that a lot of the initial negative reaction has now settled down as discussed in this article.
Despite the WCB injury claims being on the rise in 2018, other farm leaders, like Jody Wacowich, executive director of AgSafe Alberta, feels the reason for a higher number of claims could be attributed to increased knowledge and enrollment numbers. More here.
How will shipping oil by rail affect grain movement?
Grain transportation has long been a focus of AFA’s advocacy, as new cropping seasons and pressures bring new challenges getting grain to port. With the latest government proposal to move oil by rail, AFA is back advocating for farmers to ensure that any solution to solve the oil and gas backlog will not adversely affect farmers already experiencing issues with rail transportation.
“The railways and government have given assurances, but we won’t really know how it all plays out until the trains start moving,” AFA President Lynn Jacobson said. Read more on this issue here.
AFA helps craft an extension for farmers with new driver training requirements
When the government announced plans to implement driver training for new Class 1 and Class 2 commercial drivers on March 1, 2019, AFA heard from our farm members that the short notice for this new requirement right before the 2019 cropping season would put undue stress on their operations.
AFA voiced this concern and was invited to be part of the Mandatory Entry Level Training (MELT) working group that successfully pushed for an extension for farmers/farm workers on MELT training for Class 1 licences. While farmers still need to meet the new MELT standards, farmers and farm workers will have until November 30, 2019 to apply for an extension to comply with the MELT program for new commercial drivers. More information and the application for extension here.
For 2019 and beyond, AFA will continue its work on improving grain transportation, value creation for varietal research, grain contracting, and other priorities outlined at our January 2019 Annual General Meeting.
If you want to participate in these policy decisions and have your voice heard, become an AFA member today by visiting our website at http://www.afaonline.ca/membership.