AFA’s AGM highlights water management in agriculture

Farming depends on many different resources, but without a sustainable supply of water, growing crops and livestock would be impossible.

Over two days, January 20 and 21, 2015, attendees at the Annual General Meeting of the Alberta Federation of Agriculture (AFA), heard about water management and its impact on agriculture. A series of outstanding speakers explored many angles of water and agriculture from: legal issues, public policy, water well management and emerging technologies.

“If we don’t get water management right, farming in Alberta can’t be as successful in the future as we have been in the past,” says AFA president Lynn Jacobson, who farms near Enchant. “We’ll continue to advocate for sound policy for water management and agriculture.”

Since 1959, Alberta Federation of Agriculture has been Alberta’s producer-funded general farm organization. Whenever decisions are being made that affect the province’s agricultural industry, AFA provides an effective voice for Alberta’s farmers.

Each year, AFA members attend the January AGM to propose, debate, vote on and form resolutions on issues that affect Alberta farm producers. Resolutions direct key priorities for the organization for the year ahead.

For 2015, AFA will continue its work on improving grain transportation, encouraging governments to invest in research and innovation, farm safety, and conservation, among other priorities.

Camrose’s Humphrey Banack, who serves as AFA’s 2nd vice president, says that it’s never been more important for producers to drive policy decisions.

“During the AGM, we gather with producers to debate and discuss top issues in agriculture, then use those policy directions to draw the future of agriculture forward,” says Banack.

Banack points to one instance where producers changed how their industry operates. At the January 2014 AFA AGM, farmers raised the problem of poor grain movement. Along with AFA, the farm organizations in Manitoba and Saskatchewan brought the issue to the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, which in turn raised it with the Federal Ministers of Agriculture and Transportation. By March 2014, these actions resulted in a mandated minimum level of service by the railways.

“Policy is as important as production,” says Banack. “Members of AFA have a direct channel to let their voice be heard. We ask any agricultural producer – whether in crop production, livestock management or value-added food production – to join us as we work for a stronger industry for all.”