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Ag industry welcomes federal budget

Ag industry welcomes federal budget

The document included supply management compensation and a commitment to broadband

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Overall, Canada’s ag sector is pleased with the new federal budget.

The feds committed to supporting farmers in the supply managed sectors affected by recent trade deals.

Budget 2019 includes $3.9 billion in financial compensation for Canadian dairy, poultry and egg farmers. Of that amount, $2.15 billion will be allocated for direct compensation. Ottawa will direct another $1.5 billion through a Quota Value Guarantee Program designed to protect against a reduction in quota value once quota is sold.

These investments are examples of the government keeping a promise, said Pierre Lampron, president of Dairy Farmers of Canada.

“The federal government recognizes the impact of trade agreements on our sector and is following through on its commitment to support our domestic dairy industry,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Ottawa is also investing in nationwide broadband connectivity.

The federal government has set a goal of providing all Canadians, regardless of location, with Internet speeds of at least 50/10 Megabits per second by 2030.

This project includes $1.7 billion of government spending over 13 years to improve the necessary infrastructure in rural and remote communities.

Growers will welcome this news, given how much they rely on reliable Internet to conduct business, said Lynn Jacobson, president of the Alberta Federation of Agriculture.

“The issue around broadband and Internet has been around for about 10 years, and the progress has always been very slow,” he told Farms.com. “But with all the automation and other ways we use the Internet to farm, it’s critical for farmers to have this kind of access and it’s nice to see a concrete date applied to it.”

The government is also listening to farmers’ concerns relating to the carbon tax and cardlocks.

The Department of Finance will accept comments on carbon tax pricing, including expanded relief of the fuel charge for gasoline and diesel purchased at cardlock facilities.

“Cardlocks are a big part of the farm fuel system in Saskatchewan, so we need to try to have a solution there before the carbon tax is implemented April 1,” Todd Lewis, president of Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan, told Farms.com.

The federal Liberals also committed to reviewing the Canada Grain Act including “redundant inspections and issues within the current grain classification process that unnecessarily restrict Canadian grain exporters,” the budget says.

Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) welcomes the review process.

“Grain farmers know they can make their money from the marketplace and we will continue to support all efforts to reduce the cost of doing business in Canada and to expand new markets,” Jeff Nielsen, chair of GGC, said in a statement yesterday.

Other ag-related budget items include $134.4 million towards creating a new national food policy, and $199 million over five years to help the Canadian Food Inspection Agency protect against an outbreak of BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy).

Farms.com spoke with a representative of the Ontario ag community about the broadband investment.

Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister of Finance Bill Morneau.
Justin Tang/The Canadian Press photo

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