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Alta. MPs commit to help farmers

Alta. MPs commit to help farmers

The federal representatives will lobby the provincial and federal governments to support producers during harvest

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Alberta’s federal government representatives want to support farmers during a difficult harvest.

Multiple Conservative MPs met last week to determine what steps Alberta and Ottawa need to take as tough weather further delays harvest.

Farmers in Alberta have harvested about 90 per cent of their crops, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s Nov. 5 Crop Conditions report says. By Oct. 30, 2018, farmers were 95 per cent through harvest.

“We’re committed to working with our provincial counterparts and the Ministers of Agriculture to ensure farmers make it through the crisis,” Blaine Calkins, the Conservative MP for Red Deer-Lacombe, said in a statement.

The Conservative reps have outlined five ways they’ll support producers.

In terms of working with Premier Jason Kenney’s government, the MPs plan to meet with their provincial counterparts to discuss potential assistance mechanisms.

The MPs also have ideas on efforts at the federal level.

First, they will call on Prime Minister Trudeau to suspend the carbon tax in Alberta to help farmers afford the fuels they need to dry and transport crops.

The federal government should also make reopening the Chinese market to Canadian canola a priority, review the suite of business risk management programs and make assistance programs easier for farmers to access, the MPs say.

Given the combination of bad weather, market uncertainty and red tape surrounding assistance procedures, taking this multi-pronged approach will help producers get through a difficult harvest season.

“The financial strain of this developing crisis could jeopardize the financial stability for many farm families and has the potential to impact the mental health of struggling farmers in our communities,” Chris Warkentin, the MP for Grande Prairie-Mackenzie, said in a statement. “The federal government must act quickly to respond to the real struggles impacting farm families.”

Farms.com has reached out to the MPs and Alberta farmers for comment.

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