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CAAR 2022 Conference Recap – Ted talks about the UN Food Systems

CAAR 2022 Conference Recap – Ted talks about the UN Food Systems

Ted McKinney, Chief Executive Office of NASDA discussed the UN Food Systems at the 2022 CAAR Conference and why Canada needs to remain vigilant.

By Andrew Joseph,

“You gotta raise your voice.”

That’s the takeaway message from Ted McKinney, Chief Executive Office of NASDA (National Association of State Departments of Agriculture) in the US, who opened up Day 2 of the virtually-presented 2022 CAAR Conference, February 9-10, 2022 organized by the Canadian Association of Agri-Retailers (CAAR).

In his messaging, McKinney was referring to the manner in which the UN Food Systems are being handled on a global scale and how decisions being made could play havoc with American and Canadian agricultural policies.

Discussing policy, McKinney said that “we are facing some clear and present dangerous times” and that because “we are seeing a slippage of science-based ideas” North American farmers—and the agri-retail sector—will have to fight for the right to use fertilizers to make our crops grow to meet the consumer demand to feed the growing world population.

He noted that agriculture and food markets are being cast into a negative light for perpetuating a “broken” food system—and that it’s not fair to countries like the US and Canada who have been better-able to move forward in efforts to meet the UN goals relative to many other countries.

It’s the lumping-in with those not willing to work within the UN guidelines that had McKinney upset. “The US is engaging in FS (food safety) outcomes through the USDA (US Department of Agriculture) in several areas, primarily leading a coalition on sustainable productivity and resource convention.”

The Summit is over, but the work continues, McKinney pointed out that although progress is being made in the US and Canada, the industry must continue to advocate to achieve the best outcome.

“I get angry when the agroecology sector beats up on the tech sector” and vice-versa he intoned. “Let the market determine (the way to go.)”

However, McKinney was still adamant that we must follow “science and evidence-based decisions, no matter what path we go down.”

McKinney said he is concerned when when groups involved with the Food Systems Summit have their own agenda.

He also examined the European Union’s “Farm to Fork” strategy, noting that “its objectives are sound, but tactics for implementation are very damaging.”

McKinney remained resolved that emotion must stay on the sidelines as we ensure we keep things backed by evidence and scientific facts. “If politics strays, there’s going to be problems.”

The entire concept of GHG (greenhouse gases) was frustrating for McKinney.

“The EU uses two times the GHG than the US, and I suspect, Canada.” This is one of those instances of being lumped in with the rest of the world’s negative issues.

“This is what’s going on in the EU, and it’s trying to trump our efforts in Canada and the US,” he warned. “You gotta raise your voice.”

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