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Cdn. farmers gearing up for ag leaders debate

Cdn. farmers gearing up for ag leaders debate

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture is hosting a debate on Sept. 9

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Members of Canada’s ag industry are preparing to hear from ag leaders representing different federal parties about agriculture issues.

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is hosting an ag leaders’ debate on Sept. 9 at 7:00 p.m. ET on its YouTube channel.

The participants are:

  • Marie-Claude Bibeau (Liberal)
  • Dave Epp (Conservative)
  • Alistair MacGregor (NDP)
  • Yves Perron (Bloc Quebecois)

When the CFA hosted a similar event in 2019, participants answered questions based on the organization’s Producing Prosperity in Canada campaign.

This time around, producers want to hear the participants address climate change and how agriculture can be a solution to the issue.

“I’d love to see an acknowledgement that the beef sector is unique as part of agriculture and there’s millions of tonnes of carbon being sequestered on our grasslands,” Tyler Fulton, president of Manitoba Beef Producers, told

One issue relating to climate change is the conversion of grasslands to crops.

In 2013, for example, researchers from the University of Manitoba found when perennial grassland is converted for crop production, more carbon is lost than what the grasses can sequester in a season.

Fulton will be watching to hear the participants discuss how to reduce further grassland conversion.

“If we could get a system in place that recognizes the additional carbon that’s being sequestered on those lands, it would go a long way to avoid conversion,” he said.

Sherry Ann Hoogland, who raises livestock in Blackfalds, Alta., agrees that climate change is an important issue.

She practices regenerative agriculture and would like to hear about potential programs to encourage other farmers to implement similar practices.

“How we’re farming is affecting the planet,” she told “I’d like to hear about how we can encourage conventional farmers to take a look at different ways of farming.”

Another issue Hoogland would like to see addressed during the debate is processing opportunities.

Because there aren’t many abattoirs in her area, Hoogland has to transport her livestock to one facility for processing, then to a separate facility for butchering.

A commitment to helping entrepreneurs build processing facilities would be welcomed, she said.

“There’s no way we could build an abattoir without being millions of dollars in debt,” she said. “If there was something to help farmers like us or even help a young adult start up a processing business, it would help farmers who are looking for the processors.”

Another item Fulton would like to hear about during the debate is trade.

Markets like China and the European Union still have non-tariff trade barriers in place for Canadian beef, he said.

“It’s absolutely critical we have unfettered access to international markets and our customers,” he said. “We’re still dealing with the consequences of BSE and we need to get those markets reopened so we can be efficient about what we produce and where those products go.”

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