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FPT Ag Ministers’ Meeting: British Columbia

FPT Ag Ministers’ Meeting: British Columbia

Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial ministers will meet in Yukon in July

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Pam Alexis, British Columbia’s minister of agriculture and food, says attending the Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) Agriculture Ministers’ meeting in Whitehorse in July is an opportunity for her and her counterparts to learn from one another.

“I think there’s tremendous value in learning from each other about what best practices might be, where they’re finding challenges and where they’ve found solutions,” she told Farms.com. “It’s also really important that I represent our farmers in British Columbia and what we’re doing, and the challenges that might be able to be addressed in a larger setting like this.”

Leading up to the meeting next month, Farms.com is connecting with FPT ministers to find out what issues they’ll be bringing to the table.

For farmers in B.C., the number one issue is the cost of production and how it continues to increase, Minister Alexis said.

For context, between 2015 and 2019, operating expenses for farms in B.C. have gone up by about 25 per cent, where revenues have only increased by around 23 per cent, an industry study shows.

Another topic of interest for Minister Alexis will include business risk management programs.

Pam Alexis
Pam Alexis

She wants to ensure these supports are viable for producers.

“I want to be working with the federal government to ensure the business risk management programs evolve to meet the needs of B.C. farmers for years to come,” she said. “Our farmers are on the front line of climate change and that’s super significant.”

A third area of discussion for the B.C. representatives will be the grocery code of conduct.

This code of conduct is designed to support transparency in the grocery industry and help Canadians with food prices.

“It’s very important to British Columbia to have this fairness aspect looked at from the food producer and processor right through,” she said.

A May 2024 experiment by CTV found that for a pound of butter, a dozen eggs, chicken, ground beef, rice, apples and tomatoes in Vancouver, a shopper paid around $73.

Each province will bring its own list of items to discuss at the meeting.

But Minister Alexis anticipates some issues will require collaboration between provinces to bring a united message to the federal government.

B.C. has some drought areas, but that province isn’t the only one.

“When you look at drought, parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan are experiencing it again,” she said. “A collective voice is extremely important to bring about change.”

Farms.com has also connected with Caitlin Cleveland, the N.W.T.’s minister of industry, tourism and investment. She’s also the territory’s minister of education, culture and employment.

Emergency preparedness and improvements to business risk management programs are on top of mind for her staff, she said.

And Lawrence MacAulay, the federal ag minister, reiterated to Farms.com that strengthening Canadian ag is a shared responsibility.

Be sure to visit Farms.com often as more responses from provincial and territorial agriculture ministers will come in the days and weeks ahead.


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