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Looking back on 2017 with Alberta Agriculture Minister Oneil Carlier
Looking back on 2017 with Alberta Agriculture Minister Oneil Carlier

Trade and weather played big parts in the province’s 2017 farming landscape

By Diego Flammini
News Report

From trade missions abroad to weather challenges at home, 2017 was full of peaks and valleys for Alberta farmers, according to Oneil Carlier, Alberta’s minister of agriculture.

One of the lows was “that we saw an early snowfall (in 2016), which rolled up into a lot of extra moisture in a lot of places in the province in the spring,” he told Call of the Land yesterday.

The excess moisture forced farmers to delay planting  Producers were ultimately able to manage the challenging conditions, even if they had to plant and harvest simultaneously.

“We had (excessive moisture) mostly in the middle of the province but, as the year progressed, we (saw) opportunities to get some of the late-seeded crop off because we did have a really good, fairly dry, nice and warm fall,” he said. Commodity prices and crop quality were good too, he added.

On the international front, the Alberta government was able to initiate conversations and sign trade deals with countries that will benefit local producers.

For example, Alberta and China recently reached an agreement that will see nearly $20 million of Alberta beef and pork shipped to China annually.

“Having the ability to ship chilled beef and pork into China is great news,” Carlier told Call of the Land. “Knowing how large a market that is, and how they appreciate the good quality that our beef is, it’s a great opportunity.”

Minister Carlier also talked trade with the United Arab Emirates and India.

He also traveled to Europe during Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) discussions, which provided opportunities to market Alberta cattle.

The European tariffs on Alberta beef and bison will be removed eventually, he said, adding that other products will be phased into the agreement.