Guelph will hold the 2020 Federal-Provincial-Territorial Agriculture Ministers Conference
By Diego Flammini
Guelph will welcome Canada’s federal ag minister along with his or her provincial and territorial counterparts for a conference next year.
Today, Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Minister Ernie Hardeman announced the Royal City will host the 2020 Federal-Provincial-Territorial Agriculture Ministers Conference next July. Ontario last held the event in Niagara-on-the-Lake in 2009.
Guelph’s reputation for ag education, production and research makes the community an ideal location for the event, said Minister Hardeman.
The conference provides “a great opportunity to focus even more attention on the incredible research, innovation and business leadership of our agricultural community that is based in Guelph and the surrounding area,” he said during the announcement.
The theme for next year’s event is “Strong Agri-food: Strong Economy.”
It’s an appropriate theme because discussions will centre on “how we can build on the strength of the agri-food industry, create more jobs and grow the economy,” Hardeman said.
Bringing together about 90 delegates to discuss important issues facing the agri-food sectors means communicating across political party lines.
That kind of collaboration is necessary to ensure a healthy and thriving ag industry, said Keith Currie, president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.
“Everyone has a common goal of getting the most out of the federal government,” he told Farms.com. “To do that, we need to start aligning (with) one another, regardless of what our political affiliations are, because we are still representing agriculture in our province.”
Minister Hardeman announced the location of next year’s conference after meeting with industry leaders ahead of Quebec City’s 2019 conference that begins July 17.
And Minister Hardeman has many items on his agenda.
“The issues that affect our stakeholders (include) challenges finding trained labour,” he told Farms.com. “We just don’t have enough people for the jobs that we have.”
The ag community is also concerned about international trade issues and making sure “we increase our (exports) going out and not decrease (them),” Minister Hardeman said.
In addition, trading goods within Canada is an important issue, he said.
“It doesn’t make sense that we should have stronger trade barriers between provinces than we have between countries,” Hardeman said. “We have to work with the federal government and other (provincial) ministers too, to see if we can’t work out some agreements that allow (for) trade.”