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CFA President Pleased With "Lively" Ag Leaders Debate

Canadian Federation of Agriculture President, Mary Robinson, is reflecting on what she calls a lively ag leaders debate. Last week's event brought together national parties to question them on the pressing issues affecting Canadian agriculture today.

"It felt like a great debate. It was lively, but it was also respectful," said Robinson, noting the ag debate is the one chance for Canadian farmers to get a glimpse of how each party views their partnership with agriculture.

While she noted the debate didn't yield anything "earth-shattering", Robinson said there was a lot of discussion on labour, and value added. "We saw lots of interest on the part of, we need greater local processing capacity."

The Grocery Code of Conduct also came up.

"Which I think is incredibly important. Maybe not so much in the mind of grain and oilseed farmers, but really I think for any part of agriculture that's more focused on Canadian consumers," added Robinson.

She noted it was also great to see some great discussion around environmental supports. "Great to see recognition from three parties that exemptions are needed."

In hindsight, Robinson said it would have been nice to have more discussion around trade.

She noted, supply management did come up.

"We recognize that in Canada, supply management is necessary and we think that we can continue to secure new markets without having to undermine that system and the controls that it offers."

The rapid-fire round also covered a lot of ground, added Robinson, including overwhelming support for what Bill C208 embodies.

"We're at a time right now where the average age of farmers is fifty-five, and we see that transition kind of inter-generationally," she said.

Also discussed during the debate was mental health, research and innovation, and infrastructure.

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