Mandate of the new ag minister

This week's editorial discusses the Check-off on beef sales in Alberta.

When the PC government of the period responded to the pressure coming mostly from feedlot operators to abolish the non-refundable $1 check-off on beef sales in 2009, it didn’t take a lot of time for many stakeholders to realize what a mistake the move was. A year later, the check-off was made non-refundable again, because many in ranchers and beef farmers came to the conclusion that without the centralized support that non-refundable dollars go to, selling their beef in the market and getting research done to help improve their industry practices would become only more and more difficult.

Now the provincial organization of the beef producers, ABP, has been campaigning to raise the amount of non-refundable check-off from its current level of $1 per head of cattle sold to $2.5. With many regional meetings already held to discuss the matter, ABP is preparing to adopt the raise as an organizational policy, and once its authoritative body puts the stamp on the decision at their December meeting, plans to approach the provincial government to legislate the increase.

This shows that the industry has come a long way in assessing the value of centralized support for stakeholders of the livestock business, because, as in many other sectors of the 21st century economy, free trade is anything but free.

From digital products to cereals, toys to fresh fruits, all traded merchandise has to meet certain standards, decided either directly by governments or by international organizations where national governments have substantial powers of veto in establishing the parameters by which global commerce is conducted. And that is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does show the need for governments to listen to voice of key sectors that pull their economies.

Canada’s new government has done something unprecedented and made public the mandate letters that each minister receives after being tasked by the prime minister with their portfolio.

The mandate letter to Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay (http://pm.gc.ca/eng/minister-agriculture-and-agri-food-mandate-letter) signals some understanding on the part of the new government of the importance of that communication and of the support the ag sector needs to thrive.

Some of the specific targets set by the prime minister in his mandate letter include “marketing support and assistance to help food processors develop new value-added products; investing in agricultural research to support discovery science and innovation in the sector; promoting Canadian agricultural interests during future trade negotiations; working with provinces, territories, and other willing partners, to help the sector adjust to climate change and better address water and soil conservation and development issues; supporting the minister of transport in undertaking a full review of the Canadian grain transportation system in the context of responding to the Canadian Transportation Act review among others.

It remains to be seen in what format and at what pace the implementation of the steps aimed at those targets will or will not proceed. But with oil prices forecast to remain below $100/barrel level well into 2020, investment in and support for agriculture seem to be the most secure route to stop the provincial economy from falling into further decline.

One hopes that the provincial and federal governments will be able to see eye to eye on that score.

 

Just Posted

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer COVID cases continue to fall

114 cases in Red Deer, down one from Saturday

Maskwacis Pride crosswalk (Left to right): Montana First Nation Councillor Reggie Rabbit, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Louise Omeasoo, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Katherine Swampy, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Shannon Buffalo, Samson Cree Nation Chief Vern Saddleback.
Pride in Maskwacis

The 4th inaugural Maskwacis Pride crosswalk painting took place on Saturday 12, 2020.

Lorne Fundytus. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
OUR COMMUNITY: Rimoka Housing Foundation has a new CAO

Rimoka Housing Foundation (RHF) has a new, yet familiar, face to fill… Continue reading

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives at the 2021 budget in Edmonton on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta launches COVID vaccine lottery with million-dollar prizes to encourage uptake

The premier says the lottery will offer three prizes worth $1 million a piece, as well as other prizes

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is announcing that Indigenous people can now apply to reclaim their names on passports and other government documents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous people can now reclaim traditional names on their passports and other ID

Announcement applies to all individuals of First Nations, Inuit and Métis background

This undated photo provided by Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails shows a scout donating cookies to firefighters in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, as part of the Hometown Heroes program. As the coronavirus pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many Girl Scout troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. That resulted in millions of boxes of unsold cookies. (Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails via AP)
Thinner Mints: Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies

Since majority of cookies are sold in-person, pandemic made the shortfall expected

In this artist’s sketch, Nathaniel Veltman makes a video court appearance in London, Ont., on June 10, 2021 as Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen (top left) and lawyer Alayna Jay look on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Terror charges laid against London attack suspect

Crown says Nathaniel Veltman’s four counts of first-degree murder constitute an act of terrorism

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Most Read