Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food (AGRI)

The Committee met this week on December 6th and December 8th to hear from witnesses regarding the Business Risk Management (BRM) programs to be included in Growing Forward 2, the government’s upcoming major agriculture policy.  Growing Forward partners with provincial and territorial governments and provides funding to the agricultural sector, replacing the Agriculture Policy Framework which expired in March 2008.  It will be implemented on April 1, 2013.

More information on Growing Forward 2 can be found here.

In committee meetings, witnesses offered criticisms and suggestions for improvement regarding the current BRM programs included in Growing Forward, and gave feedback regarding the usefulness of these programs to agriculture producers. Witnesses included representatives from the pork, cattle, poultry and potato industries, as well as civil society groups and producer organizations. The committee meetings were marked by concerns regarding the administrative burden placed on farmers by complex paperwork, the perceived lack of innovation in the agricultural sector, and the need for international market access.  Specifically, many witnesses expressed reservations about the effectiveness of AgriStability, {link} noting the long wait times in between applying for the program and receiving financial assistance.  Furthermore, many witnesses asked for clarifications regarding what types of ‘disasters’ would be covered by the government’s AgriRecovery program.

The committee went in camera at the end of each meeting to discuss committee business.