WOODSTOCK, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 5, 2012) - Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz sat down with farmers from the Oxford area today to get their input on agriculture policies and to let them know about a few of the ways that the Harper Government is creating economic growth and prosperity. Local Member of Parliament Dave MacKenzie (Oxford) hosted the roundtable discussion.
"Our Government remains focused on creating jobs, growth, and long-term economic prosperity for all Canadians," said Minister Ritz. "Through Economic Action Plan 2012, our Government is providing targeted investments that help create opportunity for our farm families."
Minister Ritz highlighted the Harper Government's initiatives that are helping farmers make their living from the marketplace, become more innovative and better manage risk. These initiatives include:
- A $50 million Agriculture Innovation Program to facilitate innovation and adoption of new products, technologies and processes that enhance economic growth, productivity and competitiveness;
- Opening, reopening, and expanding market access for Canadian farmers and producers, who last year exported more than $44billion worth of agriculture products;
- A $500 million loan program through Farm Credit Canada to ensure young and beginning farmers can start or grow their businesses; and
- Strong and consistent defense of Canada's supply management system.
Building on industry's call for more market access, market development and innovation, Minister Ritz and MP MacKenzie used the opportunity to consult on the next suite of agriculture programing. Just as farmers review their business practices on a regular basis, the Harper Government is also reviewing its programs to make sure that they will help the sector become more competitive over the long-term. As the outlook for the agricultural sector is positive, with many commodities currently experiencing record high incomes and showing strong growth prospects, the time is right to make sure that agriculture programs are having the greatest impact on the future. The Government will continue to invest in science and innovation to keep Canadian farmers efficient and competitive while providing predictable, stable, and bankable programs to help farmers to weather disasters.
"Our Government will continue to pursue open and fair trade for our farmers, producers and processors so farmers across Oxford can continue to boost their bottom lines," said MP MacKenzie. "We are listening to farmers to make sure that our programs and priorities continue to meet their needs, today and into the future."
This roundtable was part of ongoing consultations with farmers and agricultural stakeholders.