LEDUC, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Jan. 17, 2013) - Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz met with farmers in the Leduc area today to get their input on agriculture policies and to discuss ideas to generate future growth and economic prosperity. Member of Parliament James Rajotte (Edmonton-Leduc) hosted the roundtable discussion.
"Our government's top priority remains creating jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity for all Canadians," said Minister Ritz. "In meeting directly with farmers, we receive valuable feedback that helps us develop innovative programs to increase profitability for the agriculture industry."
Minister Ritz highlighted achievements in agriculture from the past year, particularly the successful year it has been for the grain industry. With the open market for wheat and barley farmers coming into force August 1, 2012, and the introduction of amendments to the Canada Grain Act, farmers stand to benefit from a streamlined and modernized grain industry. The Government also introduced the Fair Rail Freight Service Act, which will encourage railways and shippers to work together toward a stronger rail freight supply chain and a stronger economy.
The recently announced Growing Forward 2 suite of programs will invest in strategic initiatives in innovation, competitiveness, and market development to further strengthen the sector's capacity and earning potential from a growing marketplace for Canadian agricultural products. Canadian families will also have a stronger food safety system thanks to the passage of the Safe Food for Canadians Act.
"Our government knows that the agriculture sector is a primary driver of Canada's, and Alberta's, economy," said MP Rajotte. "We are listening to farmers so that our programs continue to reflect the priorities and needs of farmers."
The Government will continue to invest in market development, market access, research, science, and innovation to keep Canadian farmers efficient and competitive, while providing predictable, stable, and bankable programs to help farmers weather disasters.
This roundtable was part of ongoing pre-budget consultations with farmers and agricultural stakeholders.