CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Feb. 14, 2013) - Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz addressed the members of both the Canadian Association of Agri-Retailers, and the Western Barley Growers Association today at their respective annual conventions, underscoring the vital role these industries play in fostering economic growth and prosperity for all Canadians.
In his remarks to the Canadian Association of Agri-Retailers, Minister Ritz recognized the important role farm input retailers have in delivering leading-edge technology to help farmers grow their crops and feed the world.
"A strong farm gate strengthens the entire supply chain and drives jobs and growth for Canada's economy," said Minister Ritz. "Our new suite of agriculture programs, Growing Forward 2, includes investments in innovation, market development and competitiveness to ensure Canada's agri-retailers can provide the inputs our farmers need to continue to grow Canadian agriculture."
Minister Ritz also highlighted steps the government is taking to grow Canada's $16-billion grain industry. In a speech to the Western Barley Growers Association, he said that in 2012, marketing freedom, the modernization of the Canadian Grain Commission and a strong trade agenda, have all contributed to exciting growth potential for Western Canada's barley growers, who saw exports soar 35 per cent last year.
"Marketing freedom and the modernization of Canada's grain industry are already helping our innovative barley farmers grow their exports and boost our economy," said Minister Ritz. In 2011, barley drove jobs and growth on the Prairies, with nearly $600 million in farm cash receipts.
Thanks to the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act, Western Canadian grain farmers have been operating successfully and exploiting their ability to market their own grain for many months now. Marketing freedom will continue to build a stronger economy by attracting investment, encouraging innovation and creating value-added jobs.
In addition, the government has introduced the Fair Rail Freight Service Act, to give shippers the right to a service agreement with the railways. Minister Ritz has also renewed the mandate of the Crop Logistics Working Group, which will continue to work to improve the performance of the supply chain for all crops, with an emphasis on innovation, capacity, efficiency and stakeholder collaboration.
Amendments were also introduced to the Canada Grain Act to improve the Canadian Grain Commission's (CGC) producer payment protection program and eliminate mandatory CGC inward weighing and inward inspection - a move that will take $20 million out of the cost of shipping grain, while reducing the regulatory burden on producers, helping them become more competitive at home and abroad.
Please visit the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act (www.agr.gc.ca/freedom) for more information on the wheat and barley industry. For more information on the new policy framework, please visit Growing Forward 2 (www.agr.gc.ca/growingforward2).