A Canadian Farm Bill
As public consultations begin on the next generation of Canadian agriculture policy the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is contributing to the discussion with a fleshed-out proposal for a Canadian Farm Bill. The discussion documents are now available on the CFA web site.
“Over the past months CFA members have been working hard to put meat on the bones of our Farm Bill proposal. It will serve as a discussion paper to drive debate as industry and government move forward in developing the next generation of agriculture policy,” said Bob Friesen, CFA President.
CFA’s Canadian Farm Bill lays out a three-pillar structure for agriculture policy: Public Goods and Services, Business Risk Management, and Strategic Growth.
The Public Goods and Services pillar presents a vision for a Canadian agriculture sector that is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable, internationally competitive and a provider of high quality, safe and healthy food to Canadians and the world. It outlines specifics for environment (such environmental farm plans), implementation funding for food safety and a framework for animal and plant health strategies.
The Business Risk Management pillar offers a seven-part plan for programs that will create stability, address markets that are distorted by international subsidies, be flexible to address regional and commodity needs, and be predictable and bankable for producers. The program components include an improved NISA-like program, provincial companion programs and a component to address declining margins.
The vision of the Strategic Growth Pillar is of a framework of policy that proactively facilitates innovation, growth and profitability for producers within a financially sustainable industry. This pillar offers a business model approach supporting innovation with examples such as focused research funding, a Green Label program promoting home grown Canadian products, a Cooperative Investment Plan, and new Business Development and Innovation Centres as one-stop shops to provide producers with the cutting-edge information they need to succeed.
“The agriculture policy that comes out of this process represents the future of our industry. It’s vital to include policies and programs developed by farmers for farmers,” said Friesen. “Public consultations start next week and continue until the end of February. CFA is encouraging all Canadian farmers sign up for and attend the public consultations and make their voice heard.”