Government launches consultations for a Sustainable Agriculture Strategy

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Source: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Today, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced the launch of consultations to develop a Sustainable Agriculture Strategy (SAS) in collaboration with a diversity of partners.

Minister Bibeau made the announcement alongside her parliamentary secretary Francis Drouin, Terry Duguid, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Mary Robinson, President of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA), and Martin Caron, President of the Union des producteurs agricoles and board member of the CFA.

The Strategy will serve as a guide to support the livelihoods of farmers while growing a sustainable sector. By identifying goals and a way forward, Canada’s agriculture sector will be equipped to recover quickly from extreme events, thrive in a changing climate, contribute to world food security, while also contributing to Canada’s overall efforts to cut emissions.

Producers have already taken action on sustainability in a wide range of ways. The Government of Canada wants to amplify the work already underway and increase adoption of these best practices. Their expertise will be used to identify the best solutions in the development of the Strategy.

The Strategy will be developed in close collaboration with the agricultural sector. Provinces and territories will be engaged through the consultation phase and focus on how to best work collaboratively towards developing the strategy. The process will include public consultations, targeted workshops and an Advisory Committee. Co-chaired by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the CFA, the advisory committee will be comprised of industry experts, including producers and representatives of associations and non-governmental organizations. These members will collaborate to identify shared challenges and solutions as we take steps towards finalizing the Strategy in the next year. The Committee’s inaugural meeting occurred today.

The overarching and integrated strategy will focus on five priority issues – soil health, climate adaptation and resilience, water, climate change mitigation, and biodiversity.

As part of the consultation process, a discussion document is now available for comment. Consultations run until March 31, 2023.

Quick Facts

  • A Sustainable Agriculture Strategy (formerly referred to as “the Green Agricultural Plan”) was highlighted in the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan, as well as in the Minister’s Mandate Letter commitmentto support the agriculture sector’s actions on climate change and other environmental priorities towards 2030 and 2050.
  • The guiding vision of the Strategy is to ensure that Canada continues to be recognized as a world leader in sustainable agriculture and agri-food production. This includes building a solid foundation of regional strengths and diversity to address climate change challenges, while meeting the expectations of consumers to have access to safe and nutritious food and feeding Canadians and a growing global population.
  • A Sustainable Agriculture Strategy will bring together, under one umbrella, action needed in the agriculture sector as identified through various public and stakeholder engagements. A strategy will collectively identify goals and actions from other ongoing initiatives as well – such as consultations on developing a path towards reducing fertilizer emissions in the sector, a National Adaptation Strategy, the new Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, Canada’s contribution to the Global Methane Pledge, as set out in Canada’s Methane Strategy, and the development of the Canada Water Agency.
  • An Advisory Committee was established alongside the consultation process, co-chaired by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, to ensure continuous dialogue with the sector as the Strategy is finalized in the next year.
  • The Government of Canada looks forward to hearing from producers, other stakeholders, and partners on how working together to improve environmental outcomes will ensure a resilient and sustainable sector, while providing producers across the country a competitive advantage at home and abroad.

Sustainable Agriculture Advisory Committee

The newly created Advisory Committee includes a diverse representation of sector stakeholders that will play an important role in facilitating collaboration, transparency, and information sharing as steps are taken towards finalizing a strategy.

Below is the committee’s membership list:

  • Canadian Organic Growers
  • Egg Farmers of Canada
  • Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute
  • Farmers for Climate Solutions
  • Canadian Canola Growers Association
  • Fertilizer Canada
  • Canadian Cattle Association
  • Fruit & Vegetable Growers of Canada
  • Canadian Pork Council
  • Grain Growers of Canada
  • Canadian Wildlife Federation
  • National Farmers Union
  • Canola Council of Canada
  • Nature United
  • Chicken Farmers of Canada
  • Pulse Canada
  • Dairy Farmers of Canada
  • Union de producteurs agricoles
  • Ducks Unlimited
  • Soy Canada

Quotes

“The Sustainable Agriculture Strategy will pave the way to help us sustain the livelihoods of farmers. Drawing from their expertise and best practices, we can ensure that the sector is more resilient in the face of climate change.”

– The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“Farmers are on the front lines of climate change. In my home province of Manitoba, we’ve experienced two back-to-back droughts which have proved immensely challenging for farmers. We need to be strategic in how we contribute to cutting emissions, preparing for and recovering from extreme weather events. Canadian farmers work hard every day to put the best quality food on our table and we want to ensure they have the best tools to do so sustainably for generations to come.”

– Terry Duguid, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“The Sustainable Agriculture Strategy comes at a critical time for Canadian producers. Farmers are being asked to balance immediate financial pressures with long-term sustainability goals. This approach, which considers all facets of sustainability – environmental, economic, and social – is needed to ensure we can find pragmatic business solutions that support continued competitiveness and reduce the sector’s environmental footprint.”

– Mary Robinson, President of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture

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