Posted on Mar 18, 2021
NDP URGE UCP TO LISTEN TO ALBERTA PRODUCERS AND SIGN ONTO AGRISTABILITY PROGRAM
EDMONTON - Eleven Alberta agricultural organizations called on the UCP government yesterday to join the federal AgriStability program, echoing an earlier call from NDP Critic for Agriculture, Heather Sweet.
“COVID-19 has had drastic effects on all levels of the food supply chain,” said NDP Agriculture critic Heather Sweet. “Alberta farmers should not be forced to wait for more foot-dragging by this government.”
The UCP has refused to join the program, and Minister Dreeshen failed to respond to a February 23, 2021 letter from Sweet asking him to sign on the deal.
The changes to the business risk management program outlined in the federal proposal include removing the reference margin limit and increasing the payment cap from 70 per cent to 80 percent. The proposal is only set to last till 2023.
“Accepting the current proposal would offer Alberta’s producers meaningful changes that will serve as a bridge to the next policy framework in 2023,” wrote the eleven agricultural organizations yesterday. “Alberta producers are looking for clarity and collaboration between the provincial and federal governments to heighten the effectiveness of the current BRM tools available to them.”
The Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau held a press conference yesterday with an update on progress of the new program. She said that she has received positive responses from almost all provinces but is anxious to know if the prairie agriculture ministers have brought this forward to their cabinet and premiers.
“Supporting the agriculture economy is fundamental to Alberta’s economic recovery and diversification. This proposal is supported by producers across the province and it should be a top priority of the government,” Sweet said.