The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) says the Federal Budget recognized a number of the CFA’s pre-budget submission recommendations.
“Both before and during the pandemic, CFA has been touting the potential of agriculture and agri-food for the Canadian economy and as a climate solutions-provider. As a truly essential industry, Canadian agriculture has the ability to hit the ground running and be a powerful economic engine for Canada’s recovery,” said Mary Robinson, CFA President. “It is heartening to hear Minister Freeland identify agriculture as one of the foundational pillars of Canada’s ‘new, resilient and sustainable economy’. CFA will be working closely with the federal government to ensure that these words are followed with impactful actions that truly leverage the potential in our sector.”
The budget included several items in-line with CFA’s pre-budget recommendations, including:
- $50 million for the purchase of more efficient grain dryers for farmers across Canada;
- An additional $1 billion in Canada’s Universal Broadband Fund, to support a more rapid rollout of broadband projects across Canada;
- $57.6 million in 2021-22 to extend the Mandatory Isolation Support for Temporary Foreign Workers Program;
- $1.9 billion over four years to recapitalize the National Trade Corridors Fund;
- Reinforcing commitments to compensation for sectors affected by recent trade agreements;
- $200 million to launch immediate, on-farm climate action under the Agricultural Climate Solutions program
CFA says these initiatives demonstrate that the government recognizes the environmental potential of the agri-food industry, while taking steps to address its infrastructure requirements and the costs associated with protecting farm workers from COVID-19. Although CFA was hoping to see targeted investments addressing the sector’s continued labour needs and leverage domestic market opportunities, the group says the funding for National Trade Corridors should also help farmers meet the government’s goal of increasing food exports to $75 billion by 2025.
“Agriculture has the ability to become a natural climate solution with the continued adoption of technologies and techniques that improve carbon sequestration and capture. With the proper investments and infrastructure, CFA believes Canadian agriculture is in a unique position of becoming a net carbon sink while being a powerful engine of economic growth for Canada,” added Robinson.