CFIB urges Agriculture Ministers to address competitive challenges facing farmers
Farmers are one of the groups Canadians respect the most, well ahead of government, unions and large companies, found a recent public opinion poll by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). Despite this, they face significant competitive challenges that the Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) agriculture ministers must begin to address at their meeting in Ottawa on Tuesday to fuel optimism in the agriculture sector in the year ahead.
“Farmers make significant economic contributions to Canada and produce some of the safest and highest quality food in the world. It is not a surprise then that 96 per cent of everyday Canadians give top marks to farmers in terms of the groups they respect the most,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s vice-president of Western Canada and Agri-business. “The priorities and concerns of farmers should be given careful consideration by policy makers meeting this week.”
CFIB’s latest Monthly Agriculture Business Barometer® shows optimism in the agriculture sector is being weighed down by recent trade disputes, difficult harvest conditions in many parts of the country and costly carbon taxes. In fact, CFIB’s Agriculture Index finished the month of November at 51.1 – 5 points below the national average.
“The reality is farmers have faced a lot of uncertainty this year with ongoing trade disputes and a challenging harvest which has really muted their outlook for the year ahead,” explained Braun-Pollon. “We hope the Ag Ministers will be discussing policies this week that will help improve the bottom line of our producers.”
CFIB recently sent a letter to the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau congratulating her on her re-appointment as Minister of Agriculture & Agri-Food and outlined the policies needed that will ensure Canadian agri-businesses succeed.
CFIB Farm Members’ Policy Priorities to Improve their Overall Competitiveness:
Federal Carbon Tax: Exemptions for farmers should be extended to include natural gas and propane that is used for drying grain and heating poultry or dairy facilities.
Trade and Export: All FPT governments need to focus on improving market access for Canadian agricultural products.
Regulation and Paperburden: All levels of government need to continue to reduce the burden of red tape on farmers so they have more time to grow and expand their business.
Business Risk Management (BRM) programs: Ensure programs are transparent, timely and predictable.
Intergenerational Farm Transfer: Make it easier for farmers and all small businesses to transfer or sell their business to a family member.
“Business succession is an urgent issue across the country. We are calling on the federal government to make it easier for all small businesses, including farmers, to sell their business to their children or other family members. There also must be a concerted effort by all levels of government to create the conditions for farmers to grow and expand,” concluded Braun-Pollon.
Read the full public opinion poll results for more detai