Federal Minister of Agriculture Pushes for Climate Incentives in Business Risk Management Programs – RealAgriculture

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Federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) agriculture ministers from across Canada gathered in Ottawa on Monday to discuss the next agricultural policy framework ahead of their annual meeting in Saskatoon in July, where they hope to sign a new five-year agreement. .

Ministers, nine of whom attended in person, spent their morning session discussing what they want to see in the framework that will replace the $3 billion Canadian Agricultural Partnership, which expires in March 2023. afternoon portion of their meeting was devoted to a variety of other issues, including the H5N1 avian flu outbreak, global food security following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the creation of a code of conduct for grocery stores.

“We were discussing the next policy framework for 2023 to 2028. We had a very good discussion,” says Bibeau, in the interview below. “Obviously, as federal minister, I have been very strong on our goal to reduce emissions in the agricultural sector, recognizing that all provinces and territories are working hard and have different ways of achieving this. reduction. So we were trying to find common ground on the objective, but also to do even better.

Regarding business risk management (BRM) programs, such as AgriInsurance, AgriStability and AgriInvest, Bibeau says ministers are considering making adjustments to current programs, not starting again from scratch with new ideas for the next five-year framework.

“We’re trying to improve the programs we have,” she says, noting that the federal government is still offering to increase the AgriStability compensation rate from 70 to 80 per cent if enough provinces sign on. . The three Prairie provinces did not take up the offer because they would be required to contribute more money under the 60-40 federal-provincial funding agreement.

“We’re trying to be creative in finding consensus, so we need to do our homework and share more information. It’s a little early for me to go into more detail, but I’m positive and confident that we’ll reach consensus by July,” she says, regarding the deadlock over changes to AgriStability that dates back to November 2020.

Bibeau is also urging his provincial counterparts to incorporate climate-related criteria or incentives into the next version of BRM programs.

“We’re looking at ways to see how we can use business risk management programs to incentivize farmers to adopt sustainable or good practices. It is something that is under study. Nothing has been decided yet, obviously, but it’s just to illustrate the type of discussions we had today,” she said.

“We try to be creative and bring different options where all provinces will be comfortable, so it might vary a bit from province to province,” says Bibeau. “We’re not at the point where I can share very concrete things. It’s always in the air, but as a federal minister, I try to find all the means that will contribute to reducing our emissions.

Farmer groups are calling for increased funding for the global framework, but Bibeau does not say if there is consensus on increasing the size of the global pot for the new deal:

“We always talk a little about dollars, but I will simply say that for our government, one of the priorities is really to reduce our emissions. And that is why, in the last budget, we announced an additional $1 billion for direct incentives to farmers, for investments in clean technologies. So that gives you an idea of ​​where to go, and I think we put our money where our mouth is. From a federal perspective, that’s really what I’m looking for. And we’ll see where we can land, where we can find common ground by July.

Regarding the ongoing avian flu outbreak, Bibeau says ministers discussed the possibility of provinces seeking assistance from AgriRecovery in the event of a disaster if additional support is needed. She also notes that the extension of the AgriStability registration deadline from April 30 to June 30 announced last week could allow poultry producers affected by the outbreak to participate in AgriStability.

The annual summit of agriculture ministers — the last before the current FPT agreement expires in March — is scheduled for July 20-22 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

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