As a follow up to yesterday’s federal budget summary, we would like to highlight some initiatives significant to farmers.
Growing the Agriculture and Agri-Food Sector
The Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector is a vital part of our economy that supports both rural and urban communities across the country. At its foundation are the farmers and ranchers that work hard to feed Canada and the world.
The current five-year policy framework, Growing Forward 2 (2013–18), includes spending of $3 billion by federal, provincial and territorial governments, and emphasizes support for agricultural and agri-food innovation, competitiveness, and market development. [Note: no additional expenditures were committed.]
Investing In Agricultural Science
To support modern agricultural science in Canada, Budget 2016 proposed to provide $30 million over 6 years, starting in 2016–17, to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to support advanced research in agricultural genomics.
Science and research supports the agriculture and agri-food sector’s productivity and competitiveness by contributing to the development of new products and processes, promoting environmental sustainability, and reducing threats from diseases and pests.
Public agricultural research is particularly important in addressing emerging issues, such as climate change, which have broad implications for agriculture and agri-food producers across the sector.
Investments in specialized scientific equipment and expertise will allow Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to accelerate the DNA analysis and digital recording of the department’s collection of over 17 million physical specimens of insects, plants, fungi, bacteria and nematodes. This will improve public accessibility to this collection and will support research in priority areas, including climate change and the rapid identification and prevention of biological threats to agriculture.
As part of the federal infrastructure initiative, Budget 2016 proposed to provide $41.5 million, on a cash basis, starting in 2016–17, to support the rehabilitation and modernization of select Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Canadian Food Inspection Agency research stations and laboratories in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec.
In addition to ensuring that these assets are in a good state of repair, this investment will facilitate advanced biological and environmental research through the procurement of state-of-the-art scientific equipment.
Supporting Water Infrastructure in Saskatchewan
Dams and other water control structures in southern Saskatchewan support the irrigation needs of farmers and ranchers, provide recreational opportunities for Canadian families, and assist in ensuring communities have access to clean and sustainable water sources.
The Government is committed to working collaboratively with the Government of Saskatchewan to continue the transfer of federally owned dams to the Saskatchewan Water Security Agency to better serve Saskatchewan’s water and water infrastructure needs. (Note: no additional expenditures were committed.)