Today, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri‑Food, took part in the 96th Congress of the Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA), where she announced investments totalling more than $4.2 million to establish the Living Laboratories Initiative in Quebec’s Saint Pierre Lake region. Carried out in collaboration with the UPA and many partners from the agri food industry, federal, provincial and municipal governments, and First Nations, this initiative will help the region’s farmers to develop innovative practices that will allow them to:
- reduce fertilizer and pesticide use and soil compaction;
- keep vegetative cover on the ground year round to decrease soil erosion and maintain the soil’s physical, chemical and biological health;
- minimize shoreline erosion and protect the integrity of waterways that travel through the agricultural landscape;
- reduce the environmental impact of animal production.
Among the investments announced, more than $1.6 million will go to the UPA and its partners to implement the various activities and $2.6 million will fund the work of scientists from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Natural Resources Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada who are supporting the project.
The Minister also highlighted the recent announcement of significant investments for supply-managed producers as a result of the Government of Canada’s commitment to provide full and fair compensation for market access concessions negotiated under the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Progressive and Comprehensive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (PTPGC).
Following the August 2019 announcement of $1.75 billion over eight years to compensate Canadian dairy producers, a cash payment totalling $345 million was made between December 2019 and January 2020 to more than 10,000 dairy producers. The remaining $1.405 billion will be paid out in direct payments over a period of only three years. Dairy producers will receive cash payments based on their milk quota of $468 million in 2020-2021, $469 million in 2021-2022 and $468 million in 2022-2023. The owner of a farm with 80 cows will receive approximately $38,000 per year in direct payments.
Canadian chicken, egg, broiler hatching egg and turkey producers will benefit from investments totalling $691 million for 10-year programs that will stimulate innovation and growth for producers. These measures will help supply-managed sectors remain competitive as they adapt to new market realities.
Intent on protecting agricultural businesses against income declines due to the level of risk they are exposed to, the Minister reiterated her commitment to optimizing business risk management programs so that they better reflect the new realities of the sector. The Minister recalled that the federal government tabled a proposal at the FPT meeting to make changes that would increase the overall amount paid out by AgriStability to farmers by 50%. This proposal will be examined in more detail by the provinces and territories.
The Minister finally noted that an FPT working group will soon be established and will consult with experts and members of the industry on the concerns of processors, producers and independent grocers regarding the recent increase in fees charged by retailers to suppliers.
“Quebec families are fortunate to be able to count on dedicated agricultural producers who are the envy of the world. The strength, dynamism and innovation demonstrated by Quebec producers are key factors that will enable us to meet the challenges raised by the pandemic. We will continue to work together to continue to foster the growth and success of the Quebec agricultural model.”
– The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri‑Food
“The UPA is very pleased to count on the support of AAFC to continue its efforts to improve the Saint-Pierre Lake ecosystem. The Living Labs Initiative 2020-2023 allows us to accelerate the adoption of good agricultural practices in three watersheds located upstream from Saint-Pierre Lake, while highlighting the strong commitment of the producers who have lived and farmed there for decades. Every effort will be made to improve water quality, biodiversity and land management in the targeted watersheds using a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach (agricultural producers, researchers, stakeholders including the Waban-Aki Nation).”
– Marcel Groleau, General President of the Union des producteurs agricoles
The amounts announced for dairy producers on November 28th build on CETA’s $250 million on-farm investment program and provide certainty as to the timing and form of the remaining payments as part of the $2 billion compensation package for dairy producers.
Federal, Provincial and Territorial (FPT) Ministers of Agriculture held their two-day virtual conference on November 20 and 27 where they discussed, among other things, the future of business risk management programs, the balance in the retailer-supplier relationship, the labour issue, African Swine Fever, as well as the setting of key priorities and the design of the next Agricultural Policy Framework.
The Living Laboratories Initiative is part of a $70‑million investment from Budget 2017 to support agricultural discovery science and innovation, with a focus on climate change and soil and water conservation.
The Living Laboratories Initiative in Quebec is located inside the large Saint‑Pierre Lake hydrographic basin, along the St. Lawrence River. Its activities will primarily take place in three areas:
- the Bois-Blanc River watershed in the Mauricie and Lanaudière regions;
- the Rivière du Pot-au-Beurre watershed in the Montérégie Est region;
- a region made up of small ponds that drain directly into Saint‑Pierre Lake, known as the Saint‑Pierre Lake south shore watershed, in the Centre-du-Québec region.