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Little in Federal Budget for Agriculture


March 5, 2010
By Canadian Federation of Agriculture

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Little in Federal Budget for Agriculture
The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) says that it is disappointed at the lack of new money and initiatives announced for the agri-food sector in yesterday's federal budget.

March 5, 2010 – The Canadian
Federation of Agriculture
(CFA) says that it is disappointed at the
lack of new money and initiatives announced for the agri-food sector in
yesterday's federal budget.

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"Dubbed a 'Jobs and Growth Budget,' we had hoped the budget would show increased investment in the agri-food sector – a sector which was recognized in the Speech from the Throne as an industry that is the foundation for Canada's prosperity and supports thousands of communities, both rural and urban, and provides one out of every eight jobs in 2008," said Laurent Pellerin, CFA President.  "We had hoped to see some initiatives that would encourage and assist new entrants to provide the needed growth and increased stability within the sector."
 
The CFA was, however, pleased to see money targeted under the previously announced AgriFlexibility program to assist the competitiveness of the cattle sector.  While not new money, the CFA was relieved to see government augment the amount of funds available under the Slaughter Improvement Program to support the introduction of new effective technologies for the disposal of Specified Risk Material (SRM), assist processing plants handling cattle over-30-months of age, and develop and commercialize SRM disposal technologies. 
 
It was also encouraged to see the government maintain reduced tariffs on imported equipment – providing possible benefits for agricultural capital purchases as well as the announcement of the creation of the Red Tape Reduction Commission – which will hopefully result in increased efficiencies in the long-term for Canadian farmers and their businesses.
 
However, it was alarmed to see no mention of the Election Campaign promise of the 2 cent/litre diesel fuel reduction which was announced in the last budget but remained unimplemented.  The CFA was also surprised there was no mention of allowing new entrants or young farmers to use their RRSP's for a one-time purchase of capital on their farms or reference to supporting the Cooperative Investment Program – both of which were recommended to the Finance Department by the Finance Committee following Budget hearing and submissions.
 
"The Government has consistently indicated it is putting Farmers First," added Pellerin.  "We had hoped to see additional measures announced to help tide the struggling hog and cattle sector over until the next generation of agricultural programming can be developed and implemented, but remain optimistic the government will continue to show flexibility in working with us in addressing some of these outstanding issues in the coming months – to ensure we can continue to work towards a renewed and strengthened agriculture sector."