The Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) has identified some key announcements for agriculture in the recent federal budget.
The CCA says agriculture themes included supply chain resiliency, climate-smart agriculture, labour, and key investments in rural infrastructure. They also noted a commitment to continue investing in the Canadian Agriculture Partnership, which is to be renewed in 2023.
Fawn Jackson, CCA director of policy and international affairs, says they were pleased to see
increased investment in resilient supply chains.
"There was around $600 million of the budget that was indicated for that," says Jackson. "I think when we're thinking of infrastructure, $600 million doesn't look like it goes really far, but there have been other previous investments of infrastructure around the $4 billion mark, and they've indicated that those dollars are really going to now be focused on building these resilient supply chains."
CCA President Reg Schellenberg says the budget includes strategic investments that can support and enhance our industry’s role in Canada’s green economy.
"The impact of the devastating flooding in BC is just one example of many highlighting the need for investment in critical infrastructure to ensure supply chain resiliency."
Jackson notes another key announcement was $48.2 million for a new foreign labour program for agriculture and fish processing.
She believes there's currently an enormous opportunity with the global market and demand, particularly for Canadian agriculture products and beef.
"Last year, we saw just under a 40 per cent increase in our trade export in value. So it really showcases how big the demand is out there, but the demand is even bigger than that.
"What's really limiting our ability to access those international markets even further is labour in Canada. It's not just labour at the processing facilities, but it's actually labour all along the supply chain, you know, on the farms, in the transport sector, in the processing facilities."
She says they have been long-time advocates for agriculture-specific solutions, and are pleased such a program included that will enhance those labour shortages.
A highlight of the rural infrastructure investment is the $2.75 billion earmarked for the Universal Broadband Fund to improve high-speed Internet access in rural and remote areas.
While many pieces of what the CCA advocated for were included in the budget, others will require further engagement, including the investment in a Foot and Mouth Disease vaccine bank and the creation of additional trade technical support in the Indo-Pacific region.