Government of Canada Strengthens Agroforestry Co-operation with the United States

Washington, DC, April 17, 2012 – Canadian producers and agricultural researchers now have new opportunities for co-operation in agroforestry in the United States after a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

"Our government’s top priority remains the economy, and by strengthening our relationship with the United States, we are helping create new opportunities for our agriculture industry and more prosperity for all Canadians," said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. "Today’s agreement demonstrates a strong and growing relationship between Canada and the U.S. for the benefit of producers and consumers in both countries."

The MOU solidifies the beneficial working relationship that already exists between AAFC’s Agroforestry Development Centre, located in Indian Head, Saskatchewan, and the USDA’s National Agroforestry Center, located in Lincoln, Nebraska.

"We support agroforestry as a land management approach because it helps landowners achieve certain natural resource goals, such as clean water and productive soils," said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "But it does much more. Clean water is a precious natural resource, and America's economic success is directly related to a continuous and abundant supply of clean water."

Signed by AAFC’s Deputy Minister John Knubley and USDA’s Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan during a ceremony in Washington today, this MOU increases co-operation in research and development of agroforestry science and tools, and it reinforces collaboration within the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, of which Canada and the United States are members.

The Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases is an international network of more than 30 member-countries that coordinates and increases agricultural research on greenhouse gas mitigation and makes new mitigation technologies and beneficial management practices available to farmers worldwide.

For more information on AAFC’s Agroforestry Development Centre, visit www.agr.gc.ca/agroforestry.

For more information on the Global Research Alliance, visit http://www.globalresearchalliance.org/.

Backgrounder

This MOU will ensure the sharing of best practices in agroforestry between Canada and the U.S. In Canada, AAFC’s Agroforestry Development Centre promotes the environmental and economic benefits of integrating trees with agricultural system through research in tree genetics and performance, agroforestry design, and awareness of agroforestry practices.

Growing trees in combination with crops, forage, and livestock enhances yields, reduces soil losses, conserves moisture, recycles nutrients, sequesters carbon from the atmosphere, and reduces the environmental impacts of agricultural operations. Trees and shrubs can also add directly to a farm’s bottom line when they are managed to produce high-value timber or other tree product, such as fruit.

This MOU is another example of the strong collaboration between the two countries on agriculture. Previous agreements have facilitated the discussion on agriculture trade and market access, sanitary and phytosanitary issues, as well as other areas of mutual interest in agriculture.

For more information, media may contact:

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa (Ontario)
613-773-7972
1-866-345-7972

Meagan Murdoch
Director of Communications
The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
613-773-1059

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