Parliamentary Secretary Pierre Lemieux and MP Strahl hold pre-budget roundtable with farmers in Chilliwack

Chilliwack, British Columbia, January 9, 2013 - Pierre Lemieux, Parliamentary Secretary (PS) to the Minister of Agriculture, met with farmers in the Chilliwack area today to get their input on agriculture policies and to discuss ideas to generate future growth and economic prosperity. Member of Parliament Mark Strahl (Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon) hosted the roundtable discussion.

"Our government is focused on policies that create jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity for all Canadians," said PS Lemieux. "Meetings like this allow our government to work directly with farmers to develop innovative programs that will ensure agriculture remains a key driver of the Canadian economy."

PS Lemieux highlighted the successful year it has been for the grain industry with the open market for wheat and barley farmers coming into force August 1, 2012. The Canadian government introduced amendments to the Canada Grain Act, which will streamline and modernize the operations of Canada's grain industry, and announced the Fair Rail Freight Service Act, which will encourage railways and shippers to work together toward a stronger rail freight supply chain and a stronger economy.

In partnership with the Province of British Columbia, the Government of Canada is working to approve and implement projects under the AgriFlexibility Agreement to revitalize ranching in British Columbia and create long-term benefits for the tree fruit industry. The recently announced Growing Forward 2 suite of programs will invest in strategic initiatives in innovation, competitiveness, and market development to further strengthen the sector's capacity and earnings potential from a growing marketplace for Canadian agricultural products. Canadian families will also have a stronger food safety system thanks to the passage of the Safe Food for Canadians Act.

"Our government knows how important agriculture is to the economy, particularly here in British Columbia," said MP Strahl. "We are listening to farmers so our programs and priorities continue to meet their needs, today and into the future."

The Government will continue to invest in market development, market access, research, science, and innovation to keep Canadian farmers efficient and competitive, while providing predictable, stable, and bankable programs to help farmers weather disasters.

This roundtable was part of ongoing pre-budget consultations with farmers and agricultural stakeholders.

For more information, media may contact:

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

Jeff English
Press Secretary
The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
613-773-1059
jeffrey.english@agr.gc.ca

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