Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
The Honourable Gerry Ritz
Riding: Battlefords-Lloydminster (Saskatchewan)
Gerry Ritz was appointed Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food in August 2007, after serving as Secretary of State for Small Business and Tourism. He was first elected to the House of Commons in 1997 and also represents his native Saskatchewan as Regional Minister.
Born in Delisle, Saskatchewan and raised on a family farm, Minister Ritz is passionate about seeing farmers and the Canadian agricultural industry thrive in the domestic and international marketplace.
Over his seven years as Agriculture Minister he has led over 30 trade missions to open and expand international markets for Canadian farmers and food processors, helping Canadian agricultural and food exports hit all-time highs. The Minister has been recognized with a number of industry awards for his work in restoring and expanding Canadian beef and pork to key markets around the world. He also works closely with industry, academia and other levels of government here at home to invest in science and innovation. These investments help create new economic opportunities for Canada's farmers and agriculture businesses.
Under his leadership, several key agricultural legislative reforms have been passed, including the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act in 2012, which removed the mandatory requirement to market wheat and barley through the Canadian Wheat Board, allowing western Canadian wheat and barley farmers to market their grain as they choose. Minister Ritz was also the driving force behind laws strengthening Canada's food safety system through the Safe Food for Canadians Act, and modernizing Canada's grain industry through reforms to the Canadian Grain Commission.
To allow Canada's agriculture and food industry capture new opportunities in the growing global marketplace, in 2013 Minister Ritz and his provincial and territorial colleagues launched Growing Forward 2, a $3-billion, five-year framework driving proactive initiatives around market development, innovation and competitiveness.
In addition to farming, Minister Ritz has owned and operated a general contracting business, and co-owned a weekly newspaper. He and his wife Judy live at Brightsand Lake in Western Saskatchewan. They have two children and three grandchildren.
The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food also oversees the following organizations:
- Canada Agricultural Review Tribunal
- Canadian Dairy Commission
- Canadian Grain Commission
- Canadian Wheat Board
- Farm Credit Canada
- Farm Products Council of Canada
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