B.C. growers want more ag “investment”
Jan. 19, 2011, Abbotsford, B.C. – The B.C. Agriculture Council (BCAC) is
challenging both the B.C. Liberal Party and NDP leadership contenders to
articulate what policies they would put into practice to help establish
a strong vibrant provincial agriculture sector if they were to become
Jan. 19, 2011, Abbotsford, B.C. – The B.C. Agriculture Council (BCAC) is challenging both the B.C. Liberal Party and NDP leadership contenders to articulate what policies they would put into practice to help establish a strong vibrant provincial agriculture sector if they were to become premier.
The BCAC is very encouraged by the agriculture position statement released by leadership contender George Abbott on Jan. 13 as outlined in his plan for rural B.C., Unlocking the Potential of Rural British Columbia. The position includes key priorities that have long been advocated by the BCAC – including investments in agricultural branding and marketing to increase awareness of B.C. products, expanding extension services and establishing a permanent predator control program.
“Support for agriculture through policies and programs such as those put forward by Abbott needs to be viewed as a sound long-term investment,” said BCAC chair and Abbotsford area turkey farmer Garnet Etsell. “Investments in agriculture will not only help the agriculture and agri-food sector but will also help the Province meet its economic, health, environmental and societal goals – this is clearly something that is in the public interest.”
As a direct result of recurring cuts to spending on agriculture by successive provincial governments, expenditures on the agri-food sector in B.C. are now the lowest in the country. “We have had many supportive ministers over the years, but agriculture has never been high on the agenda for either the premier of the province or the government overall,” said Etsell, “which is why the BCAC is raising agriculture as an issue in the Liberal Leadership race and will be doing the same in the NDP process.”
The BCAC is encouraging all farmers, ranchers and anyone else with an interest in agriculture to get directly involved in both Leadership votes. “This is an unprecedented opportunity to significantly raise the profile of agriculture within the leadership of both the government and official opposition,” said Etsell, “so we are persuading everyone to get directly involved and to vote for the Leader with the strongest pro-agriculture position.”