HALIFAX (GNB) – Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Margaret Johnson met with her Atlantic counterparts today to discuss approaches for the next agricultural policy framework and potential opportunities for collaboration to support the sector.

“I was pleased to participate in this valuable gathering to discuss common concerns and compare notes on best practices,” said Johnson. “In looking at the next policy framework at the national level, it is critical that the Atlantic provinces are unified in our support for the agricultural sector and increasing production. The new framework is meant to position our agri-food producers and processors and others in the sector as world leaders in sustainable agriculture and enable a globally competitive sector. My department looks forward to continuing to work with our Atlantic colleagues representing the region’s needs. Our agriculture sector is an important part of New Brunswick’s economy.”

The next agricultural policy framework is being developed by the federal, provincial and territorial governments to provide agriculture policy and programming. It will replace the Canadian Agriculture Program (CAP) when it expires March 31, 2023.

“The global pandemic highlighted the importance of local agriculture and food supply chains, and that also applies to Atlantic Canada,” said Nova Scotia Agriculture Minister Greg Morrow. “Making sure our farms are healthy and sustainable is a top priority for each of us. We need to help ensure our farmers can achieve that goal while facing rising fuel and fertilizer costs that also result from global conditions.”

Among other matters, the group discussed rising production costs, the mental health of farmers, and emergency preparedness.

“As we have through the heights of the pandemic, it’s important for agriculture leaders in the region to continue to work together and identify areas of need as well as opportunities for growth in our industry,” said Prince Edward Island Minister of Agriculture and Land Bloyce Thompson. “While we know that local and regional agriculture sectors are experiencing similar difficulties due to global constraints, we also know that with collaboration and support our farmers can continue to lead our communities towards an economically and environmentally sustainable future, and we look forward to the work ahead.”

“Current global issues affecting the agriculture sector are hitting close to home and serve as a strong reminder of the close connection Atlantic Canadians share,” said Newfoundland and Labrador Minister of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture Derrick Bragg. “I am grateful for the support and co-operation of our Atlantic counterparts as we continue working together to increase food self-sufficiency, and continue building a strong, sustainable agriculture sector for the future.”

This meeting of Atlantic ministers was held in advance of the federal-provincial-territorial ministers of agriculture annual meeting in Saskatoon in July.