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NEWS & MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


18 / April / 2016

 

 

AFA sees positives, challenges for agriculture in 2016 provincial budget

 

Lacombe, Alberta (April 18, 2016) – The 2016 Government of Alberta budget balances cost management at a time of revenue uncertainty while making infrastructure investments. There are changes affecting agriculture that will need to be implemented carefully.

 

That’s according to Lynn Jacobson, President of the Alberta Federation of Agriculture, Alberta's largest producer-funded general farm organization.

“These are challenging times, and the provincial government budget tabled on April 14 clearly reflects this fact,” says Jacobson. “There’s a lot of pressure to reduce expenditures and agriculture doesn’t expect to be immune. We took our fair share of cuts.”

For the province’s agriculture industry, the biggest change announced in the budget is the dissolution of the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA). The provincial government has framed this change as part of a broader effort to enhance the management, administration and operation of agencies, boards and commissions.

Jacobson explains that AFA sees this policy as reasonable in concept, but short on detail. Alberta farmers and ranchers want to see that projects underway at ALMA are smoothly transitioned to new management, so that progress on important files is maintained.

The budget also outlines planned investments in infrastructure, business development and labour training. AFA sees agriculture as an ideal candidate for such funding, and investment in agriculture under these policy areas could have been specifically spelled out in the budget.

“The government’s emphasis on communities, diversification and infrastructure aligns very well with the agriculture industry,” says Jacobson. “We can be a big contributor in these areas and we fully expect to be front and centre as plans are developed.”

AFA applauds the government’s decision to exempt farm fuel from the new carbon tax. However, natural gas, which is not exempt, is a major input in grain drying, irrigation and greenhouse production. Fuel is a significant expense on family farms and agriculture already provides extensive benefits to society in terms of carbon capture, water management, soil protection and other environmental services.

 

To Jacobson, this was a tough budget in a challenging year for the provincial economy, and agriculture is making a strong contribution.

“AFA looks forward to getting more detail on how changes to agriculture’s part of the budget will be made,” he says. “We’ll contribute constructively to the discussion and, as always, ensure that agriculture’s voice is heard loud and clear.”

Alberta Federation of Agriculture is Alberta's largest producer-funded general farm organization. Whenever decisions are being made that affect the province's agricultural industry, we're there, providing an effective voice for Alberta's farmers. For more information on AFA, please visit our website at: www.afaonline.ca


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For more information, please contact:

(Mr.) Lynn Jacobson, President at 403-894-5208   
Humphrey Banack, Vice President at 780-679-4449


 

 

 

Alberta Federation of Agriculture is Alberta's largest producer funded general farm organization. Whenever decisions are being made thataffect the province's agricultural industry, we're there, providing aneffective voice for Alberta's farmers. For more information on AFA,please visit our website at: www.afaonline.ca