By Geoff Agombar
Local Journalism Initiative
Up to $8 M in funding over three years has been announced to support connecting Canadian consumers and farmers.
Compton-Stanstead MP and Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau and members of the Canadian Agricultural Youth Council (CAYC) appeared via web conference to launch the AgriCommunication Initiative.
“Public trust and confidence are precious,” said Bibeau. ““More than ever, our customers in Canada and abroad want to know where their food comes from. How was it produced? What is the environmental footprint? How do we ensure the animals are well-treated?” Bibeau added.
“A stronger relationship of trust and transparency between farmers and consumers are vital to a more competitive agri-foods sector for the future,” Bibeau declared.
CAYC co-chair Jerry Bos, a dairy farmer from New Brunswick, celebrated this federal investment in agricultural awareness. Along with sustainability and the fight against climate change, Bos said public trust has been top of mind in their conversations with the minister since forming the council last year.
“We all need to tell the real story about agriculture. Canadian agriculture has a long and successful history of sustainability, innovation, and has time and time again risen to the challenges our industry has faced,” Bos explained. “Never before has the divide between society and agriculture been so large.”
“As farmers, we have a responsibility to make meaningful connections with Canadians. Our future and the future of agriculture depend on it. Around the world consumers are demanding the backstory of our food and if we can’t satisfy that need, they’ll go elsewhere,” Bos warned.
Samuel Lanctôt of Ferme Bec-O Lanctôt in Compton comes from a dairy farming family but has built an egg farm of his own. He holds a masters in animal sciences and joined the CAYC to advance discussions of the issues facing his generation and industry.
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