EDMONTON, ALBERTA -- (Marketwire) -- 01/21/13 -- Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz spoke at the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association's 43rd Annual Convention, "Capturing Opportunities in an Open Market" today, underscoring the wheat industry's vital role in creating jobs and economic growth in Canada.
"A revitalized wheat industry is part of the Government's overall modernization of the Canadian grain sector," said Minister Ritz. "Our Government has been working hard to help farmers unlock the full potential of wheat as an economic driver in Canada's crop sector today and into the future."
Wheat in Western Canada brings nearly $4 Billion to the farm gate and represents $5.6 Billion in exports. The Harper Government is creating new opportunities for the wheat sector through concrete measures, including: marketing freedom, legislative changes that enhance competitiveness, investing in innovation, developing markets, and pursuing an aggressive trade agenda.
The Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act, which received Royal Assent on December 15, 2011, is helping return wheat to a true cash crop for Western farmers, who are finding innovative ways to manage logistics and exports.
Amendments were also introduced to the Canada Grain Act as part of the Budget Implementation Act passed in December, to improve the Canadian Grain Commission's (CGC) producer payment protection program and eliminate mandatory CGC inward weighing and inward inspection - a move that will take $20 million out of the cost of shipping grain. These changes will reduce costs and the regulatory burden on producers, helping them become more competitive at home and abroad.
In addition, the government has introduced the Fair Rail Freight Service Act, to give shippers the right to a service agreement with the railways. Minister Ritz has also renewed the mandate of the Crop Logistics Working Group, to continue to work to improve the performance of the supply chain for all crops, with an emphasis on innovation, capacity, efficiency and stakeholder collaboration.
The Government continues to pursue an aggressive trade agenda, with 70% of the wheat grown in Canada being shipped beyond our borders. Growing Forward 2 will invest $3 Billion over five years in cost-shared strategic initiatives for innovation, competitiveness and market development. These strategic investments will help wheat growers grow the industry and help drive economic expansion in Canada.
Please visit the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act (www.agr.gc.ca/freedom) for more information on the wheat industry. For more information on the new policy framework, please visit Growing Forward 2 (www.agr.gc.ca/growingforward2).
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
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