The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau shares why it’s important for youth to enter the agriculture sector and what challenges the industry is currently facing.
What are you looking forward to in the agriculture industry as we approach 2022?
Our government is focused on helping our farm businesses adopt sustainable practices and technologies. Sustainability is at the heart of the next federal-provincial-territorial policy framework for agriculture, which is set to begin in 2023. Farmers know that safeguarding the environment not only preserves the farm for future generations but opens new markets as the global demand for sustainable foods continues to grow. A win for our environment is a win for our economy.
What agricultural challenges is Canada currently facing and what are we doing to tackle them?
The extreme weather events that have taken place over the past weeks and months have been a major challenge. My heart goes out to all those who have been impacted. These events are stark reminders that farmers and ranchers are among the hardest hit by climate change. The Government of Canada stands with farmers and ranchers, and continues to listen to their needs and to take action to respond. In addition to the suite of business risk management programs that help agricultural producers manage risks that threaten the viability of their farms, our government has invested over $500 million in agri-environmental programs, including the Agricultural Clean Technology Program, to help producers acquire the latest environmentally-friendly practices and technologies.
What sets Canada apart as a leader in agricultural innovation?
Canadian farmers are helping Canada become a global leader in sustainable agriculture, thanks to innovations in plant and livestock genetics, precision farming technologies, and farm practices such as cover crops and reduced tillage. And we’re helping them keep up the great work. Canadian innovations such as initiatives following the living lab approach, which brings farmers and researchers together in the field to develop and share knowledge and best management practices, have a huge potential to accelerate the adoption of sustainable farming practices around the world.
Why is it important to encourage young people to consider a career path in agriculture?
Young people are the future of our sector and our food security. I’m working hard to encourage more young people to consider a career in agriculture. Students interested in fields such as environmental science, technology, engineering, or mathematics may have their dream job awaiting them in agriculture and agri-food. We’re also supporting youth leadership in the sector through the Canadian Agricultural Youth Council. Increasing diversity, which includes youth and under-represented groups, is key for having an innovative and sustainable agriculture sector.