What sustainability looks like in the agriculture industry was a key topic discussed at a recent Canadian Federation of Agriculture Summer Board Meeting in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
In conjunction with the Board Meeting, members of the CFA also met with the federal, provincial, and territorial agriculture ministers in a roundtable meeting, which covered the landscape of Canadian agriculture in its current state.
Ian Boxall, president of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan, was there, and believes there are 3 key areas of sustainability for the industry to thrive – economic sustainability for the producer, societal sustainability, and environmental sustainability.
“One doesn’t work without the other,” Boxall said. “When it comes to sustainability immediately when people hear that word they think environmental – that’s all find and dandy – but if producers aren’t profitable…that’s not going to work either, so it definitely is an approach that needs to encompass all of those aspects – societal, the things that farmers do that benefit everybody in Canada, farmers need to be profitable, and we care more about the environment than they ever get credit for, and I think those are some of the messages that we try to portray to the ministers at the roundtable.”
Boxall hopes they got their message across to the ministers.
“The farmers need to be included in the conversation when it comes to (sustainability), and especially here in Western Canada because we adopted our practices and done things a lot differently without government pressure, we did it because it was the right thing to do and farmers will continue to do that as things change,” he said. “So we’ll adapt to ensure our soil is looked after and everything’s looked after and yet do it in a profitable way, so I hope they heard the message.”
These meetings were held the same time as the Federal, Provincial, and Territorial Agriculture Ministers met last week.