There is an election campaign happening in Canada and various farm organizations and some of their spokespeople are telling the political parties running candidates, their leaders, and anyone else who cares, ‘take heed – farming is important, too’.
Tom Teichroeb, a cattle rancher at Langruth, MB says Conservatives, NDP, and Liberals where is the agricultural industry debate referring to it as the multi-billion part of Canada’s total economy.
“One fifth of all jobs depends on the ag industry. It’s worth it!”
While Teichroeb represents the cattle industry, the pig people aren’t far behind.
Rick Bergmann, chair of the Canadian Pork Council encourages the leaders of Canada’s political parties and the candidates running for election to take a stand for the future of Canadian hog production.
Bergmann says CPC’s 2015 Canadian Pork Industry Platform for the 2015 federal election outlines key industry concerns to help stimulate dialogue and build awareness.
“The big umbrella is building a stronger future for our industry here in Canada,” he says. “Underneath that umbrella there is a whole gambit of different priorities.”
Bergmann says risk management programs to help hog producers through the challenging years, trade and biosecurity, animal health, enabling or ensuring a strong work force for the future are a few of the priority items within the document.

“It’s critically important that producers do take this upon themselves to have a visit with those who want to be in government in their areas to ensure they hear our message at the grassroots level,” he said. “We have a great relationship within Ottawa and, that said, our membership are across the country in many regions and it’s great when they can have a local conversation with their MPs and the people in leadership to ensure our message gets heard across the country in different ways.”
Bergmann says the Canadian Pork Council has an opportunity with the membership across the county to help everybody become more aware of the industry, the needs it has and its past successes.
In Saskatchewan, Florian Possberg the chair of the Saskatchewan Pork Development Board is calling on candidates to maintain the existing commitment to trade.
While focusing on Saskatchewan because that is where Possberg is from, trade is one of the priority issues for pork producers not only in Saskatchewan but as Bergmann says across all of Canada,
“The whole issue around trade is very important to us,” said Possberg. “We’ve been fighting the U.S. over Country of Origin Labelling and we’ve had strong support from our government leaders on that issue and it’s not quite resolved and it looks like it’s going to go past the election so whoever the government is and people responsible for the ag portfolio, we need them onside in terms of finally getting a proper resolution to M-COOL.”
Possberg says the Canadian livestock industry needs full repeal of M-COOL because it treats the livestock industry in Canada unfairly.
“As well, there are several trade negotiations ongoing and not completed, whether it’s CETA with the European common market or TPP, Trans-Pacific,” says Possberg. “There are other agreements being negotiated with India and China and various other key markets for us and so we want the high level of interest to continue past the election no matter what government is there.”
He says, from a national perspective, agriculture has trouble registering on the radar screen so it’s important for pork industry stakeholders to engage key players within the parties to make sure they’re aware of pork industry concerns are listening to those who can provide the right environment for the industry.
Back in Manitoba, delegates a recent Keystone Agricultural Producers passed a resolution calling on the federal and provincial governments to involve KAP and other farm groups in the decisions when developing the Growing Forward 3 program.
“This is an important process, and we must be at the table,” said KAP president Dan Mazier. “There is so much at stake. Business risk management programs in Growing Forward 2 are not meeting farmers’ needs, and we must look at new programming that is more robust and responsive to changes on the farm – and this includes the effects of climate change.”  •
— By Harry Siemens