Each summer, careful consideration goes into developing Standing Policies and associated messaging. An important part of the policy development process is hearing from the people affected by the policies. There are mechanisms in issue management, watching trends, discussion at committee, Executive and Council of Leaders that provide input, however hearing from our members is key. To direct action on a Standing Policy, we must convey the issue and the impact of an issue on farms (or the industry) along with practical solutions when lobbying decision makers.
We invite you to review the themes that the Policy Team have explored as key areas for NSFA Standing Policy 2020:
Agriculture Land: The focus has been for quite some time on ensuring healthy, viable agriculture land for current and prospective farmers. Progress is being made under direction from the Agriculture Land Policy Committee, therefore actions for this policy will continue to progress the recommendations in the various land reports from the last ten years and implementing an agriculture land strategy for the province.
Labour: The Labour Standing Policy has focused heavily on skills development, training and addressing the labour gap within the industry. With recent funding from the Department of Labour and Advanced Education, NSFA’s outreach team will be delivering training and resources to the farm community. The Trade Advisory Committee continues to meet and inform the Farm Technician Apprenticeship Program which is expected to launch in 2020. While the training and skills gap will be addressed in practice, other challenges with labour have been identified, particularly the regulatory framework. It is suggested that the 2020 policy on labour will focus on how the current regulatory framework is a hindrance in addressing the labour gap.
Transportation: The purpose of the Transportation Standing Policy is to focus on the impending regulations under the Traffic Safety Act (TSA). Through NSFA’s Transportation Committee, NSFA has developed recommendations to improve moving equipment on the roads, licensing and registration under the new regulations. Consulting and lobbying on the TSA regulations will continue to be a top priority for NSFA.
Regulatory Alignment: This policy had different names over the years from Red Tape to Regulatory Burden. The purpose has always remained the same – ensure that legislation and regulations influence a prosperous and sustainable future for Nova Scotia farms and farmers. For 2020, it is expected that NSFA will continue to lobby on biosecurity training and procedures for inspection officers as well as reviewing challenges with regards to animal welfare. From a monitoring perspective, NSFA will continue to communicate opportunities to consult on changes as they apply to farm businesses.
Soil Health: New for 2020, the Policy Team is introducing a Soil Health Standing Policy. The intentions are to bring the importance of healthy agriculture soils to a top priority for decision makers. NSFA has started work on this area, particularly in the land file. Considerations for this policy will include the development of a comprehensive soil health improvement program, protection from top soil removal and strategies to mitigate against erosion.
Draft versions of the policies will be available in October, ahead of the November NSFA AGM and will be presented on at County/Regional Federations’ AGMs in the fall. In the meantime, for more information or to provide input on Standing Policies, NSFA members are welcomed to contact NSFA Policy and Research Coordinator, Maxine MacLean. (902-893-2293 or firstname.lastname@example.org)