Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture

Advocacy

Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture is the voice of Nova Scotia farmers on issues impacting the Agriculture industry.  This section is dedicated to highlighting issues and recommendations to be worked on in order to ensure a vibrant Agriculture industry in Nova Scotia.


Agricultural Land Discussion Paper and Recommendations

Agricultural land is land that is managed for farm use. These uses include pasture land, crop land, horticultural land, maple groves, Christmas tree, orchards and other maintained land. Ensuring availability of agricultural land allows for future generations to farm.

The government bodies that oversee land in Nova Scotia is cross jurisdictional. Planning and land use by-laws are developed at the municipal level while the province dictates what must be considered during the planning process. Adding more depth to the governance, in Nova Scotia there are 54 municipal governments in Nova Scotia – each having their own plan, if a plan even exists for that municipality, and own set of by-laws.

According to the 2016 Farmland Values report released by Farm Credit Canada, farmland values continue to rise across Nova Scotia. There are varying explanations for the increases including expanding farm growth and development. The development value is significantly greater than the agriculture value of the land. When farmland is located in prime development areas, for example Kings County, land owners often have to consider the choice that makes the most financial sense for their business and personal needs when they go to sell.

According to the “Preservation of Agricultural Land” report by the Agriculture Land Review Committee, Nova Scotia has a little over 29% (1.57 million hectares) if its land classed as Agriculture. Of these 1.57 million hectares, 181,915 hectares was being farmed in 2006. The report indicated that agriculture land abandonment, urban sprawl/development, soil fertility and impact of rising water on dykeland are all issues of concern that must be addressed. Loss of land to rising water levels and to development is land that will never be returned to agriculture. Statistics are unavailable on how much of the agriculture classed soils are now unavailable to future generations for farming due to development and rising water levels.

Land ownership can become burdensome. Farmers collectively own 30% of the privately owned land in Nova Scotia. With owning this vast amount of land comes legal liability and potential for damage. Regulations do not always protect a landowner if a trespasser is injured on their land at the cause of the trespasser and incidents have occurred where seeded fields were damaged to the point that reseeding was necessary. Cost of migration per parcel can be significant, particularly if multiple PIDs are required to be migrated. Property valuation can cause undue hardships. Exemption of agricultural land from property tax is written in legislation, however, there is sometimes confusion around what constitutes as agricultural land when Property Valuation Services makes updates to records.

There have been attempts made to address the loss of agricultural land. Land bank programs, programs for the development of agricultural land, and an attempt at protecting a specified amount of agricultural land through an EGSPA goal have all proven to have their challenges. Since the Community Easements Act came into place in Nova Scotia, the Annapolis Valley Farmland Trust has been an approved body to place easements on agricultural land. Doing so removes the development rights from the land. There are two holdbacks when recruit: a) the legal costs to place an easement are significant (~$15,000-$20,000) and b) there isn’t an incentive for the farmer to remove developments from their land.

During a meeting with the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture, the NSDA expressed concern over additional land development funding. Rationale for this concern was that there was funding put in place in the 1990’s for the development of agricultural land and that there was quite a bit (though immeasurable) of agricultural land going out of production for one reason or another.

In the 1970s, the Nova Scotia Farm Loan Board had a land banking program where they would purchase farm land and lease to farmers at a lower rate than the exorbitant high rates of the time. Over time, as rates dropped, leasing land wasn’t as cost effective as purchasing.

Recommendations:

  • The Government of Nova Scotia update the land inventory. This land inventory must include: active agricultural land, CLI classed soils, a comparative analysis to past studies to quantify the amount of agricultural land lost to development and lost to non-succession.
  • Following the proposed land inventory develop and action a strategy that will put overgrown land back into production.
  • Land that is actively farmed should remain taxed at 0%. Agriculture land that is taken out of production and no longer used for agriculture should be taxed at a resource rate.
  • The Statement of Provincial Interest should be strengthened and a land use policy developed to ensure that a quantity of land is planned sufficient enough for the agriculture industry in the respective municipality to grow. A recommended quantity, considering the 50% increase in exports from the Advisory Council on Economic Growth, would be 50% more land than what is currently being farmed the municipality.
  • Utilize the legal ability of the AVFLT to protect agricultural land for future generations. Write into the Ecological Goals and Sustainable Prosperities Act a goal to protect 5,000 acres within the 5 year review of the Act. Government can set an example for this protection by placing an easement on all community pastures and land owned by the province used by the Dal Agriculture Campus.
  • Develop a provincial land bank program. A land bank must compensate farmers for removing development rights from their farm land. The development rights will be removed through an easement process. The funds for this one time compensation to the land owner would be generated by stakeholders including but not limited lending institutions, Government of Nova Scotia and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
  • An interdepartmental approach to develop a plan for all land in Nova Scotia.
  • The Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture fund a study on the agricultural land inventory in Nova Scotia.

Labour and Skills Training Discussion Paper and Recommendations

Skilled labour is critical to any farm operation.  Trained employees increase farm productivity and efficiency.  Additionally, with sufficient labour, farms are able to add value to their products which creates an opportunity to increase revenues and grow markets.

The Canadian Agriculture Human Resource Council (CAHRC) conducted a study across Canadian farms and the agriculture industry to identify the gaps and associated costs.  The Labour Market Inventory report identified current trends in agriculture labour as well as projected trends based on population growth and distribution.  The report identified the unique labour market challenges that the industry faces and how these will evolve over the coming years.

The Labour Market Inventory report analyzed the needs, barriers and opportunities for each of the provinces.  The Nova Scotia report discovered in 2014, 9,200 people were employed in agriculture and 15% of those were made up of foreign workforce.  With that, there were 500 jobs left unfilled which lead to $15 million in lost sales due to labour shortages.  The report projected that in 2025 there will be 11,300 workers required in the agriculture industry.  Between 2014 and 2025, CAHRC anticipated 29% of the workforce will be lost to retirement, creating a labour gap of 3500 people.  Over the ten year forecast period, the most difficult positions to fill will be the managers in agriculture positions and general farm worker positions.  There will also be a gap in the harvesting labourers and nursery and greenhouse workers.

The reasons for the labour shortage varied.  Recruiting employees is often difficult because the jobs are in the rural regions and skill availability is insufficient.  Employee retention has challenges as well, including variability of work hours, quantity of working hours and insufficient compensation.

Prince Edward Island faces a similar situation to what is experienced in Nova Scotia.  Reasons for labour shortage are comparable to those in Nova Scotia, though the industries in each province are somewhat different.  A tool that PEI uses to address the training and skill deficit is through a Farm Technician Apprenticeship Program.   The PEI Farm Apprenticeship Technician program is a designated blue seal trade.  It is a block release module of five weeks each over a two-year program and the applicant needs 1000 hours to enroll.  It was identified that a program in Nova Scotia could model the two-year block release program that covers modules of general farm operation, soils, pesticide application, food and farm safety, basic shop repair, record keeping, communications, and more.

Farm Safety Nova Scotia (FSNS) coordinates a variety of training courses targeted to farmers and farm employees.  Farm Safety Nova Scotia has worked with commodities to address specific safety concerns through courses like grain-bin rescue, Wild Blueberry harvester operator course and tractor operator course.  These courses, along with others that FSNS is involved with, increase competency and thus safety on farms.

Recommendations:

  • The Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency must work with the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture to implement an apprenticeship program for farm employees and managers.
  • Department of Labour and Advanced Education continue to offer industry specific training for agriculture employees and farmers including WIPSI and Workplace Education courses.
  • Thinkfarm and Dalhousie Faculty of Agriculture Extended Learning work with Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture to study short and long term training needs for the agriculture industry.
  • CAHRC benchmark the labour market every five years to understand if improvements are made to the forecast and which issues need to be further addressed.

Programs Discussion Paper and Recommendations

Awareness

According to recent census data, the Nova Scotia population is continuing to out-migrate from rural regions of Nova Scotia to urbanized centres.  This alludes to that not only are Nova Scotians further removed from agriculture by another generational degree, they are also becoming further distanced from rural life and understanding the socio-economic importance of agriculture and spin-off industries.

Increasing Public Awareness of the Agriculture industry in Nova Scotia will address two issues: one being increase the public understanding of farm practices and the stringent regulations that govern the industry; and in turn gain public trust.  The activities executed to garner public trust must be farmer delivered, which in turn must also be farmer initiated to ensure industry buy in.

The current agriculture awareness format is delivered contradictory to recent studies.  While there are farmer positions on the Nova Scotia Agriculture Awareness Committee, the committee and events are government organized.  A central organizing body for events and resources is essential for success and continuity, however, a farmer/industry driven approached would be most suitable for public buy in.  Increasing awareness about agriculture in Nova Scotia can be addressed across multiple mediums.  Successful tools used to educate students include Nova Scotia teachers and activity guide, hands on activities like chick-hatches and AgZone.  General events, like Open Farm Day, Meet Your Farmers at the Mall and Agriculture Literacy Month at local libraries draw great attendance and could be greatly enhanced with increased farmer participation.

Positions:

  • All tools and resources to educate and inform Nova Scotians about Agriculture must be representative of the industry in the province.
  • Resource content and events must be farmer and industry driven.
  • Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture must commit to regularly fund surveying Nova Scotians perceptions of Agriculture conducted through the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity.

Markets and Trade

The Advisory Council of Economic Growth has identified Agriculture as a key industry to grow Canada’s export market.  With an ambitious goal of increasing agfood exports by $30 billion over the next ten years, there is the possibility of great potential for agriculture export growth.

Agriculture exports from Nova Scotia continues to be on the rise.  contribute .  This value is primarily made up of Christmas Trees, Apples, Mink, Wild Blueberries and Carrots.  Each of these commodities became a leaders in exports for this own individual reasons:

  • Blueberries grew their markets through the agri-marketing program
  • Mink on the rebound of an industry wide collapse, has a naturally strong, top quality product that dates back to early fur-trade days
  • Plant breeding technologies have developed apples to be grown efficiently in this region.

Other opportunities identified in these growth markets are niche or value added.  In order to address these markets, Quality Assurance Programs must be in place.  These third party certification programs conduct audits and provide assurance to the customer that the product was produced in the manner identified.

With the implementation of the Safe Food for Canadians Act and its applicable fees, regulatory changes and new control measures, farms selling produce direct to market across provincial boarders will be required to adhere to federal regulations.  Considering the commodity diversification that is present on farms in Nova Scotia, establishing a preventive control plan for each commodity would be an elaborate cost for farms.  By nature, farms selling direct to market are smaller in scale and income; adding the additional costs of an extensive preventive control plan would increase financial burden on the farm.  Keeping in line with the federal one-for-one rule, in the cases where fees will be required through the purchase of licenses and registrations are being implemented, there will be a time saving component by being able to apply for certificates online.

Recommendations:

  • Agriculture Policy Framework programs must maintain an AgriMarketing Fund to ensure that Commodities have access to market exploration and growing market access.
  • Funding to support farms with their Preventative Control Plans and other measures to bring them in line with the Safe Food for Canadians Act Regulations.

Capacity

The NS Commission on Building our new economy presented their report to the Provincial Government. The report says that, “At the same time, improving productivity and competitiveness in our foundational rural industries – tourism, agriculture, fisheries, forestry, mining and manufacturing – is essential if we are to build a stronger trade economy for the province as a whole. Embracing freer trade, and expanding the number of businesses that export to both traditional and emerging markets are additional priorities for changing the economic outlook for Nova Scotia.”  In order to improve productivity and competitiveness, capacity must be improved in order to do so.

Infrastructure deficits create barriers for farm growth.  Farms are naturally located in rural regions of the province which means utilities and business services are often limited.  Meat processing is an ever increasing concern for livestock farmers in Nova Scotia.  With natural livestock harvest cycles for custom processing and deer hunting season taking place at the same time, meat processing has a seasonal component to it which isn’t being met with inspected slaughter facilities.

Utilities like 3-phase power and broadband internet provides opportunity to for farmers upgrading their farm equipment.  With three phase power, farmers are able to use electricity more efficiently with three phase motors which are also less expensive to repair compared to their single-phase counterparts.  Technology is available to convert single phase power to three-phase which is presently being explored by Nova Scotia Power. The Canadian Radio-Television Consortium ruled in December that all Canadians will have access to broad-band internet.  This ruling will improve certain business needs of farms and businesses in rural communities such as online stores and security systems.

In 2014, Canadian Agriculture Human Resource Council released a report titled The Labour Market Inventory which analyzed the needs, barriers and opportunities for labour in each of the provinces.  The Nova Scotia report discovered in 2014, 9,200 people were employed in agriculture and 15% of those were made up of foreign workforce.  With that, there were 500 jobs left unfilled which lead to $15 million in lost sales due to labour shortages.  The report projected that in 2025 there will be 11,300 workers required in the agriculture industry.  Between 2014 and 2025, CAHRC anticipated 29% of the workforce will be lost to retirement, creating a labour gap of 3500 people.  Over the ten year forecast period, the most difficult positions to fill will be the managers in agriculture positions and general farm worker positions.  There will also be a gap in the harvesting labourers and nursery and greenhouse workers.

The majority of commodities in Nova Scotia are limited by the province’s short growing season.  As technology advances, farmers seek innovated ways to grow their business.  Season extension structures and tile drainage have allowed farmers to increase their land mass and the season in which products are grown.  Also, barriers like restricting farms that, by regulation, are not required to have a food safety plan for food safety equipment funding is not supporting farm growth nor promoting food safety.

Recommendations:

  • Programs should be designed to increase capacity for a sector or region. Funding to study the feasibility of opening and development of additional abattoirs in underserviced regions of Nova Scotia.
  • Funding to increase efficient energy on farm must be incorporated to allow for farms to reduce energy consumption and in turn reduce energy costs.
  • Ensure a healthy and safe agriculture workforce by funding core operations (Manager) for and programs offered by Farm Safety Nova Scotia.
  • To assist farms with energy requirements when adverse weather creates outages or unreliable power sources, funding for generators must be included.
  • Remove the requirement for farms to have accredited food safety plans to access funding for food safety equipment relevant to their operations. In addition to other funding areas that were in GF2, include tile drainage and season extension at 50%.

Research

Nova Scotia is home to the only Agriculture Faculty in Atlantic Canada, a resourceful extension corporation and a Federal Research Station.  These resources make it possible to have timely, regional and commodity specific research available for farmers to improve farm operations and practices.

In 2014, ADAPT funding was canceled with a national program taking its place to address collaborative research.  Prior to the program’s cancellation, ADAPT was proven to be effective in addressing the sensitivity of local, sectoral, regional and provincial needs of farmers.  A one size fits all approach does not respond effectively to the uniqueness and varied circumstances among provinces and regions across the country.

To address specific issues, research chairs have proven to be effective. Research Chairs are an invaluable resource that can hone in on key issues impacting the industry including energy and nutrient management planning.  Commodities including both Beef and Mink were able to secure Research Chairs to address critical, commodity specific issues.  To secure a Research Chair, substantial amounts of funds must be raised and a minimum of a five year contract commitment.

Recommendations:

  • Regional and commodity based research and innovation should be industry lead and government funded.
  • Re-establish funding for Research Chairs. Adjust the cost share to 75% and agree to commit to five-year funding upfront.

Business Development

Written succession plans are an area that needs improvement in order to successfully transition farms in Nova Scotia to the next generation.  According to the 2016 Census, only 5% of farms in Canada had a written succession plan.  This is particularly alarming considering the average age of a farmer has increased to 57.

Skilled labour is critical to any farm operation.  Trained employees increase farm productivity and efficiency.  Additionally, with sufficient labour, farms are able to add value to their products which creates an opportunity to increase revenues and grow markets.  With the labour shortage identified by CAHRC and restrictions of foreign labour working in value-added processing, value added opportunities are lost.

Recommendations:

  • Program funding for business development should be available to directly to farms to implement a succession plan.
  • Program funding for business development should be available to farm organizations to coordinate workshops on business development and planning.
  • Program funding for to increase value added technologies and abilities on farm should be made available for farms that have demonstrated a business plan for the product in which is being produced.

Risk Management

Agriculture is a high risk business that faces volatile prices, unpredictable weather and a global market influenced by government supports to competing farmers in other countries. Business Risk Management Programs must manage the effects of short-term volatility in weather and markets through bankable a timely programs.

AgriStability

AgriStability is intended to provide support when farms experience a large margin decline. Considering the payments are triggered when the current year program margin falls below 70% of the reference margin, the program is essentially a disaster relief program under the current framework. AgriStability cannot be limited to providing disaster support and must provide funding on a timely basis to ensure that the short-term impacts of significant income losses are mitigated. Transparent and straightforward calculations are necessary to allow farmers to predict and bank upon impending payments. Many farms in Nova Scotia are mixed commodities. The current AgriStability program penalizes diversified farms as the program considers the total farm income rather than the loss of the specific commodity. The current AgriStability program does not work in Nova Scotia and must be altered so Nova Scotia farmers can benefit from the program.

Recommendations:

  • Introduce provincial delivery of the AgriStability program.
  • Restore AgriStability payment when programs year margins fall below 85% of a farmers’ historical reference margin.
  • Commodity losses within a diversified farm should be recognized and result in a payment for the commodity that suffered a loss regardless of other commodity prices on the farm.
  • To address the low uptake of AgriStability, conduct pilot projects on changes to the program.
  • To address the single commodity losses on a diversified farm, a stop loss program must be implemented.

AgriInsurance

Crop damage due to wildlife pressure is ever increasing in Nova Scotia. With improved plant genetics, crops are able to produce higher yields than in the past. These higher yields have not been accounted for in farms’ historic yields because of losses contributed to wildlife damage. Assessments are conducted by a third party using visual inspection and historic data. Visual inspections are only qualitative. With the number of deer feeding on the crops increasing every year, the use of historic data it is difficult to justify. As wildlife populations continue to grow, damage to farmers’ crops increase as well. There also needs to be a creditable way to evaluate the damage in all crops.

Recommendations:

  • Re-evaluate the approach used to calculate yield loss. Yield loss should be determined through quantitative means rather than the current qualitative process.
  • Farmers should be encouraged mitigate risk on farm through funding avenues. Funding for crop protective structures such as wildlife fences and windbreak solutions must be considered in future programs.

Environment

The Environmental Farm Plan Program is an education program that helps farmers identify and assess environmental risk and their property.  It enables farmers to incorporate environmental consideration into their everyday business decisions.

The Environmental Farm Plan Program is a valuable program in Nova Scotia with over 1800 farms participating in the program.  As a well establish program, many farms rely on the program and its staff as a knowledge source on any environmental concerns.  A National EFP Benchmarking Comparative Analysis Report prepared for Agricultural Research and Extension Council of Alberta indicated that many lenders look favorably upon applications from producers who have completed an EFP.

Agriculture provides ecological goods and services through the creation of wildlife habitat, land stewardship, soil conservation, watershed management and many other activities.  With the introduction of Federal programs such as the Species at Risk Partnership on Agricultural Lands, it has been made obvious that protecting Species at Risk is a high priority.  Based on survey results, many farms alter farm practices to protect the at risk species that are present on their farm.  There are other programs that exist to help farmers with their efforts of environmental stewardship.  As examples, organizations like Ducks Unlimited work with farmers to strategically construct wetlands on farms, and the Agriculture Biodiversity Conservation plans through the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources help farmers with biodiversity conservation on farm.  With the efforts of the NSFA and other farm organizations in the province, it is evident that alternative land use projects are increasing in interest among farmers.  These stewardship programs also provide an avenue to showcase the environmental stewardship efforts taking place on farms to the public.

Recommendations:

  • At minimum, maintain the existing delivery of the Environmental Farm Plan program in Nova Scotia. With the number of farms in the province on the rise, increase funding dollars would provide the best resource to enhance the program while meeting the needs of farm community.
  • Incorporate funding for farmers to make improvements to farm land and production practices that further protect species at risk and promote the use of marginal lands for Alternative Land User Services.

Administration

Efficiency and timeliness of the administration of programs is essential for an effective program.  Program delivery has not been timely, nor efficient in delivery in the past.  No year was the same as the year previous; the applications were open for three days one year, another they opened three months early and during another year, there were delays in project approvals.  The one project, one application approached simplified the application process.

Recommendations:

  • Develop a programs delivery model that would allow programs to be open for a twelve month duration.
  • Allow farms to access five year support and funding from the Home Grown Success Program, so farmers can access multiple year funding in one year for larger scale projects that will help lead to organized progressive development of their farms.

Public Trust Discussion Paper and Recommendations

Public Trust, as pertaining to agriculture, is the extent to which the public/consumers trust the value chains which produce their food and other agriculture products.  With various avenues available to consumers to find out information, many companies, activists groups and self-proclaimed experts are telling a story about agriculture, but not necessarily the true story about agriculture in Nova Scotia.

According to recent census data, the Nova Scotia population is continuing to out-migrate from rural regions of Nova Scotia to urbanized centres.  This alludes to that not only are Nova Scotians further removed from agriculture by another generational degree, they are also becoming further distanced from rural life and understanding the socio-economic importance of agriculture and spin-off industries.

Activist organizations have misrepresented themselves to get on farm and post misleading information about the agriculture industry.  These organizations tend to be extreme; their messages must either be countered or optimally, agriculture has a message out in front.  Statistics show that 68% consumers trust farmers as an information source when it comes to animal welfare.  Additionally, in a 2016 study conducted by the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity (CCFI), 93% of Nova Scotians indicated that they know little or nothing about farming practices.

Opportunities have recently arisen to improve the trust that the public has of the agriculture industry. The addition of Public Trust in the Next Policy Framework as a pillar of the framework identifies the topic’s importance at the Federal level.  The formation of a national public trust steering committee is bringing together stakeholders across the sector including grocery chains, restaurants, farmers and more to develop a cohesive message about agriculture across all sectors.  The recently announced National Food Policy has the potential to create an opportunity to educate Canadians on how food is produced in Canada, Codes of Conduct and regulations that determine production practices while gaining trust.  Educating and informing Nova Scotians will provide transparency to the industry and in turn gain public trust.

A report entitled, ‘Building Public Trust in Canada’s Agri-Food System’, led by Kim McConnell has identified the process in which to effectively gain Public Trust for the Agriculture Industry.  The report identifies that farmers must be spreading the story about agriculture through avenues like Social Media.  Additionally, the report identifies an optimal governance structure, roles of government and who the amplifiers of agriculture messaging should be.

Recommendations

  • Public trust initiatives through the Next Policy Framework must focus on a collaborative approach.
  • The activities executed to garner public trust must be farmer delivered, which in turn must also be farmer initiated to ensure industry buy in.
  • Public perception of agriculture must continue to be benchmarked through the Canadian Centre of Food Integrity to ensure that public trust is being gained.

Regulatory Burden Discussion Paper and Recommendations

Regulatory burden is imposed when regulation and policies are implemented and increase the amount of paperwork, cost and time for businesses to operate.  In agriculture, regulatory burden can be imposed by varying levels of government: municipal, provincial and federal.  Some issues can be multi-jurisdictional which further complexes the burden.

The reasons that regulations are burdensome to agriculture are varying.  Outdated regulations can limit growth and often don’t reflect the current direction of the industry.  For example, the maximum loan that the Farm Loan Board can approve without an Order in Council is $2 million.  Considering the nature of farms in the 21st century, an operating, sustainable farm business could easily be valued above the $2 million limit.  The turn-around time for an Order in Council varies; some files take three months before an approval is reached depending on when and the duration that Cabinet is recessed for a break.  This three month time frame is unfavourable for farms and is often a reason the Nova Scotia Farm Loan Board loses a-list clients to lending institutions.

Order in Council also creates a barrier in aspects of the Nova Scotia Crop and Livestock Insurance Commission (NSCLIC).  NSCLIC provides insurance programs to farms which will support the farm during a period of yield losses.  Since the program is a yield loss insurance program, it is seasonal by commodity.  There are key dates for the program to operate effectively and fairly for producers in the same commodity: registration, planting and harvesting.  Presently, these dates can only be changed through Order in Council.  As discussed previously, Order in Council can create a hold-up in process.  Weather has been known to cause delay in planting or harvesting; with planting and harvesting dates written firmly in regulation, the flexibility that agriculture requires is not available.

Federal regulations and strategies have influence over aspects of agriculture and agri-food.  For example, the Healthy Eating Strategy in progress by Health Canada is proposing front of package labelling for all food products.  The proposed strategy has identified select exemptions from labeling for agriculture products which further lumps agriculture products in the same categories as highly processed products, like honey and maple syrup with refined white sugar.  To indicate which nutrient of concern (saturated fat, sugar or sodium) is high, Health Canada has proposed using warning labels, similar to those you would find on pesticide labels or other WHMIS controlled products.

Regulation matters can also be cross-jurisdictional.  Food Safety is an excellent example of the federal set of regulations differing from a provincial set of regulations.  With the implementation of the Safe Food for Canadians Act and its applicable fees, regulatory changes and new control measures, farms selling produce direct to market across provincial boarders will be required to adhere to federal regulations.  Considering the commodity diversification that is present on farms in Nova Scotia, establishing a preventive control plan for each commodity would be an elaborate cost for farms.  By nature, farms selling direct to market are smaller in scale and income; adding the additional costs of an extensive preventive control plan would increase financial burden on the farm.  Keeping in line with the federal one-for-one rule, in the cases where fees will be required through the purchase of licenses and registrations are being implemented, there will be a time saving component by being able to apply for certificates online.  The Nova Scotia Food Safety Regulations are in line with the current (June 2017) Federal Food Safety Regulations.

Another example of cross-jurisdiction of regulations is carbon pricing.  Program design is left to individual provinces while the value per CO­2e and threshold is a national target.  This method creates perceived or real competitive disadvantages across provincial and national borders. Competitive disadvantages are of particular concern in Atlantic Canada, especially when larger provinces have access to more efficient infrastructure such as energy options and greater market access.

Regulation isn’t the only government decision tool that causes barriers or red tape.  Public Policy and inconsistent service delivery creates burdens as well.  For example, on occasion when a new program is implemented, not all program administrators are informed of this program creating unnecessary lag time for the farmer accessing the program.

Recommendations

  • Nova Scotia Treasury Board increase the Farm Loan Board limit to $7 million before an Order in Council is required.
  • Change regulations to allow for the NSCLIC Board determine key deadlines and reporting dates for crop insurance program.
  • CFIA exempt farms that sell produce direct to consumer from Safe Food for Canadians Act regulations.
  • All levels of government must ensure that service delivery is consistent across regions.

events

  1. Antigonish/Guysborough County Annual Meeting

    November 21 @ 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
  2. Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture Annual General Meeting

    November 28 - November 30
  3. Farm Safety NS Annual Meeting

    November 30 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
  4. Dairy Farmers of Nova Scotia Annual Meeting

    January 15, 2019 - January 17, 2019
  5. Scotia Horticultural Congress

    January 27, 2019 - January 29, 2019

contact

60 Research Drive,
Perennia Innovation Park
Bible Hill, N.S.
B6L 2R2

Phone – 902-893-2293
Fax – 902-893-7063
E-mailinfo@nsfa-fane.ca