2017 AGM Recap
On November 30th and December 1st, NSFA held it’s 122nd Annual Meeting. There were quite a few changes this year, and based on initial feedback, they were well received.
The format for the agenda has been described as a “mullet” – business in the front, party in the back! On Thursday, the Standing Policies were presented and the resolutions debated. More information on the NSFA Standing Policies and the Resolutions that were passed can be found starting on page 5 of this newsletter. Also, watch 2018 issues of the News and Views for progress updates on Standing Policies and Resolutions. On the note of resolutions, the meeting heard a balanced presentation from Bill Thomas, CCA, P.Ag. on GE Alfalfa. The tabled resolution on Genetically Engineered (GE) Alfalfa from the 2016 AGM was lifted as business arising from the minutes and well discussed before being defeated. The budget was passed and an update on the 2016 resolutions was given during this time as well.
NSFA also welcomed an array of guest speakers at the AGM. Politically, NSFA welcomed PC Agriculture Critic, John Lohr and NDP Agriculture Critic Lenore Zann, to the meeting Thursday afternoon. To close out the first day of the meeting, Agriculture Minister, Honourable Keith Colwell spoke and took questions from the audience. In Minister Colwell’s remarks, he highlighted the need for food security and protection of dykeland, he also talked about the importance of exports and a potential market for wild blueberries which came about following a recent trip to China, though he couldn’t disclose any further details. Minister Colwell also indicated that there will be significant changes to Programs. During question time, the Minister fielded questions on increasing AgriInvest to 3%, the government’s support for buying local, implementation of the Maritime Beef Strategy, and concerns that the only agricultural products included in the Minister of Agriculture’s Mandate Letter were wine, craft beer and spirits and that the majority of primary products that go into these items cannot be sourced locally.
NSFA heard a presentation from the Marcel Groleau, 2nd Vice President, Canadian Federation of Agriculture. Marcel’s presentation highlighted many of the issues that NSFA has on radar, however, with a national focus. Marcel touched CFA’s activities for Public Trust, climate change, tax planning using private corporations, food policy for Canadians and the varying trade negotiations.
On the second day of the meeting, an update on the Department of Agriculture presented by Deputy Minister Frank Dunn followed the completion of the resolution and Standing Policy discussion. The presentation highlighted the state of the industry and trends over the last number of years; government priorities including Safe & Connected Communities, Healthy Population & System, Quality Education and Inclusive Economic Growth; TPP 11, CETA and NAFTA trade agreements; and the valuable relationship between NSDA and NSFA.
On Friday afternoon, NSFA welcomed Brenda Schoepp as keynote speaker. Brenda presented a motivational, uplifting presentation highlighting farmers who work together so they, as well as their neighbours, can find their place in the industry. Brenda eloquently told stories of farm successes she came across during her travels including organic farms along slide conventional farms, a farmer who value-added, a new entrant who didn’t come from a farming back ground as well as others. Brenda emphasized that working together and being neighbourly is what the industry needs to ensure success.
In the grand scheme of things, the meeting was a success. Delegate registration and attendance was significantly higher than recent years with early counts indicating well over 200 farmers and guests in attendance. The majority of feedback has been positive and we look forward to making appropriate changes for the 2018 Annual Meeting!