Federal policy

The Next Generation of Ag Policy?

The Agriculture Policy Framework (APF) agreement was the federal-provincial agricultural policy implemented in Canada. It cost $9.4-billion from 2003 to 2008, with 90% of the money going to business risk programs. Business risk program pay-outs can be generally characterized as subsidies paid to producers of commodities sold on the global market to cover larger farm income losses. The program rewards large operations that specialize in a commodity but penalizes small mixed farm operations that practice socially responsible livestock production.

A mid-term review performed on the APF by a federally appointed body found it difficult to quantify any accomplishments of the APF and indicated that there were insufficient benchmarks and supporting information available to adequately measure the success of the APF pillars and programs. Beyond Factory Farming petitioned Canada’s Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development to determine the environmental performance of the APF. The response offered no indication that the policy contributes positively to protecting Canada’s land, air and soil or contributed to any vision of food sovereignty.

With minimal public input, Canada, along with its territorial and provincial government counterparts, rolled out a new agricultural policy framework called Growing Forward, which continues to support the industrial model of agriculture. Beyond Factory Farming’s policy submission to this policy consultation process was entirely ignored, as were those of other organizations supportive of food sovereignty. In fact, the new suite of business risk programs contained within Growing Forward now includes a guarantee that livestock producers who encounter a major disease outbreak and disaster caused by the confined factory farming method of production, are eligible for public subsidy support.