Ways and Means to Create Tomorrow’s Sustainable Farms

I invite you to read the manifesto, if you have not already done so, on the website of the Union des producteurs agricoles. Since our confederation turns 100 in 2024, reflecting 100 years of hard work and demands by our predecessors, the translated version of the manifesto states: “Today, we, the 42,000 agricultural producers and foresters of Quebec, call on the government to make our mission a priority, due to its central importance to Quebec society, by introducing a strong new bio-food policy in line with the new economic, environmental and social rules, in this unfair globalized world marked by climate change.”

And with good reason. We have huge challenges to overcome in the years ahead and will need all stakeholders to do their part. Naturally, producers will do their part by adopting best practices and continuing to run highperformance enterprises that meet the market’s expectations. At the same time, all other members of our industry will need to back these efforts, not only by creating more innovative services, but also by supporting the practices we adopt, which specifically means offering fair compensation for our efforts. And finally, the government will also need to play a crucial role.

The Quebec government is responsible for the protection and the sustainability of the public good within Quebec’s territory. This includes our ability to feed the people who live here, not just today, after a 2023 that saw a steep rise in interest rates and difficult climate conditions, but also for the next 100 years.

To that end, we must start working right now on creating the tools we will need to keep farms sustainable as they pursue a vision for 2030. Likewise, the government must take concrete actions to help us reach these goals. We are talking about profitable farms that are operated by their owners, enable producers to live from their work, a profession that continues to exist thanks to the presence of future farmers, and provide the population with food that meets its expectations. The government has a part to play in making this vision come true. After all, it must be remembered that there is no food without agriculture and no agriculture without farmers.

And then there is all the administrative red tape that we have to deal with due to the large number of government regulations, including certain redundant ones, and the programs that we run. This administrative burden needs to be lightened so that we can put our human and financial resources to effective use on and around our farms. The government can help Quebec farms adjust to societal expectations and become more resilient to climate change. To keep prices stable for a basket of food products, the government needs to provide support for what is unsustainable on our farms.

Obviously, we are firmly focused on our goal of sustainable farms in Quebec. We made it a main topic of discussion during our brainstorming days and in our regional consultations. At a time when Legault’s government is about to adopt a new bio-food policy, we encourage both the government and him to show vision and ensure that policies are consistent between the various ministries.

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Daniel Gobeil, Chairman

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