Thursday, 16 October 2014 09:04

Canada’s agricultural sector important

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(Re: Senator Doug Black addressed the senate recently. This is his speech.)
Honourable senators, as we near the end of harvest in Alberta, I rise today to recognize the importance of the agriculture and the agri-food processing sector to Alberta, our social fabric and our economy.
I also thank and salute the nearly 100,000 Albertans who are directly or indirectly employed by these industries. Albertans who every day, market grain, care for animals or teach the next generation of farmers and farm workers ...
Alberta’s agri-food processing sector is the second largest manufacturing sector in the province, representing $12.6 billion in annual sales. Farms and livestock operations in Alberta generated $11.8 billion in cash receipts to the Alberta economy in 2013. In addition, Alberta and Canada have earned a global reputation for quality and innovation in agriculture.
Canola, the key component of cooking oil now used around the world, was invented and developed by Canadian scientists. The McIntosh apple, ginger ale, frozen food, processed cheese, and the chocolate bar are also all Canadian agricultural firsts.
Last summer I had the privilege of learning about Alberta’s agriculture and livestock industry when I toured southern Alberta.I visited feedlots, potato farms, and other agricultural operations. I was impressed, as I know you would be, by the sophistication of the operations, the use of technology in operations, and the energy innovation being employed. I also visited the local irrigation district to learn about how technology and innovation are strengthening and conserving critical water use.
During a roundtable on the future of agriculture with education leaders from the University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College, I learned about the leading research and innovation being done in Alberta to improve training, farming techniques, and business development in agriculture.
The importance of agriculture is clear. It feeds Canadians, it employs Canadians, it generates export revenue, and it drives an important industry in agricultural innovation.
As our former colleague Senator Buth used to say: once in a lifetime you need a minister, a lawyer, or a doctor but you need a farmer or rancher every day.
Senator Doug Black, Alberta

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