Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau has launched consultations focused on developing a Sustainable Agriculture Strategy that will support the livelihood fo farmers while growing a sustainable sector.

She says the Strategy will focus on five key areas - soil health, climate adaptation and resilience, water, climate change mitigation, and biodiversity. 

"Our strategy will ensure that our programs and initiatives are targeted, complimentary and build on each other with clear benefits and goals. It will build on the environmental and innovation successes farmers have made to date and on the commitments of the industry. It will bring more market opportunities for sustainable food products."

Bibeau says the strategy is being developed in close collaboration with the ag sector and will include public consultations, targeted workshops and an Advisory Committee 

That committee is being co-chaired by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.

CFA President Mary Robinson says farmers are faced with a stark challenge of how to grow more food while reducing their impact on environment.

"We have made substantial gains over the past 40 years by increasing overall production, increasing production, while reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, soil erosion and using less water and energy to do it."

She notes farmers are highly invested in this,  soil is our most precious commodity. 

"It is the foundation for all we do. And we're certainly not interested in spending any more money on inputs and we have to so we've been trying to do this better since the beginning of time."

Bibeau says the committee includes producers, industry and other stakeholders and experts.

"Members will work together to keep everyone connected and on the same page, as we work collaboratively towards developing our strategy by the end of next year. We just add our first introductory meeting, and we've shared our thoughts on our work ahead. This strategy is ambitious and transformative. We want to take the time to get it right. Our first step is getting inputs from all players across the sector."

As part of the consultation process, a discussion document is now available and can be viewed here.

Producers can also access the link to take part in the public consultations which will run until March 31, 2023.

The newly created Advisory Committee includes a diverse representation of the ag sector including representatives from the following groups:

Canadian Organic Growers 
Egg Farmers of Canada 
Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute
Farmers for Climate Solutions
Canadian Canola Growers Association
Fertilizer Canada
Canadian Cattle Association
Fruit & Vegetable Growers of Canada
Canadian Pork Council
Grain Growers of Canada
Canadian Wildlife Federation
National Farmers Union
Canola Council of Canada
Nature United
Chicken Farmers of Canada
Pulse Canada 
Dairy Farmers of Canada
Union de producteurs agricoles
Ducks Unlimited
Soy Canada