Delegates from Canada and the U-S, gathered in Mexico this week for the 31st Annual Tri-National Agricultural Accord.

Among the representatives from Canada, Manitoba's Agriculture Minister Derek Johnson, Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister David Marit and Senior Officials from Alberta's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development.

Johnson says the meetings marked an opportunity for senior state and provincial officials to work collaboratively on agriculture and trade issues.

He points out that a key highlight for Canada was being able to reach an agreement with Mexico around the resumption of trade for small ruminants like sheep and goats.

"With B-S-E small ruminants were not allowed to cross the border at that point either. Then they removed it for cattle, but it remained on for sheep and goats."

He's pleased that economically feasible bilateral trade in small ruminants can now occur.

Johnson says there was also discussions around technology noting that Canada also was able to present a one health aspect.

"That really was popular. Where we have to work together, and our Chief Veterinary officers have to work together to ensure that our borders don't hinder the health of our animals. So for example, African swine fever, avian influenza. We have to continue to work together, despite where the borders are."

He notes work always continues on sharing science, if we have a common issue to secure it that's what the tri-nationals are about is sharing that technology and advancements.

Johnson signed the 31st Annual Tri-National Agricultural Accord Communique.

Some highlights from that communique included news that ...

Delegates continue their commitment to building relationships between the three nations to take advantage of new opportunities and navigate challenges faced by the North American agricultural sector. Delegates devoted attention to timely and topical issues of mutual importance including soil health and conservation, global food security, supply chain integrity, regulatory harmonization, agriculture technology, and animal disease.

Delegates discussed the impact of the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic which revealed vulnerabilities in domestic and international access and movement of products and services. Delegates recognized the potential benefits of CUSMA/T-MEC/USMCA to enhance trade in agricultural products and affirmed their commitment to policies that promote free trade across North America. Delegates called on their federal partners to coordinate with state and provincial officials to develop and implement policies that secure the North American supply chain, facilitate cross-border trade, and protect against food insecurity, at home and abroad.

The next Annual Tri-National Agricultural Accord meetings are set for Saskatchewan in 2023.