Ag Ministers must ensure policies fuel farm business confidence
REGINA, Feb. 8 /CNW/ - The Canadian Federation of Independent Business
(CFIB) recently released its Monthly Agriculture Business Barometer
which shows improvement in agri-business optimism that unfolded late
last year appears to have carried over into 2011. CFIB's Agriculture
Business Barometer Index finished the month of January at 64.3 - just
slightly off December levels of 64.7 and behind the national Business
Barometer Index of 68.9. As Federal, Provincial and Territorial (FPT)
Agriculture Ministers meet this week, the CFIB is calling on
governments to ensure their policies fuel this optimism in 2011.
"We are very encouraged to see optimism levels in the agriculture sector
at a four year high," said Virginia Labbie, CFIB's senior policy
analyst for Agri-business. "The Agriculture Ministers have a real
opportunity this week to send some positive signals to help build on
this momentum and continue to address the competitive challenges in the
When farmers were asked to prioritize how governments could improve the
agriculture sector's overall competitiveness, preliminary results from
CFIB's Future of Agriculture Policy 2011 survey revealed farmers' top priorities for government action
Focusing on regulatory reform and reducing red tape;
Reducing the total tax burden;
Improving market access for Canadian agricultural products; and
Increasing focus on industry research, development and innovation and
more responsive business risk management programs.
"Agri-business owners believe reducing red tape and focusing on
regulatory reform is a low cost way for governments to drive
productivity and innovation in the agricultural sector," said Labbie.
"CFIB welcomed Prime Minister Harper's announcement of a Red Tape
Reduction Commission and is pleased several provinces also made formal
commitments to focus on red tape reform."
"Food safety is a top priority for our members and is a goal all farmers
share," explained Labbie. "However, CFIB reminds Agriculture Ministers
that farmers are not immune to the burden of red tape and urges them to
also make a formal commitment this week to remove unnecessary barriers
While farmers are upbeat for the coming year, CFIB contends there is
still some unfinished business on Business Risk Management (BRM)
programs. "FPT Ministers have been reviewing BRM programs since July
2008 and CFIB farm members hope there will be some tangible
improvements made to programs like AgriStability in the areas of
transparency, predictability and timeliness," noted Labbie.
"It will be important for Ag Ministers to ensure their policy decisions
further fuel, not dampen, optimism in the Ag sector. We hope the
Ministers deliver the right signals this week," concluded Labbie.
CFIB's index is measured on a scale between 0 and 100, an index level
above 50 means owners expecting their businesses' performance to be
stronger in the next year outnumber those expecting weaker performance.
Further details can be found at: www.cfib-fcei.ca/english/barometer
CFIB is the business voice for agriculture, representing 7,200
independently owned and operated agri-businesses in the country, the
majority of which are primary producers.
SOURCE CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS
For further information:
CFIB's Virginia Labbie will be available prior to or following the Ag Ministers' meeting on February 11. To arrange an interview with Labbie, please call 306 757-0000 or 800-992-2342. For further information please visitwww.cfib.ca/agri