Harper Government Helps Farmers Create New Forage Markets

BRANDON, MANITOBA — (Marketwire) — 12/12/12 — Canada’s forage and grassland industry will increase its international competitiveness with an investment from the Harper government. Member of Parliament Merv Tweed (Brandon-Souris), on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, today announced an investment for the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association (CFGA) that will help enhance the competitiveness of forage farmers internationally. The announcement comes as members of the CFGA meet in Mississauga for a two-day conference focusing on innovation in the forage and grassland sectors.

“Our government’s top priority remains the economy, and Canada’s agriculture industry plays an important role in keeping our economy strong,” said MP Tweed. “By helping expand market access for Canada’s top-quality products, this investment will strengthen our economy and enhance our farmers’ reputations as premier suppliers of world-class forage.”

This investment of more than $51,000 will enable the CFGA to conduct innovative marketing and communications activities in new and existing markets to help increase the competitiveness of the Canadian forage and grassland industry. The CFGA will develop promotion and information packages for international buyers, prepare market development display materials, and participate in international trade shows.

“With opportunities for Canadian forage products expanding worldwide, there is an increasing need for the CFGA to work on the development of these markets,” said CFGA Executive Director Wayne Digby. “Support provided through the AgriMarketing Program has helped us work on a number of areas, including timothy and alfalfa protocol for exporting to China, U.S. market development through the World Dairy Expo, and the training of forage exporters so that they are ‘market ready.’ With the support of the AgriMarketing Program, we are able to zero in on priority markets and really make a difference.”

Canada’s forage industry is internationally recognized because of its world-class processing facilities; clean, natural growing environments; and leading-edge infrastructure for transportation. In 2011, Canada exported more than $111 million in hay and forage products to more than 20 countries. Canada is the fourth-largest exporter of forages in the world and has approximately four per cent of the world market share.

Through the AgriMarketing Program under Growing Forward, the Harper government is investing $88 million to help industry implement long-term international strategies, including international market development, industry-to-industry trade advocacy, and consumer awareness and branding activities.

The Harper government has identified market development as a priority under Growing Forward 2, and this announcement is another example of what is being done to enhance competitiveness and drive innovation and long-term growth in Canadian agriculture.