Banner of Communicator August 2020 Executive Director's Note

Supporting agriculture will stimulate Canada’s economic recovery.

Agriculture will lead the Canadian economic recovery.

At the time of writing this note, Manitoba’s provincial health officials have included opening up non-essential travel between Western Canadian provinces as part of its “Restoring Public Services: Phase 3” plan. This decision between western provincial governments is good news for half of the country, while significant challenges remain for Eastern Canada.

Fortunately, provincial and federal leadership had the foresight to deem agriculture production and supporting industries as essential early on in their pandemic response plans.

The livestock processing industry experienced setbacks due to the nature of the work requiring close contact of operating staff, but luckily the crop production industry progressed with few incidences. The success of managing COVID-19 in businesses throughout the agriculture supply chain can be attributed to organizations quickly adapting with the permission and opportunity to continue operating.

The benefits of this combination of quick-thinking and policy is beginning to bear fruit. Canadian rail companies CN and CP are both reporting above average car spots and grain movement from elevators to port. Grain elevators and farmer deliverers continue to function. Farm grain movement that could not occur last fall and winter due to the rail strike and protest disruptions is now well underway.

I would like to thank the provincial and federal government agencies for recognizing before the ask came, that the agriculture industry is essential. Our ask now is for the recognition of agriculture’s essential contributions to Canada’s economic recovery at the provincial and federal levels.

It is a known truth that a healthy agriculture industry stimulates the Canadian economy. Will it be allowed to do so, is the greater question.

Keeping Canada’s food supply chain intact and meeting export contracts will provide an economic stimulus in rural and urban Canada alike, as stable farm income drives all manner of expenditures. The demand will increase for Canada’s agriculture products as we demonstrate high quality consistently, and more important, have a reputation as a reliable supplier.

Farmers, dock workers, processors, crop input ag retailers, manufacturers and distributors have all made sacrifices and placed themselves at personal risk to support planting of the 2020 crop.

The industry needs the resources required for successful operations to be available in a timely manner. This includes personal protection equipment (PPE), which is currently in short supply due to health care worker prioritization. I agree with this strategy, but at the same time, many agriculture industry employees require similar PPE for different health risks than COVID-19, and access to this crucial equipment is required now.

CAAR has a role to play in maintaining a healthy uninterrupted Canadian ag industry, and I call on our members to renew your commitment to CAAR by renewing your membership if you have not already done so. I thank the retails, manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and consultants that have renewed their CAAR membership.

To continue our support of Canadian ag retailers, we require your support today.

Thank you,
Mitch Rezansoff
Executive Director, CAAR

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