Agriculture and Aquaculture

Task groups seen as crucial step in development of agriculture plan (08/10/10)

NB 1481

Oct. 10, 2008

FREDERICTON (CNB) - The establishment of six task groups as a prelude to developing an agriculture plan for New Brunswick was announced today by Agriculture and Aquaculture Minister Ronald Ouellette.

Creation of the groups is a follow-up to a proposal to transform agriculture, made by Ouellette at the conclusion of the New Brunswick Agriculture Summit held earlier this year. The groups held their first meetings this week.

"The spirit of collaboration within the agricultural community brought on by the summit will continue with the task groups as they engage in developing a transformational framework for agriculture in the province," Ouellette said. "This framework will set a new course for agriculture by ensuring that it remains a cornerstone of New Brunswick's economy, and fully participates in the goal of achieving self-sufficiency."

A total of 104 New Brunswickers from all sectors of the agriculture and agri-food industry will further analyze and develop recommendations regarding the ideas and suggestions that came from the summit. These ideas and suggestions are grouped under the six themes of infrastructure; people; innovation/research and development; profitability; marketing (local and export); and land and environment.

The groups will be chaired and led by industry representatives, with Department of Agriculture and Aquaculture staff available to assist with logistical co-ordination. The groups will be temporary, and will present their recommendations to a permanent round table on agriculture that will be tasked with helping to develop a strategic plan for the agricultural sector.

Formation of the groups is the third of a four-phase agriculture summit process that also includes the pre-summit, provincewide consultation meetings, the summit meeting, and the round table on agriculture.

"The opinions and recommendations brought forward by the task groups will be instrumental in ensuring that our province retains a strong and vibrant agriculture sector," Ouellette said. "I thank the men and women for their leadership in volunteering to be part of this transformational process."

Members of the Agricultural Alliance of New Brunswick (AANB) and the National Farmers Union in New Brunswick (NFU in NB) are hopeful for the success of the post-summit task group process.

"The AANB is pleased that the vital third phase of the agriculture summit has begun," said AANB President Rob English. "With the financially troubled times we are facing, it is critically important that we get this next step done right for the future of agriculture and the rural communities of New Brunswick."

"By working together through this process, farmers will contribute to the development of a healthy agricultural industry in New Brunswick, one in which they can be assured of earning a decent income while providing the residents of this province with a reliable, healthy, and safe supply of food, now and in the future," said NFU in NB President Jean-Eudes Chiasson.

The agriculture and agri-food industry in New Brunswick is diverse, combining over 2,700 farms with 100 processing plants to produce close to $1.3 billion in agri-food and beverage products.

08/10/10

MEDIA CONTACT: Alain Bryar, communications, Department of Agriculture and Aquaculture, 506-444-4218; Nicole Arsenault, AANB, 506-452-8101; Jean-Eudes Chiasson, NFU in NB, 506-775-6033.

08/10/10