With the Covid-19 restrictions still in place, it has been very difficult to find a venue and to plan our District Convention this year. (It was not possible to hold the convention last year). The plan is to hold our District Convention this year at the Credit Union Place in Summerside on Friday, April 16, 2021.
Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m. with the meeting itself getting underway at 10:00 a.m. Covid-19 regulations will be observed. Along with the usual reports, etc. we are planning a number of guest speakers which have not yet been confirmed.
Resolutions will be debated during the day and elections held for the positions of District Director, Women’s District Director and Youth District Director. Gordon Carter, JP Hendricken and Ranald MacFarlane will be asked to make up the Resolutions Committee so if you have a resolution you wish to have considered, please contact one of them. Resolutions from the floor will also be considered for presentation by the Resolutions Committee.
Assistance for child care will be available; if you need assistance with this, please contact Edith Ling at 902-368-1262.
A noon meal will be available in the Credit Union Place restaurant.
It is planned that the convention will conclude by 4:00 p.m. Registration fee of $20 per person will help cover the cost of the convention and noon meal.
Please make every effort to attend the Convention this year as it is one opportunity
Guest opinion by Douglas Campbell – published in the Charlottetown Guardian, April 7, 2021
The National Farmers Union (NFU) has been asked if we are members of the Coalition for the Protection of the P.E.I. Lands. This was in relation to the ads which have been aired recently on CFCY radio. The ads addressed the reality of increasing corporate and foreign ownership of Island land through circumvention of the Lands Protection Act and the negative impacts of industrialized farming. Islanders were asked to contact their MLAs, noting that successive Island governments have failed to uphold the spirit and intent of the Lands Protection Act. This failure that has brought us to the current threat to the P.E.I. lands. The resulting consolidation of ownership and control of land has led to the abuse of the land.
The NFU has a long tradition of transparency, a trait which seems to be in short supply in many institutions in P.E.I. Therefore, the National Farmers Union, District 1, is hereby publicly stating its affiliation with the Coalition for the Protection of P.E.I. Lands. When the lands coalition was formed in May 2018, the NFU accepted the invitation to become a member along with other like-minded organizations. We know that the invitation was extended to other agricultural groups.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that the NFU is a coalition member. The protection of our land is a chief focus in our mandate to promote the economic and social betterment of Canadian farmers, promote environmentally safe farming practices, the building of vibrant rural communities and a safe food supply.
The NFU was instrumental in having the Lands Protection Act passed in the P.E.I. legislative assembly in 1982 to prevent corporate and foreign interests with deep pockets from gaining control of Island land to the determinant of family farms and rural communities. We make no apology for trying to prevent our land from becoming a commodity of the few. We find it perplexing that others are not assuming a larger role in the fight to hold the provincial government to account in protecting our primary natural resource.
When a former NFU president, Roy Atkinson of Saskatchewan, addressed an Island group of farmers in the early 1970s, he said “the agribusiness sells you the machinery, and equipment, as well as the fertilizer and seed you need to operate your farm and then they turn around and buy the products of your labour. When they sell you a tractor, they set the price and you have to take it or leave it. The same thing happens when you go to sell your crop. The agribusiness offers a fixed price and you can take it or leave it. The farmer is caught in a squeeze which, if allowed to go on, will force him into bankruptcy.”
This is also why we have an issue with industrialized farming which has become increasingly heavily dominated by large vertically integrated corporations interested in consolidating natural resources for the greatest profit. Small- and medium-sized independent farming operations are being forced out of business, while large scale independent operations are being heavily impacted by debt load and low commodity prices. This is impacting farmers, rural communities, consumers, and the environment. So if some find the term, “industrialized farming”, offensive perhaps they should ask themselves why.
The above is why the NFU is part of the coalition. When you stand for the land you stand for farmers. NFU P.E.I. website and the coalition Facebook page give valuable information.
Douglas Campbell lives on his family farm in Southwest Lot 16 and is district director of the National Farmers Union.
By Edith Ling, as published in the Charlottetown Guardian, February 23, 2021
Those who have nothing to hide do not fear the light. Ethical people welcome transparency in their dealings and actions. They don’t hide behind the veil of privacy to cover the ways they manipulate laws for their own gain. They don’t hide behind the pretence that their secrecy is necessary for reasons of fair competition as a way to cover their own disregard for the good of all citizens and society. They certainly do not expect the government of a people to betray their citizenry to keep wrong-doing buried.
The Island Minister of Agriculture, Bloyce Thompson said this past week that more Island Farmers are reaching out for mental health support through the PEI Farmers Assistance Program. He noted that the number of calls in 2019 was 140, increasing to 293 in 2020. Minister Thompson said navigating a hot dry summer during the COVID-19 pandemic was difficult for farmers.
The mandate of the Land Matters Advisory Committee is to support government’s efforts to develop land policy and legislation and will provide advice and guidance to ensure policies and legislation reflect the current and future needs of the province. On November 12, members of the NFU presented the following recommendations to the committee. Read the whole submission here: