PC Party Candidates Debate Land Issues

The National Farmers Union (NFU) is sponsoring a forum with the five Progressive Conservative (PC) leadership candidates on the issue of the shifting control of land in PEI The forum will be held at the Murchison Centre, 17 St Pius X Ave, Charlottetown on Tuesday, January 22, 2019 at 7:30 pm.

The NFU for years has maintained that the weakness of the Lands Protection Act and other land-related acts has caused an alarming consolidation of land in fewer and fewer hands. The land is being excessively used for the profit of the few. This results in the impoverishment of Island lands. There is little hope of curtailing the corporate greed for the control of more land when there is lack of political will on the part of government. The question that the National Farmers Union asks of each of the five PC leadership hopefuls is: How will you exercise your political will to protect the land?

The forum chair is Bill McGuire, well known Island journalist, newly retired. Representing the NFU is its District Director, Douglas Campbell.

All Islanders welcome, especially those who want the protection of PEI lands and who expect MLAs, in government and opposition, to be accountable for the future of the land.

AAFC Seed Royalty Consultation – Charlottetown, Friday January 18

The only AAFC Seed Royalty Consultation event planned for Atlantic Canada is on Friday January 18, 2019 10:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Delta Hotels Prince Edward.  NOTE: It is not necessary to register – the important thing is to have as many farmers there as possible. Bring a friend or two!

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The corporate seed industry has convinced the federal government to take the next step towards a system to make farmers pay seed companies for seed every year even when we use farm-saved seed. They are proposing to change regulations under the UPOV ’91 Plant Breeders Rights Act, and are considering two approaches – End Point Royalties or Trailing Contracts that would apply to new varieties registered after February 2015.

The End Point Royalty approach would require farmers to pay a royalty on their harvested crop (a per bushel royalty) if they grow a newer variety. The Trailing Contract approach would require farmers to ask the seed company for permission to plant seed saved from a previous crop of a newer variety and make farmers pay them a royalty when using farm saved seed. The seed industry likes the Trailing Contract option best because it would bring in more money and would involve setting up a comprehensive data collection system to track farm saved seed users.

The seed industry expects to collect over $100 million of dollars every year from these compulsory payments. This money would go to seed companies such as Bayer, Syngenta, BASF and DowDupont. The system for charging a royalty on crops harvested from farm saved seed would be developed for wheat first, with the intent of applying it to other cereal crops, pulse crops, and other crop kinds later.

The NFU opposes the UPOV ’91 seed law, which Canada enacted in 2015, because it turns farmers’ age-old right to save and use farm saved seed into a privilege that can be taken away by regulation.

The NFU is opposed to End Point Royalties and Trailing Contracts. These are simply ways to increase the monopoly power of seed companies by forcing farmers to pay more for seed, restricting farmers’ right to save seed and making us pay them for seed we grow on our farms.

We call for keeping farmers’ right to save and use our own seed, and for public funding and farmer-controlled check-off funding to support plant breeding. The government must be stopped from bringing in a regulation to take away the “farmers’ privilege” under the Plant Breeders Rights Act.

If you would like to get more involved with the NFU’s campaign to protect the farmer’s right to save and use farm-saved seed, please email nfu@nfu.ca with “Seed Sovereignty” in the subject line.

Stop This Attack on Island Farmland

GUEST OPINION BY EDITH LING

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In response to David Weale’s opinion article in The Guardian Nov. 29, Alan Holman, in the Dec. 1, issue of the newspaper, expressed his opinion that farmers and many Islanders are not concerned about who owns the land despite the takeover of Island farm land by large corporations, including the Irving empire and the sale of precious farm land to Asian interests (GEBIS, etc.).

One of the main purposes of this act is to preserve Island farmland for farm families and to prevent the accumulation of farm land in the hands of large industrial corporations, i.e. the Irvings. Now, they and other large corporations have found loopholes in the act all with the apparent blessing of the provincial government.

It is unfortunate that Mr. Holman did not attend the meeting of the Select Standing Committee on Communities, Land and the Environment Nov. 1, 2018 and witness the snow job presented by Robert Irving. Mr. Holman would have easily seen a very smooth presentation in which Irving asked that the land limits under the LPA be increased for potato producers. Continue reading

Wanted: Young Farmers to Participate in Research on Attitudes about Conservation & Endangered Species

17264736_10154148629772434_4233743748831829347_nDr. Carolyn Peach Brown, Environmental Studies, from the University of Prince Edward Island is looking for participants in a study about young farmers’ perspectives on environmental conservation and Species at Risk on Prince Edward Island (PEI).  The aim of the research is to better understand the role that young farmers are playing, or can play, in protection of the environment and species at risk on PEI.  This will provide important information to guide the development of policy and educational programs about Species at Risk on PEI.

Specifically, she is looking for any farmer on PEI between the ages of 18 and 50. Knowledge about Species at Risk is not necessary for participation in the study.

Your participation would involve completing an on line survey (see link below) or Dr. Brown can send it to you via email. The survey will ask questions about your awareness and knowledge about Species at Risk on PEI and your perspective on their protection.  The survey will take approximately 20 minutes to complete, when you have time available. Your participation will be anonymous.  In other words, your personal identity will not be revealed.  Those who complete the survey will have the option of having their name included in a draw for a $100 gift card from an agricultural supply store of their choice. Continue reading

Water Law: A Look at PEI’s Water Act

Tuesday, October 2, 2018 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the PEI Farm Centre, University Ave, Charlottetown

Join East Coast Environmental Law and the Coalition for Protection of PEI Water for a discussion of the Water Act, looking forward to the release of regulations and another round of consultations.

Lisa Mitchell from ECE Law will provide an overview of the Act.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

6-8 pm

The Farm Centre, Charlottetown

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