Regional Convention – August 7

AylaThe Region One annual convention will take place on Monday, August 7th at Milton Community Hall in Miltonvale Park. With guest speaker, Ayla Fenton. Ayla will also participate in a youth retreat on the weekend prior to the convention.

Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Milton Community Hall and the meeting is expected to conclude at approximately 4:00 p.m.  The registration fee of $20 per person includes the noon meal. For information about the convention, including childcare, call Reg Phelan at 902-961-2428.  Both PEI Agriculture Minister Hon. Alan McIsaac and Federal Agriculture Minister Hon. Lawrence MacAulay have been invited to address the gathering.

 

Holding Ponds & Protecting PEI Water

Guest Opinion by Edith Ling,

Women’s District Director of the National Farmers Union

May 17, 2017

The general public needs to be very concerned about the construction of holding ponds used to hold water for agricultural irrigation purposes. It appears to me that these holding ponds are a way around the 2002 moratorium placed on the drilling of high capacity wells in this province.

At a meeting with Department of Environment officials on March 29, 2017 to review the draft Water Act, the question was asked about how these ponds were going to be filled. The answer given on that day was that there would be one well (low capacity) allowed per pond. That seemed to be a reasonable answer.

The same question was asked of the Dept. of Environment official at the public meeting to consider the draft Water Act in Charlottetown on April 10, 2017. The information given at that meeting was there would be one well allowed per property identification number (PID) per pond.

This is a substantial difference. Many farmers have a number of parcels of land, each with a different identification number and we know water can be piped for great distances. It is easy to see that the plan is to use several wells to fill these holding ponds.
In a telephone call to the same Department of Environment official, Jim Young, a day or so later, he was asked why the change had been made. He replied that there were no changes made. When he was questioned as to why he had not mentioned the property identification number involvement at the March 29, 2017 meeting, his response was “You did not ask.”

This is a totally unacceptable answer from a public servant. It would appear that not all the information was shared at the March 29 meeting or indeed a change has been made.
It is difficult to understand what the difference would be between one high capacity well filling a pond or several low capacity wells doing the same job.

Either way, hundreds of thousands of gallons of precious water are being extracted.

Even more interesting is the fact that the highest pumping capacity for a low capacity well is 50 igpm (imperial gallons per minute) while the lowest pumping capacity for a high capacity well is just over 50 igpm. Both wells will require permits.

I realize that the matter of these holding ponds will be dealt with in the Regulations under the Water Act. Regulations can be changed by the stroke of a pen at any meeting of the cabinet.

The general public needs to be vigilant about this matter and ensure that these holding ponds are not an innovative way to circumvent the moratorium on high capacity wells for agricultural irrigation. We need to make sure that our water supply is protected and preserved for this and future generations.

2016 Census of Agriculture Released

“Farm operators are slightly older and there are fewer farms in Canada than in 2011, but farms are on average larger and more area is devoted to crop production according to the results from the 2016 Census of Agriculture.

Over the next six weeks, articles digging deeper into different aspects of Canadian agriculture will be published with further analysis of census results.

The number of farm operators declined from 2011 while the average age continued to rise. However, the proportion of operators under 35 years of age edged up for the first time since 1991. Despite the increase in the average age, only 1 in 12 operations reported having a formal succession plan laying out how the operation will be transferred to the next generation of farmers.”

Read more here.

District Newsletter – MAY 2017

TO THE MEMBERSHIP OF DISTRICT 1, REGION 1 – I am pleased to bring you this newsletter to give an update on the work of the National Farmers Union in this District over the past couple of months.

FERTILIZER AGREEMENT – Members of the Collective Bargaining Committee recently met with PEI Agromart to negotiate a fertilizer deal for NFU members for this year. The following items comprise the agreement for 2017 which will be signed in the very near future:

(1) The commencement date of this agreement was April 1, 2017.

(2) The agreement on fertilizer purchases will be in effect until November 30, 2017. Farmers are encouraged to have their fertilizer accounts paid by that date. Rebates will be paid to farmers according to the amount paid by that date. The rebate to NFU members will be $8.00 per tonne, same as last year. The rebate paid on the Summerside Soil Amendment is $2.00 per tonne this year.

(3) P. E. I. Agromart will make payment owed to farmers and the NFU by Dec. 31, 2017.  Please see the attached brochure from Agromart. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU IDENTIFY YOURSELF AS A NFU MEMBER AT THE TIME OF EVERY PURCHASE.  For more information on this program, please contact any of the Collective Bargaining Committee members – Gordon Vessey at 902-629-1332; Vernon MacLeod at 902-651-2406 or myself at 902-436-2518. Continue reading

Canada’s NFU tweets President Trump a solution to US dairy crisis

(April 20, 2017 – Courtenay, BC) – Today, the President of National Farmers Union (NFU) sent US President Donald Trump a letter via Twitter, encouraging him to adopt a solution that would make America’s dairy farmers great again.

“We have compassion for American family farmers who are experiencing record low farm-gate milk prices. We understand many are forced to take on terrible debt loads. Those who cannot survive this crisis are seeing their hopes and dreams dashed. This is the very situation our own farmers were in 50 years ago,” said Jan Slomp, NFU President.

“In President Trump’s speech on Tuesday, he said he wasn’t just looking for answers, he is looking for a solution,” said Jan Slomp, NFU President. “We decided to share with the President the principles of a system that will work for dairy farmers, rural communities, processors, workers consumers and governments.

“American dairy farmers are facing the same problems dairy farmers in the European Union, New Zealand and Australia are struggling with: prices so low they don’t cover the cost of production. When everyone tries to make up for low prices by producing more of a perishable product, it just makes the problem worse,” explained Slomp. “The USA cannot solve its dairy crisis by taking over the Canadian dairy market and putting our farmers out of business. But if it adopts its own supply management system, it could begin to restore prosperity to rural America.”

“This solution, which we call Supply Management, was created by Canadian farmers and governments in the late 1960s. Instead of exporting milk, we would be pleased to export this unique and successful dairy policy innovation,” added Slomp.
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For more information:
Jan Slomp, President, National Farmers Union (Canada): 403-704-4364
To read the letter to President Trump, see below or click here