Ministers of Agriculture, Environment to Speak at District Convention

NATIONAL FARMERS UNION DISTRICT 1, REGION 1 DISTRICT CONVENTION Tuesday, April 3, 2018 – Milton Community Hall

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Robert Henderson and Minister of Communities, Land and the Environment, Richard Brown will address NFU members on April 3rd at the District Convention in Milton. Two important pieces of legislation, the PEI Lands Protection Act and the new Water Act, will most certainly be on the agenda.

There will also be a presentation by researchersDr. Judith Nyiraneza, Barry Thompson, Kyra Stiles who recently released a report detailing a 20-year study of PEI soil organic levels. There has been an overall decline in organic matter, which is also related to water retention capacity. The researchers identified 3 main reasons for the downward trend: increased erosion in heavy rain events, declining number of livestock operations, providing less manure for the soil, and frequent tillage.

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The convention is open to the public. Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m. and the meeting will be called to order at 10:00 a.m. The registration fee is $20 per person and this includes a meal at noon. Adjournment is planned for 4:00 p.m. (The storm date is Thursday, April 5).

Region One Annual Convention

The Region One annual convention was held on August 7 in Milton, Prince Edward Island. NFU members from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island enjoyed a full day of presentations and discussion – and a tasty meal provided by the team at the Milton Community Hall.

Ayla Fenton, National Youth Director, provided an overview of new farmers in Canada. There were reports from Regional Director, Reg Phelan, Youth Director, Philippe Gervais and Women’s Director, Shannon Jones.

Supply Management and the North American Free Trade Agreement (and its upcoming renegotiation) was the subject of a panel discussion, with Rosalind Waters of the PEI Trade Justice Network, Doug Thompson, Dairy Farmers of PEI, and Everett Baker representing labour/consumers. Chris and Mary Mermuys presented some detailed information about recent land acquisitions by off-Island investors. And Jean-Eudes Chiasson and Ayla Fenton gave a report on the recent meeting of La Via Campesina in the Basque Region of Spain.

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Ayla Fenton, National Youth Director

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Rosalind Waters of the PEI Trade Justice Network

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Jean-Eudes Chiasson and Ayla Fenton

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.

 

Another Successful District Convention

The district convention on March 28 was a well-attended affair, with farmers from across the Island gathering at Milton Community Hall. The agenda was full. The highlight was the keynote presentation by NFU President Jan Slomp (see the CBC coverage here, and the Charlottetown Guardian article here). Minister Allan MacIsaac spoke briefly and answered questions. The documentary made by Don Kossick, and featuring many local NFU members – Islanders and the Land – was screened (see the video on youtube here).

Executive members Byron Petrie, Edith Ling and Doug Campbell

Doug Campbell (District President), Edith Ling (Women’s President) and Byron Petrie (Youth President) were re-elected.

The following resolutions were passed:

  1. WHEREAS it is becoming increasingly difficult for family farmers in general and young or beginning farmers in particular to obtain land for farming purposes, THEREFORE BE RESOLVED that the National Farmers Union request that the P.E.I. Government introduce a voluntary land banking program, similar to the former Land Development Corporation (LDC) program, through which farms would be purchased from farmers wishing to retire and this land would then be made available for lease or purchase by other family farmers.
  1. BE IT RESOLVED that the National Farmers Union request the P. E. I. Government to prohibit absentee ownership and corporate control of P. E. I. farmland.
  1. WHEREAS in the past, land that was leased was counted as part of the total aggregate land holdings of both the person who was leasing the land and also the person from whom the land was being leased, and WHEREAS this “double counting” of leased land was discontinued several years ago, and WHEREAS this is a way for large operations to control additional land for production, and WHEREAS this practice of not “double counting” leased land is scheduled to continue until December 31, 2020, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the National Farmers Union request the Government of P. E. I. to re-establish the double counting of leased farmland by December 31, 2020.
  1. WHEREAS forest land is not included in the land holding limits for arable land, and WHEREAS deforestation is taking place at an alarming rate in this Province, and WHEREAS forests are essential for windbreaks, erosion control, and replenishing the water table and are   useful for a habitat for wildlife and for the sequestering of carbon, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the National Farmers Union request the Government of P. E. I. to put into place a program to stop this unnecessary clear-cutting of our forests.