Verlyn Olson, PC Candidate for Wetaskiwin-Camrose, shares how the Prentice Plan will encourage and support the growth of Alberta’s agricultural industry.
By Verlyn Olson, PC Candidate for Wetaskiwin-Camrose
Growing up in Camrose, I was raised with a healthy respect for the land and the importance of the agriculture sector. Today, my wife and I live on the same land that was homesteaded by my grandparents decades ago.
In my role as Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, I found myself thinking about my grandparents a fair bit. Like them, tens of thousands of Albertans earn their living off the land each day, growing the products and raising the livestock that feed Alberta’s families and contribute to the economies of Alberta’s rural communities.
Our province has over 50 million acres of agricultural land. Alberta’s agricultural producers grow and raise an impressive array of commodities, and together they help contribute to the $77 billion economic footprint of rural Alberta each year.
This is an incredible advantage that we can leverage.
The world’s population continues to grow, meaning there are more mouths to feed every year. It also means more opportunities for Alberta to produce, market and sell higher-value agricultural products in North America and around the world.
Our plan will encourage and support the growth of Alberta’s agricultural industry by:
- Leveraging facilities such as the Leduc Food Processing Development Centre and Agrivalue Processing Business Incubator, for product development, key research, innovation and commercialization;
- Attracting the next generation of agricultural producers and supporting them as they enter the industry;
- Enhancing access for Alberta agricultural producers to international markets, especially in the Asia-Pacific Region;
- Reducing interprovincial trade barriers and promoting free trade within Canada; and
- Investing in infrastructure across Alberta, including rural roads and highways, to support access and efficient movement of agricultural products to various markets.
We must also remember that Alberta’s agriculture sector depends on the health and viability of its land base. It’s important that we respect and protect the property rights of landowners.
Under Premier Prentice, the government introduced Bill 1, the Respecting Property Rights Act, to give landowners further reassurance that their rights will be respected. We will ensure that the government does not have – and never will have – the right to take away land for public purposes without providing full, fair and proper compensation.
We see Alberta’s agriculture sector as one of our province’s powerful competitive strengths and our plan will ensure the growth of agriculture and our economy for many decades to come.