Gateway Gazette

International Agriculture Summit Focuses on Rural Issues

Agriculture Minister Verlyn Olson will highlight Alberta’s actions to strengthen agriculture and rural development at the Legislative Ag Chairs Summit in Florida in January.

The annual summit, organized by the State Agriculture and Rural Leaders, brings together key industry representatives and elected officials from across Canada and the United States to discuss agriculture and rural issues, legislation and policy. Minister Olson has been invited to make a presentation about Alberta’s Rural Economic Development Action Plan.

“The summit is an important opportunity to share details about the concrete steps Alberta is taking to support rural development and the role agriculture will have in driving our future economic growth. The event is also a valuable forum to speak candidly about pressing issues affecting the agriculture sector like trade barriers.”

– Verlyn Olson, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development

During the summit, Alberta will continue to advocate for changes to the U.S. government’s mandatory Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) measures. These measures are creating unnecessary additional costs for the livestock industry by requiring that meat derived from animals born, reared or slaughtered outside the U.S. be labelled to indicate the countries involved. The recent World Trade Organization ruling that COOL is a violation of American trade obligations is currently under appeal.

Other summit agenda items include agricultural sustainability, water quality, animal health, and renewable energy.

In addition to other provincial agriculture ministers, Canada’s Ambassador to the United States, Gary Doer, will be part of the Canadian delegation and speaking at the event. The Canadian delegation also includes representation from the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and the Canadian Pork Council.

The summit runs from January 2-4 in Clearwater, Florida.

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