Andy Walker

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***The decision by Atlantic Beef Products Inc to increase the production premiums is great news for everybody involved with the beef industry. Producers know that if they follow the protocols associated with PEI Certified Beef, Blue Dot Reserve and Verified Beef Production Plus, they will be rewarded with higher returns. While following protocols and best practices always involves a cost, all too often in agriculture there is little or no financial reward. Kudos to the plant management for recognizing rewarding producers for producing quality is the best way to ensure long term success and growth both the plant and the maritime cattle industry.

***Good planning is an essential ingredient to the success of any industry and agriculture is no different. However, this industry has to deal every day with a major variable few other sectors have to deal with on a regular basis-- weather. That was certainly brought home as Kevin MacIsaac was going through his snapshot of the Canadian potato industry during the recent United Potato Partners meeting at Red Shores. The industry did a reasonably good job across the country when it came time to decided how much acreage to plant last spring. Where there were additional acres, there was also a growing demand due to increased processing capacity. If everything had gone to plan, supply and demand would have been relatively balanced. However, mother nature assures a growing season seldom happens by the book. Manitoba lost significant acres due to frost and snow, not to mention storage issues with wet potatoes. It is a situation Island growers know all too well as the 2018 growing season is still fresh in everybody's mind. That being said, efforts to regulate supply to demand as close as the elements will permit is still a necessary elements in 21st century farming.

***Congratulations to Oyster Cove Farms and the Ramsay family for winning the 2019 Gilbert R. Clements Award for Excellence in Environmental Farm Planning. This family have been leaders in not only using best management practices on their farm, but in being involved with organizations like 4R Nutrient Stewardship, PEI Soil and Crop Improvement Association and the Kensington North Watershed Association that encourage producers to learn from each other.

***For many people Horace Carver will always be associated with the Lands Protection Act. He guided the bill through the legislature back in 1982 and was called upon by former premier Robert Ghiz in 2012 to conduct a review of the legislation. As the current administration prepares to introduce what Agriculture and Land Minister Bloyce Thompson calls Lands Protection Act 2.0, it was interesting to hear Carver's perspective in an appearance before the Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability. The former cabinet minister said one recommendation from his 2013 report he was sure would be implemented by now is a land bank. It has been promised on a number of occasions since -- most recently in the Speech from the Throne last June. The $365,000 allocated for the project in this year's capital budget leaves doubt but how serious their commitment is to the idea. It is time they laid out a firm plan with some real dollars behind it or else put the idea back on the shelf.

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