Andy Walker

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***The federal election is now well past the halfway point. The political parties have released their platforms and agriculture industry groups have made their wish list known. Sustainability is once again a buzzword in many of the documents and there is a greater appreciation for smaller and local. That is a direct result of the pandemic, as supply chains were disrupted when COVID ran rampant in large production plants. The Green Party of having a third of exports converted to domestic production is an intriguing idea but more details are needed on how it would work in practice. There are the usual pledges of support for supply management that have to be taken with a grain of salt given the record of governments for the last several decades. The supply managed industries have been forced to give up market share again and again in trade deals and, unfortunately, the safest bet would be that will continue no matter who forms the government.

***As I write this, the province is hunkering down for rain and high winds as the remnants of Hurricane Ida pass over the province. Hopefully, farmers will escape relatively unscathed and an almost picture perfect growing season will continue until harvest. There may be no such thing as a "normal" year anymore as climate change continues to impact the front lines of agriculture but 2021 so far is as close as we can probably hope to come.

***The Canadian Cost of Production Network released data from 25 cow-calf and three dairy-beef production systems across the country (including one Island operation) that pegged the average cost of production at $1,123. Keep in mind that is the average so there will obviously be some operations on both sides of the price spectrum. Having such information is important to producers as they can see how their own costs stack up against farms of similar size. The network is planning to expand its efforts in the future and that is definitely good news.

***Kudos to the PEI Women's Institute for establishing two $1,000 scholarships this year based on the sales of the books written by the Interministerial Women's Secretariat profiling the lives and careers of PEI's Famous Five in their own words. The book marked the 25th anniversary of the June 7, 1993 sitting of the legislature when the five major legislative offices were held by women for the first (and to date only) time in Canadian history. Marion Reid was lieutenant governor, Catherine Callbeck was premier, Pat Mella was opposition leader, the late Nancy Guptill was speaker of the legislature and Libbe Hubley was deputy speaker. The scholarships are for students pursuing studies in agriculture and health. Having covered the legislature for a number of years during my reporting career, I got to know all five women well and I have no doubt in saying they wholeheartedly support the idea.

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