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OPINION: on the Peace Region Agricultural tour

“Many peace region farmers and consumers are at the breaking point.”

On May 5, local MP Bob Zimmer and Shadow Minister for Northern Affairs, Arctic Sovereignty and Northern Economic Development and fellow MP John Barlow (Foothills, Alberta), Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Agri-Food and Food Security, travelled around the B.C. Peace to meet with local farmers and grain producers to hear about the many challenges they are facing.  

They started the day at the Dawson Creek Auction Mart where they met with Connie Patterson and cattle producers from the B.C. Breeders and Feeders Association.

From there, they met with Peace Region Forage Seed Association, which operates a Living Lab project that is focused on producing carbon capture technology, mitigating greenhouse gases, and enhancing agroecosystem services. 

The two MPs then spent the afternoon in the North Peace where they met with the Hannah Willms of the B.C. Grain Producers and the North Pine Farmers Institute to hear from several local farmers to hear the struggles they are facing in their agricultural operations. 

One thing that was evident in every meeting was that the government is failing to listen to Canadian farmers, especially here in the Peace River region.  

“It’s important that we talk to producers on the ground and those that are dealing with the issues every single day and hear about the things that are impacting them and find solutions to address the concerns,” Barlow said on Friday. “Farmers are a critical part of our economy, and we want to make sure that Canadians understand that agriculture is part of the solution and not part of the problem,” said Barlow.

“In 2030 when the Liberals will triple their carbon tax, it will cost an average 5,000 acre farm in Canada $150,000 a year in carbon taxes alone. That puts the economic viability, the sustainability of Canadian agriculture at risk.” 

Barlow and Zimmer agree that in the near future, federal agricultural policy must be environmentally sustainable, socially sustainable, and, most importantly, economically sustainable.

“Despite the fact our local farmers are facing enormous financial pressures, the Prime Minister is not only ignoring their concerns, he is actively implementing policies, such as limiting fertilizer use, which is making a very tough situation even worse. Skyrocketing grocery prices and farm costs have been felt by consumers and farmers alike,” said Zimmer. “Many peace region farmers and consumers are at the breaking point.”

Zimmer and Barlow recognize the hard work that goes into producing food for Canadians and say they will implement policies that ensure farmers are supported in their work while promoting environmentally sustainable policies.

“I want to thank our farmers for what they do for all of us and to my friend and colleague John Barlow for making the B.C. Peace a priority. I am immensely proud of how our Peace River farmers and agricultural leaders have persevered through these challenging times while being good stewards of the land but our farmers need this government to listen.” 

Bob Zimmer is the Member of Parliament for Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies; Shadow Minister for Northern Affairs, Arctic Sovereignty and Northern Economic Development

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