• John Jantak

Vaudreuil-Soulanges farmers meet with federal government representatives


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Marie-Claude Bibeau, the federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food and Peter Schiefke, federal MP for Vaudreuil-Soulanges met with the region’s farmers and agricultural producers at Quinn Farm in Notre-Dame-de-l’île-Perrot on February 14.

Farmers and agricultural producers from across the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region met with the federal government representatives to discuss the current state of the industry at a gathering held at Quinn Farm in Notre-Dame-de-l’île-Perrot on February 14.

Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, and Peter Schiefke, Member of Parliament (MP) for Vaudreuil-Soulanges, held the discussions to talk about food growers’ concerns and the current state of the industry in a rapidly evolving world challenged by climate change.

Precious commodities

“I could feel they are very interested in doing good things around the environment” Bibeau told The Journal after the meeting. “Obviously for all farmers, the environment, their land and animals are the most precious commodities which are the legacy they’re leaving for their children.

“This group seemed particularly interested in organics. They want to know more about the research that has been done in this sector and how they can share best practices. We talked quite a bit also about agri-tourism which something that is done a lot in this region and the challenges they have as well,” said Bibeau.

The minister noted that Quinn Farm is a great example of what can be done in terms of agri-tourism. Bibeau added it’s important for Canadians and Quebecers to better understand the hard work that farmers do. “Just to know where your food comes and what’s behind it is important,” she said.

Concerns and success stories

For Schiefke, the meeting was a way to touch base with regional farmers to hear about their concerns and also to share success stories.

“A priority for me is to always ensure I’m accessible and that I give opportunities for business owners and different stakeholders to have the chance to ask questions, learn more about government programs that exist and also share some of the things that are working really well for them or things that are challenging,” said Schiefke.

“The meeting was an opportunity for me to have Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food come in and meet directly with the region’s producers and our growers and answer questions, but more importantly, hear their concerns,” Schiefke added.

Bringing farmers together

The meeting allowed farmers to talk about practices that work well and about other things that could be working better. Schiefke said it was a chance for him and Bibeau to able to listen directly to what farmers and producers had to say and learn about things the government could do that could better serve them.

“We were able to have representatives from various different farms. We had the agri-tourism sector which is a huge part of our community. There was a diverse range of participants who took part in the discussions including beef producers and other growers. It was about brining everybody together,” said Schiefke.

“The purpose today was so that I could gather information that they’re looking for by being the conduit that gives them answers in return,” he added. “I’ll be following up with them with more in depth information later on.”

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