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Lethbridge Herald: Let Farmers Grow!

In 1978, at the Future Farmers of America convention, radio broadcaster Paul Harvey gave a speech entitled “So God Made a Farmer,” which outlined the characteristics of an individual who was fit to be a caretaker of the land and the animals that lived on it: someone who was hardworking and tough enough to bear the weight of struggle and adversity, yet gentle enough to care for animals that were suffering. In his speech, Harvey hypothesized:


“God said, "I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt. And watch it die. Then dry his eyes and say, 'Maybe next year.' I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from a persimmon sprout, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, who can make harness out of haywire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. And who, planting time and harvest season, will finish his forty-hour week by Tuesday noon, then, pain'n from 'tractor back,' put in another seventy-two hours." So God made a farmer.”


In his simple, yet powerful tribute to farmers, Paul Harvey assigned dignity and honour to those who work night and day, often in challenging and unpredictable circumstances, to keep us fed.


Farmers across Canada deserve this level of recognition every single day. What we are witnessing instead, however, is a direct attack launched by the federal government against these hardworking men and women and the remarkable job they do—for us.


In addition to the ever-increasing carbon tax, which has made farming an even more costly endeavor, the Trudeau Liberals are narrowing in their sights on fertilizer use. In December 2020, the Prime Minister announced plans for “a national target to reduce absolute levels of GHG emissions arising from fertilizer application by 30% below 2020 levels by 2030.”


In response to the forthcoming assault, Fertilizer Canada commissioned a report from the accounting firm MNP. The report concluded that the mandated fertilizer reductions would result in a $48 billion loss in farm incomes over the eight years leading up to 2030. What’s worse, this loss in income and food production will do absolutely nothing of significance to reduce worldwide GHG emissions.


Fertilizer Canada issued a statement saying, “Because Canadian farmers are already among the most sustainable growers in the world, they have less room to lower fertilizer emissions without compromising their food production than those in other countries.”

The federal government’s attack on farmers is virtue signaling at its finest.


Canadian agriculture producers are among the most sustainable growers in the world. Fertilizer is expensive, and just like any profit-driven business, famers do not want to expend unnecessary expenses, so they use fertilizer sparingly. In fact, farmers hire agronomists to help them care for the soil, water, and crops in a sustainable manner. Their goal is to produce the greatest yield using the smallest amount of fertilizer possible. For the federal government to assume it knows more than farmers about fertilizer use, food production, or even environmental practices is foolish.


This ridiculous policy will not only fail in its claim to save the planet, but it will also cause significant food shortages, make Canadians pay more to feed their families, and cause increased poverty and starvation in Canada and other parts of the developing world that depend on us.


This is not a solution to the record high food prices and supply chain shortages we are experiencing because of the government’s inflation-inducing deficit spending and Putin’s war against Ukraine.


The current government’s political measures make things worse. While the Prime Minister can pat himself on the back for “doing something” to appease his enviro-activist supporters, he is in fact kneecapping the agriculture sector and further punishing Canadians who are already having a hard time filling up a grocery cart to feed their families.


Constituents regularly visit, call, or email my office to share with me how difficult it is to afford their daily necessities. Individuals who have jobs that were once considered “good paying jobs,” now cannot afford to pay for gas and rent. I think of seniors who are on a fixed income or those who live with a disability who must make ends meet on a small government-stipend—these folks are finding it almost impossible to meet their basic needs. Food banks can’t keep up with the demand being placed on them.


Politically motivated policies like this are crippling Canada’s economy and hurting Canadians. The Trudeau Liberals need to axe their attack on farmers and allow them to function as experts in food production so they can continue to feed Canada and the world.


We should be celebrating and supporting our innovative, resourceful, responsible, and hardworking farmers, not forcing them to jump through more unnecessary hoops and punitive regulations.


Canadian agriculture is a superpower that sets us apart as a nation that can feed the world. Let’s give our farmers the tools they need and the respect they deserve so they can continue to be leaders in their field and champions of our country!

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