By: Nancy Carlson, Policy Analyst, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture
When going through the process of policy analysis and development, it is critical to make sure the stakeholder voice is brought into the conversation.
For this reason, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) are engaging stakeholders on the policy framework that will replace Growing Forward 2 on April 1, 2018.
Round one of the provincial consultations took place on June 14 in Regina, to coincide with Canada’s Farm Progress Show. A morning session brought together groups from the crop sector, while the afternoon focused on the livestock sector. Participants shared their views on the current suite of programs, industry priorities like market access and research, and the importance of continuity and flexibility in future program offerings. Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart was present to hear the results of the discussions.
This first round of consultations will inform the next step in the planning process for the next policy framework – the July release of the Ministerial Policy Statement, called the Calgary Statement. Minister Stewart will meet with federal, provincial and territorial Agriculture Ministers to ensure Saskatchewan priorities are supported by the Calgary Statement.
The Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture will continue to engage industry throughout the negotiation process. Future consultations will focus on specific programs to fit the themes identified in the first round and will be expanded to include a broader list of stakeholders. The province also intends to develop an online survey for fall 2016.
Nationally, AAFC kicked off its consultations by launching an online questionnaire in early May. This survey allows a broad public audience to comment on the key issues they would like addressed in the next agreement. The survey is open until July 31 and can be completed online on the Public Opinion and Consultations web page.
In addition to the online survey, AAFC hosted a consultation event in Ottawa on June 9. Representatives from national agriculture organizations highlighted the key issues for the sector, assessed the effectiveness of GF2 programs and signalled directions for the future.
Over the next 18 months, the provincial and federal governments will work to negotiate a new agreement to follow Growing Forward 2. Continued engagement with stakeholders will help to ensure the next policy framework aligns with industry priorities.