Normand Boulet, CCA
M.D. of Smoky River No. 130
In January 2017 at the Provincial Agricultural Service Board (A.S.B.) Conference, at least three resolutions will be presented and voted on by the delegates.
If a resolution is carried at the Conference, then it is sent to the appropriate body (i.e. Alberta Agriculture and Forestry) as a recommendation which carries the weight of the Province’s A.S.B.’s.
I’ll talk about the resolutions in a moment, first I need to explain a bit about A.S.B’s and how the resolution process works.
A.S.B.’s have been in existence since 1945, they were introduced on a trial basis and when Alberta Agriculture saw how effective they were for dealing with local agricultural issues, the province passed the A.S.B. Act and offered some funding to encourage rural municipalities to put A.S.B’s in place.
They were definitely a success and currently all 70 of the rural municipalities in the province (County, M.D., or Special Areas) have appointed A.S.B’s.
In some municipalities the Council has appointed themselves as the A.S.B., in others they have appointed 1 or 2 Councilors plus members at large from the municipality (usually area producers, but it can be anyone with an interest in agriculture) and some municipalities have appointed Advisory Council’s, either in addition to or instead of an A.S.B. to advise Council on Ag related issues.
According to the A.S.B. Act, if Council appoints a Board, they must also appoint an Agricultural Fieldman to “implement agricultural policies and programs and to manage the agricultural resources of the municipality.”
Under the Act the A.S.B. (and I’m paraphrasing here) acts as an advisory body to Council and to the Minister of Agriculture, organizes and directs ag programs, promotes programs and policies to meet the needs of the municipality and with a view to improving the economic viability of the agricultural producer.
One of the ways A.S.B’s try to improve things for their producers is to identify issues that could impact their municipality and either their region or the province, and to bring forward resolutions.
The resolutions sometimes ask for changes to current programs, for new programs or to lobby the provincial or federal government to take action.
The resolutions are presented by the individual A.S.B’s at their Regional Conferences (the province is broken into five regions, Peace, NW, NE, Central and South).
The resolutions are debated, sometimes amended and then voted on.
If the resolution passes at the Regional, it is brought to the Provincial level, unless it only deals with a Regional issue.
At the Peace Region Conference, two resolutions were carried, and at the Central Conference one was carried.
It is still possible an emergent issue may arise and an A.S.B. might bring an emergent resolution to the Provincial Conference, but currently only three resolutions are proposed, they are:
From the M.D. of Smoky River – “Ensuring competition for seed and crop protection products.” We are asking for Alberta Ag, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Administrative Tribunals Support Service of Canada to work cooperatively to ensure a merger between Bayer and Monsanto is either prevented, or allowed only in a manner which assures competition of agricultural seed and crop protection products. We are concerned because according to 2010 stats, 93 per cent of Canola seed was either Invigor (Bayer) or Roundup Ready (licensed by Monsanto). A merger between the two companies would give them an almost monopoly on many seed and crop protection products.
From Northern Sunrise County – “Agri-Food Education in the Classroom”. NSC is asking that Alberta Ag increase the amount of time spent in the school curriculum to discuss food and agriculture, as well as establishing a panel of Ag and Nutrition experts to create that curriculum. The concern is with fewer and fewer people having a direct link to agriculture, and with consumer interest and concern increasing, that not enough time is spent teaching our future consumers about agriculture & nutrition.
From the County of Stettler – “Vegetation Management of Alberta Provincial Highways”. Concern is with the inadequate vegetation management (primarily regarding the control of noxious and prohibited noxious weeds) on Alberta highways. The resolution also asks that Alberta Transportation allow all districts of the province to enter into a service agreement with municipalities for weed control.
As you can see, the concerns and issues of Boards is extremely varied.
Resolutions are just one of the ways the Provinces A.S.B.’s bring forward concerns.
The A.S.B’s also meet with the Ministers and MLA’s, send letters and utilize the Provincial A.S.B. Committee as a lobby force on their behalf.
The A.S.B.’s and the Agricultural Fieldmen work tirelessly and cooperatively to try and ensure the province’s agricultural resources (including our producers) remain viable.
If you have any questions, please contact me at (780) 837-0043 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.