Commissions appreciate being spared from deep cuts in PC’s 2013-14
(Calgary, AB) March 8, 2013 — Following a conference call with Alberta Agriculture & Rural Development (AARD) Minister Verlyn Olson the evening of March 7, Alberta Barley and the Alberta Wheat Commission learned the extent of the cuts to agriculture.
The ministry slashed $44.8 million from its operating and capital budgets, including the province’s six-cent farm fuel rebate, which accounted for $32.5 million in cuts.
The current nine-cent fuel exemption will remain intact.
ABC Chairman Matt Sawyer said while losing the six-cent fuel rebate was tough, this now brings Alberta in line with other provinces. The government felt the fuel cut was a way they could focus on other priorities.
“Despite the fuel rebate loss, we’re encouraged by the commitment of the government on its three key priorities— innovation, market development and value-added opportunities,” said Sawyer.
The Alberta Wheat Commission’s Chairman Kent Erickson said there’s never a good time for cuts, but two years of good grain pricing make the cuts easier to handle.
“It’s a little easier when times are fairly good and we’re managing our money well,” said Erickson. “The government had to make cuts and it’s nice to see that they were not too harsh with the line items that were removed.”
The government cut 30 jobs, including six senior ministry positions and three from Alberta Financial Services Corporation. Other cuts were made to the Alberta Livestock & Meat Agency and the irrigation and farmwater budget.
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As Canada’s only barley commission, Alberta Barley is a not-for-profit organization directed, funded and controlled by the province’s barley farmers. The Commission coordinates and sponsors research, market development, technology transfer and policy development on behalf of its producers.
The Alberta Wheat Commission is a producer-led organization that represents the interests of and serves as the single voice for all of Alberta’s wheat producers. The AWC operates under the auspices of the Marketing of Agricultural Products Act (MAPA) and is funded by a mandatory/refundable service charge that is used to support the organization’s strategic priorities.