Government of Canada/Public Works — November 30, 2012

Governments of Canada and Ontario Encourage Agricultural Innovation Among Processors and Producers

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 30, 2012) - Leading processors and producers from a cross-section of Canada's agricultural sector are meeting today to identify ways to better work together in the development of a more effective and efficient supply chain.

Co-hosted by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the one-day Agri-Processors/Producers' Summit will increase the dialogue between processors, producers, and governments to strengthen Canada's food supply chain and help enhance the competitiveness of the sector.

"Our Government is transforming agricultural policy in Canada by focusing more on innovation, competitiveness, and market access," said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. "By bringing processors and producers together in the same room, we are helping them to better understand one another's challenges and opportunities, ultimately improving their partnership, production, and the Canadian economy."

"Ontario supports innovation as the foundation for long-term profitability, competitiveness, and sustainability," said Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Ted McMeekin, who spoke at the opening of the Summit. "By working together, farmers and processors can leverage greater innovation, economic growth, and jobs for the sector and the province."

About 40 processors and producers, along with federal and provincial government officials, are discussing ways to make the agriculture industry more effective and efficient. This Summit was organized following a commitment made by Ministers Ritz and McMeekin at the federal-provincial-territorial ministers of agriculture meeting in Whitehorse to bring producers and processors together to help continue the dialogue between the groups.

Canada's food and beverage processing sector is the country's largest manufacturing industry in terms of value of production, with shipments worth more than $92 billion. It is also the largest manufacturing employer, providing jobs to 290,000 Canadians, and it is the primary buyer for Canadian farmers, who drove our economy with more than $40 billion in farm gate sales last year. Ontario accounts for about 36 per cent of the country's total employment in the sector.

Both the Governments of Canada and Ontario are committed to supporting a more innovative agriculture sector. In fact, they have identified innovation as a priority under the next federal-provincial-territorial agricultural policy initiative, Growing Forward 2. This discussion is another example of what is being done to enhance competitiveness and drive market development and long-term growth in Canadian agriculture.

Today's Summit comes on the heels of the first meeting of the recently formed Agri-Innovators' Committee, the first national advisory body to provide advice to Minister Ritz on agricultural innovation. The Committee is comprised of successful innovators from across Canada and an array of agricultural sectors with a broad range of expertise and skills. Several members are participating in today's Agri-Processors/Producers' Summit.

A summary of what was discussed will be made public at a future date. Please see the attached backgrounder for a full list of participants.

Backgrounder

Processors and producers representing a wide array of commodities from across Canada were invited to today's Agri-Processors/Producers' Summit to discuss how to improve the agri-food supply chain through innovation. The following is a list of participants:

Agri-Processors Producers
Doug Alexander – Wing's Food Products, Ont. *Lloyd Affleck, Sask.
Robert Anderson – Bonduelle, Que. Peter Clarke, N.S.
Dominique Benoit – Agropur, Que Steve Eby, Ont.
Chantelle Donahue – Cargill, Alta. *David Fuller, N.S.
David Fielder – Ceapro, Alta. Andrew Gordanier, Ont.
Bruna Gambino – Heinz Canada, Ont. Marcel Groleau, Que.
André Gosselin – Nutra Canada, Que. Brett Halstead, Sask.
Henry Iacobelli – Sunbrite, Ont. Gord Hardy, Ont.
Robert Irving – Cavendish Farms, N.B. *Don Kenny, Ont.
Rob Kee – Ingredion, Ont. Keith Kuhl, Man.
John Kelly – Otter Valley Foods, Ont. Steve Levasseur, Que.
Rory Lesperance – Farinart, Que. Laurent Mercier Jr., Que.
Peter Luik – Dare Foods, Ont. Yvan Michon, Que.
Rob MacNeil – HapiFoods, B.C. Murray Porteous, Ont.
Rory McAlpine – Maple Leaf Foods, Ont. Florian Possberg, Sask.
George Paleologou – Premium Brands, B.C. Bruce Shackleton, Ont.
Ray Price – Sunterra Meats, Alta. Henry Van Ankum, Ont.
David Schwartz – Quality Meats, Ont. *Bill Vanderkooi, B.C.
*Jim Thorne – Marsan Foods, Ont. David Vincent, Que.
Pierre Turner – Lassonde Industries, Que. *denotes an Agri-Innovators' Committee

Contact Information

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
613-773-7972
1-866-345-7972

Jeff English
Press Secretary
The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
613-773-1059
Jeffrey.english@agr.gc.ca

Amber Anderson
Press Secretary
The Office of the Honourable Ted McMeekin
416-326-6439
Amber.anderson@ontario.ca

Susan Murray
OMAFRA Communications
519-826-3145
Susan.murray@ontario.ca

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