Agriculture ministers discuss trade, risk management at two day meeting

The conversation is expected to focus on federal AgriStability program, which helps farmers with large losses

Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay is wrapping up talks with his provincial and territorial counterparts on Friday that were aimed at drafting the next policy framework for the sector.

MacAulay says he expected meetings in St. John’s, N.L., would focus on a review of business risk management programs and AgriStability, which provides support for farmers experiencing crop failures or large losses.

He says he’s heard from farm operators across the country that they want assurances there won’t be a lapse in the program, adding he’s confident that won’t take place.

Related: Federal government invests more than $700,000 in online risk tool for farmers

But the minister says participation in the program has dropped sharply, which needs to be addressed.

He says he expected to discuss NAFTA with his colleagues, as trade talks on everything from wheat to dairy are set to begin next month with the United States.

MacAulay says he’s confident Canadian negotiators will convince their U.S. counterparts that open trade is vital to both countries, adding that the trade pact quadrupled agricultural trade in North America.

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