Forward thinking
The Hon. Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food announces $50.3-million investment in the new Canadian Agricultural Strategic Priorities Program (CASPP) at Canada’s Agriculture Day celebration in Ottawa. Whalen photoT

OTTAWA – The Hon. Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food chose Canada’s Agriculture Day celebrations in Ottawa on Feb. 12 to announce the new Canadian Agricultural Strategic Priorities Program (CASPP) with an investment of $50.3-million over five years.

The CASPP focuses on four priorities: adoption of new technology; environmental sustainability; strategic development and capacity building; and, emerging issues.

The program, which replaces the former Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program, is meant to support the sector’s ability to address domestic and globally emerging issues and capitalize on opportunities. Potential projects could include development of artificial intelligence technology, tools to assess labour and skills needs, bio crops, environmental sustainability and developing strategies to adapt to changing consumer preferences.

“Our farmers know that to stay competitive and on the cutting edge we need to continue to adapt and develop new and innovative approaches to agriculture,” said MacAulay. “The Government of Canada is committed to supporting the sector to find new ways to respond to new and emerging issues and seize new market opportunities.”

CASPP builds on previously announced federal programs including the $3-billion, five-year Canadian Agricultural Partnership, $70-million announced in Budget 2018 to support agricultural discoveries in science and innovation to address climate change and soil and water conservation, the $25-million Agricultural Clean Technologies Program, and the Strategic Innovation Fund.

The minister highlighted the importance of agriculture to the economy noting it contributes over $114-billion to Canada’s gross domestic product and accounts for one in eight jobs. In 2018 Agriculture generated $64-billion in sales and the sector is aiming for $75-billion by 2025.