Drought in western Canada was one of the big agriculture stories in 2021.
"I was able to travel, to witness and meet with farmers," said Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canada's minister for Agriculture and Agri-Food. "But I'm very proud of what we've been doing in partnership with the provinces, being able to roll out AgriRecovery really fast and in a very nimble manner so that producers got help faster than I think they would have seen in the past."
Bibeau noted, "Climate change is definitely a reality, and farmers are the first ones to be hurt and to face the situation. We have to work even harder to be resilient, adapt and fight against it."
Meantime on the West Coast, Bibeau said recent devastating floods were another catastrophe farmers had to contend with in 2021. The Minister recently travelled to B.C. to get a first hand look at the situation, and see how the federal government can help.
"Obviously my colleagues with the Canadian Armed Forces, and (Department of) Transportation as well, to look after direct support to the farmers in terms of more boots on the ground to support them, but also to strengthen our food supply chain which, once again, demonstrated to be resilient, but we will then have to go through the recovery phase. There is a lot of work to be done."
This past year also saw Bibeau return to the agriculture portfolio following the spring federal election. She said it is a privilege to be back in the role.
"I love the agricultural sector, representing our rural and agricultural regions," she noted. "I've been able to build relations with representatives of the different agricultural sectors across the country, with my counterparts in the provinces as well and actually, we have started the discussion around the next partnership agreement for 2023 to 2028. I'm very very glad to be back."
Additional files on Bibeau's desk for 2022 include a hope to further government's Agri-Environmental program, and address labour shortages across the sector.