The General Manager of Manitoba Pork is encouraging governments to shift their perspectives and adopt policies that support and encourage the contributions made by agriculture to the economy.

Cam Dahl, the General Manager of Manitoba Pork notes 22 thousand full time jobs in Manitoba are tied to the hog industry, the sector contributes 2.3 billion dollars a year to the economy and almost 140 million dollars are paid in taxes to the province each year while about 87 million dollars are paid to the municipalities.

I think if you look back historically, agriculture was really viewed as the problem policy child. For example, if you go back to the 1980s and the 1990s, it was a really difficult time in agriculture. We had trade wars between Europe and the United States and international markets were depressed. It was difficult to make a living in agriculture.

So, when policy makers were looking at agriculture they were looking at “how do we find solutions to problems” and that really has changed. Especially the last 20 years, we have seen a real shift and agriculture isn’t the problem child any more.

We’ve negotiated trade agreements, we’ve seen an end to some of those subsidy wars, we’ve seen policy shifts that are really allowing agriculture to be profitable and to be a driver of the economy. From a policy perspective we need to see that same shift in the policy perspective as well, not asking how do I solve the problems of agriculture but looking at agriculture and asking the question, how do we encourage this industry to further develop and drive our growth, our economy, our communities and jobs.

~ Cam Dahl, Manitoba Pork

Dahl suggests it’s important for governments to avoid protectionism and stand up for open borders and to ensure our regulations remain science based.