May 17, 2004

Programs support plans to control pollution from Quebec agri-food operations

A collateral agreement on Environmental Farm Planning, signed May 6 by the Quebec and federal governments, will provide $46.3 million over five years to support agricultural environmental efforts by Quebec farm producers. The collateral accord is a component of the Agricultural Policy Framework (APF), a federal-provincial implementation agreement signed in October 2003. It confirms an agreement between the two levels of government committing Quebec to managing the two Canadian programs in its territory.

The $26-million federal environmental farm planning program will be carried out in Quebec through the Plans d'accompagnement agro-environnemental (PAA), the provincial program that supports the implementation of agricultural environmental support plans. As well, the national farm stewardship program - beneficial management practices, allocated some $17 million over five years, has been harmonized with the Prime-Vert program of Quebec's department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. This will further assist the development and implementation of agricultural environmental initiatives.

An administrative agreement will be drawn up between the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ) and the Quebec agricultural development council (CDAQ, the Conseil de dÈveloppement de l'agriculture du QuÈbec). It will authorize the latter organization to administer the federal funds.

"The Canadian programs are aimed at reducing the environmental risks connected with agricultural activities by supporting enterprises in adoption of good agricultural environmental practices," said Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Bob Speller. "While promoting compliance with the Quebec regulations, these programs will enable the farming enterprises to undertake continuous improvement efforts and go beyond the minimum required under the regulations," he added.

"In addition to providing substantial financial support, this agreement recognizes the foundation of the agricultural environmental approach that Quebec has adopted-namely, intervention based on development of agricultural environmental support plans that reflect the situation of each enterprise and that are carried out on a priority basis by the agricultural environmental advisory clubs," Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Minister FranÁoise Gauthier explained.

"The advisory clubs (clubs-conseils) have made it possible to achieve tangible environmental benefits so far, and their contribution will make it possible to respond appropriately to the needs of all the farm producers in Quebec. We expect that, by the end of the agreement, 12,600 plans will have been carried out and as many enterprises will have endeavoured to implement good agricultural environmental practices," she added.

Gauthier also announced a provincial allocation of $27.5 million for 2004-05 to the Prime-Vert program. These funds will be used mainly for construction of solid and liquid manure storage structures, acquisition of spreading equipment, reduction of non-point source pollution, adoption of plant health practices aimed at pest management, and funding of agricultural environmental advisory services. This is the first part of an investment by the Quebec government to implement its comprehensive agricultural environmental strategy.

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