WHEREAS flooding, drought, pests, disease, health concerns and trade restrictions further threaten our already devastated agricultural industry;AND WHEREAS agriculture is vital to the Canadian economy, being the third largest employer in the country and representing 8.5% of our gross domestic product;AND WHEREAS the average Canadian family spends approximately $1,400 per year on imported agricultural products;AND WHEREAS Canadians do support home grown products when they are made aware of the critical importance to consume these products, as is evidenced by the increase in beef consumption by Canadians since they became aware of the BSE crisis on May 20, 2003;AND WHEREAS the survival of the agricultural industry in Canada is contingent first and foremost on the support of Canadians;AND WHEREAS no group is actively identifying, promoting and creating awareness of the overall safety and quality of Canadas agricultural industry as a whole;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties establish a province-wide committee with representation from each zone to coordinate a campaign to identify, promote and create awareness of the safety and quality of Canadian agricultural products, with the goal of increasing consumption and stability of the agricultural industry.
The Canadian agricultural industry is constantly being challenged by such things as drought, flooding, pests, plant diseases, health concerns and trade restrictions. Although facing these perils, the need for this industry to survive is crucial to the Canadian economy. It is the third largest employer in the country and represents approximately 8.5% of our gross domestic product.For our agricultural industry to survive, we will have to have strong support for our products at home so that the industry is sustainable during times when international market demand for our products diminishes for whatever reason. Currently, each Canadian family spends on average $1,400 per year on imported agricultural products. If our producers could recapture a large percentage of this market, it would help create greater stability for them in the long term.One current problem is that Canadians do not know which products on grocery shelves are Canadian products and thus do not have the choice to select a Canadian product over an imported product. Our experience from the BSE crisis shows that Canadian consumers are supportive of Canadian products. Once they became aware of the BSE crisis, beef consumption by Canadians increased. We would like to capitalize on the attention created by the BSE crisis to the benefit of all Canadian agriculture. This can be done by identifying, promoting, and creating awareness of the overall safety and quality of Canadas agricultural products, thereby giving Canadian consumers the option to chose Canadian products.We have contacted AdFarm, a national advertising company specializing in agriculture, to put together a proposal. In summary, the proposal would include a number of grocery stores throughout a city and the nation hosting a weekend blitz. Ten or so well-dressed, articulate ranchers/farmers would be assigned to each store as Eat Canadian food guides with local celebrities also invited to participate. This would be accompanied by a major, coordinated media relations campaign. AdFarm has estimated that such a campaign would cost between $1 million and $1.5 million. With support from municipalities and sponsors, this amount of funding is achievable.The County of Newell realizes that this is a huge undertaking and will require the support of municipalities province-wide. The County of Newell and its Eat Canadian Campaign Committee always intended this to be driven provincially and encompass the entire country. Because of this, the County puts forth this resolution for a province-wide committee to coordinate this campaign. As our commitment, we are prepared to contribute up to $20,000 of County of Newell funds for a pilot project to test the effectiveness of the campaign prior to launching a nation wide campaign. In addition, we also propose to use the $9192 surplus funds from the Border Beef Rally for the pilot project. An effective pilot project could cost between $50,000 and $112,500 depending on the involvement of AdFarm. It is important that we test the campaign provincially to ensure desired results are achieved and our dollars are well spent.We thank you for considering this resolution and request your support.
The AAMDC has no resolutions currently in effect with respect to this issue.On August 11, 2003 the provincial government launched an “Eat Alberta beef” campaign to market Alberta beef to countries that reopen their borders to Canadian beef. The campaign was intended to rally media attention, host beef barbecues and distribute information on Alberta beef, with a maximum cost of $5 million.