P.E.I. names ag commission members

Prince Edward Island’s commission on the future of agriculture now has a full slate of commissioners.

Agriculture Minister Neil LeClair on Thursday named the members of the commission, who he said are widely representative of the industry and all areas of the province. They include:

  • Darcy Rennie of Alberton, a dairy and potato producer;
  • Randall Affleck of Lower Bedeque, a dairy producer;
  • Wilfred Lacey of Blooming Point, a beef producer;
  • Eddy Dykerman of Brookfield, a vegetable producer;
  • Ray Keenan of Souris, a potato producer;
  • Paul Larsen of Mt. Buchanan, a pork producer;
  • Cynthia Frizzell of Glen Valley, a dairy producer;
  • Alan Ling of Wheatley River, a grains and oilseeds producer;
  • Raymond Loo of Springfield, an organic producer;
  • Steve Howatt of New Glasgow, representing agri-business;
  • Bryan Inglis of Co-op Atlantic in Moncton, representing the retail sector; and
  • Norma MacNeil of Fortune Cove, a community representative.

The commission will be co-chaired by former provincial deputy ag minister Rory Francis and by ag economist Ed Tyrchniewicz, associate dean of the University of Manitoba’s Asper School of Business. Both chairs were named to the commission on May 1.

A background paper is now being drawn up as a starting point for discussions by the commission, LeClair said in a release. A draft report and implementation strategy is expected from the commission by October.

“Since becoming minister, it has become very clear to me that the present commodity model is not working for all sectors and producers in this province,” LeClair said. “We need significant new directions if the industry is to become more stable and profitable.”

“To borrow a quote, it’s time to stop cursing the darkness and light a candle,” said co-chair Francis. “I’m optimistic that the commission can and will provide a direction for the future of this most important industry.”

The commission, which is then expected to produce a final report by Dec. 5, was launched in the wake of the final report of a similar commission in Quebec in February.

That commission recommended a number of both sweeping and minor changes meant to encourage young people to enter the industry, spur diversification and development, and revamp provincial ag income supports.

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