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Yukon names new minister for farms

Yukon Premier Dennis Fentie’s cabinet shuffle Thursday puts a new minister in charge of the territory government’s ag file.

Lake Laberge MLA Brad Cathers, who until now has been Fentie’s minister for health and social services, takes over from Archie Lang as minister for energy, mines and resources, a portfolio that includes responsibility for agriculture.

Cathers, an MLA since 2002, was part owner of a wilderness tour company, Cathers Wilderness Adventures, up until early last year. He had been active behind the scenes in both territorial and federal politics in the Yukon since 1998, with the Yukon Party at both the local and executive level, and with the Reform Party/Canadian Alliance as its Yukon constituency president.

The Yukon has about 33,000 acres of land devoted to agriculture, about 40 per cent of which is in crops and another 20 per cent under development for “future agricultural use,” the government said on its web site.

About 70 per cent of the Yukon’s farms are located within 100 km of Whitehorse, the government said, mostly in the Takhini Valley area west of Whitehorse, with “significant” ag area also found near Dawson City, Watson Lake and Mayo.

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