Last Thursday the Government of Alberta released the 2019-2020 provincial budget.
Although surprising to see such a significant cut to Agriculture and Forestry, UFA understands the need for spending restraints and supports the provincial government‘s direction for responsible fiscal management.
UFA is confident that agriculture services will not be impacted due to proper streamlining and resource maximization.
- Agriculture and Forestry over all Budget - Reduce expenses by 9 .1 per cent in 2019-20, or $88 million compared to 2018-19. Operating expenses are accounted for at $879 million.
- Primary Agriculture - $7 million reduction in 2019-20, 34.1 million over the next four years.
- Staffing cuts, non filling of current vacant department positions.
- Transitioning the government of Alberta’s agricultural research capacity to a producer and industry-led research model. UFA believes that this new research model will be beneficial to producers as it will produce a more targeted approach to research initiatives (by farmers for farmers).
- Streaming research funding grants process.
- Consultation with Alberta agricultural producers and industry members will begin over the next several months to determine research priorities and build programs to support them.
- UFA looks forward to the up and coming discussion in order to ensure the needs of our membership are being met.
- Processing, Trade and Intergovernmental Relations – $30 million reduction in 2019-20, $37 million over the next four years.
- Vast majority of reduction comes from the elimination of the Alberta Small Brewers Development program and the Liquor Manufacturers’ Program
- AFSC & Insurance – Reduce service and operational expenses by $5.3 million by 2020-21 and reduce administration cost by $1.6 million by 2020-21.
- Implementation of crop insurance coverage will not change and premiums will not be increased. Although the insurance line item reads an estimated reduction of $29 million this simply means that there was a lower estimate of insurance payouts.
- Climate Change Initiatives – $33 million reduction in 2019-20, $36 million reduction over the next four years.
- All climate change initiatives funded by the Alberta Carbon Tax will be dissolved due to the repeal of the provincial carbon tax under Bill 1.