Yukon party leadership campaign
MLA for Lake Laberge
Yukon Party Leadership Candidate
March 26, 2020
Yukon Grown and Yukon Made: Increasing Local Agricultural and Food Production
LAKE LABERGE – Brad Cathers, MLA for Lake Laberge, announced that if he is elected as Premier, the Yukon Government will make increasing local agricultural and food production a top priority.
“My vision for the Yukon includes increasing our ability to be self-sufficient by working with the private sector to develop the Yukon Grown and Yukon Made sector of our economy,” said Cathers. “The Yukon’s agriculture sector has grown in recent years, and we have the opportunity to continue to increase production of local food and food products.”
“Like many Yukoners, I believe we have the ability to be more self-sufficient, reducing our dependence on federal transfer payments and transportation of goods from the south,” added Cathers. “We have the potential to grow more of our own food, and increase our ability to meet our own needs right here in the Yukon.”
Recent events related to the coronavirus pandemic are another reminder that ‘just in time delivery’ can be subject to disruption and temporary shortages. Increasing our ability to meet our own needs will strengthen our economy by keeping more money here in the Yukon, and reducing our dependence on long supply chains.
As part of supporting development of the Yukon Grown and Yukon Made sector of the economy, he is committed to taking actions including:
• Working with stakeholders including the Yukon Agricultural Association, Growers of Organic Food Yukon, the Fireweed Community Market, Yukon Young Farmers, farmers, market gardeners, processors, retailers, restaurants, tourism operators, and related industry groups like the Tourism Industry Association Yukon and the Yukon Convention Bureau to increase production and use of local food, and promote the ‘Yukon Grown and Yukon Made’ brands.
• Making identifying new agricultural land a high priority in local area planning.
• Ensuring new agricultural land is available through planned developments, spot land applications, subdivision, and directed spot land applications.
• Lowering barriers to construction by implementing a Farming Building Code based on best practices from other jurisdictions.
• Developing and implementing an Agricultural Production Tax Credit to reduce the costs of farming, and encourage farming on unused farmland.
• Updating the Yukon Agriculture Policy and the Local Food Strategy.
• Ensuring fuel used for farming is exempt from territorial taxes.
• Working with the Yukon Agricultural Association to develop their lease on the Mayo Road.
• Supporting the operation of the Fireweed Community Market.
• Continuing to support Growers of Organic Food Yukon’s “Kids on the Farm” initiative.
Brad’s experience in government includes serving as Minister Energy, Mines and Resources twice, and being a champion for Yukon agriculture for over 17 years as the MLA for Lake Laberge. As a Minister and MLA, he was successful in supporting agriculture through actions including:
• Increased funding for Fireweed Community Market & Yukon Agricultural Association
• Changes made to the Agriculture Policy that farmers asked for including ‘one for one’ land pricing (matching cost to value of the land), which reduced the cost by half from the previous pricing regime.
• Negotiated Growing Forward 2 federal funding, with increased flexibility for infrastructure.
• Set up Growing Forward 2 programs – many of which have carried forward under the new CAAP program.
• Local Food Strategy to encourage production and consumption of Yukon-Grown food developed.
• Purchased mobile abattoir, no-till drill & other equipment
• Land set aside for future agriculture infrastructure under a lease with Yukon Agricultural Association.