The Gleaner
Agriculture

Local UPA syndicate holds informative fall consultation

The annual fall consultation hosted by the Syndicat de l’Union des Producteurs Agricoles du Haut-Saint-Laurent took place on September 13 in hybrid mode, where members took part in person or by videoconference.

The event opened with a discussion on agricultural issues in the context of the federal and municipal elections, including hot topics such as the recognition of the agricultural and forestry sectors as tools for economic growth, the adoption of a new national strategy for urban and land use planning, the differentiated agricultural tax rate, the promotion of fair-trade relations, and the simplification of the hiring process and mobility of temporary foreign workers.

The president of the Fédération de l’UPA de la Montérégie, Jérémie Letellier, then addressed several issues of interest to farmers, including property taxation, insurance, the Harmonious Cohabitation campaign, and the Eat Local More Than Ever campaign, while highlighting initiatives in the Montérégie such as the Agri-Environmental Web Congress and the Route des Sols en Santé project.

Letellier then introduced a new financing model for the UPA aimed at developing an equitable financing strategy for all agricultural producers. Letellier emphasized that the model responds to demands expressed in recent years for more equitable financing, through an additional contribution mechanism for producers who are not members of a federation and do not have a joint plan. The model also reduces the amount paid by smaller or start-up farms, as the annual fee can be quite high relative to income earned. According to Catherine Turgeon, the union advisor for the Haut-Saint-Laurent syndicate, the members in attendance felt the proposed funding model met with their expectations.

The meeting also included a presentation on the Pesticide Management Code relating specifically to apple producers and the requirements for separation distance from non-agricultural homes and properties. Three representatives from the Ministry of Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change (MELCC) were present to answer questions related to this issue.

Josiane Carrière, the vice-president of the local syndicate, highlighted news about various actions taken by municipalities to promote the significance of agriculture and the importance of buying local as being particularly pertinent for local farmers. She notes that several local municipalities have published material based on the Harmonious Cohabitation campaign, while others have worked to promote agri-food businesses in the MRC.

Carrière explains that meetings with local producers help to establish the different actions taken by the union. “The discussions guide us on the issues to be prioritized and allow us to learn about concerns and observations on the part of agricultural producers. In return, producers are able to learn about hot topics, new regulations, and trends,” she says.

“Such exchanges are vital to keeping the local union active.”

(Sarah Rennie, in collaboration with in collaboration with Catherine Turgeon, union advisor to the Syndicat de l’UPA du Haut-Saint-Laurent)

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