From the Minister

September 23, 2021 | Agriculture

Alberta is well-positioned to feed the growing global demand for safe, sustainable food.

September 19, 2021 | Agriculture

National Forest Week 2021 shines a light on the many benefits our forests provide.

August 09, 2021 | Agriculture

Alberta Local Food Week runs August 8 to 15 this year, culminating in Open Farm Days on August 14 and 15.

July 12, 2021 | Agriculture

New supports for finding tables across the world for Alberta’s high-quality, safe food.

Accomplishments

Log stacks in the forest

An increased annual allowable cut and new options for wood fibre access will provide security for forest companies, attract investment and create jobs for Albertans.

Minister Dreeshen walking in a field

After engaging with Albertans about the future of agriculture research, Minister Dreeshen announced Results Driven Agriculture Research (RDAR), a non-profit arm’s-length ag research organization.

Announced a $27.8 million investment in June for an agri-food hub at Exhibition Park in Lethbridge to create jobs and spur investment in the agriculture and agri-food industry.

Announced the deferral of timber dues for six months to help forest companies continue operating and retain staff during the pandemic.

Launched the Agriculture Job Connector, an online resource to strengthen the food supply chain and fill agriculture and agri-food jobs during the pandemic.

Repealed Bill 6 and passed the Farm Freedom and Safety Act, which changed farm workplace legislation to work better for farm and ranch businesses.

Fought for farmers and their property by amending legislation to punish illegal protesters who invade farms, and to discourage such dangerous activity.

Awarded Kee Tas Kee Now Sawmill, a First Nations business, additional timber to create jobs, including professionals, heavy equipment operators, log truck drivers and labourers.

Key information

  • Deregulation of Fusarium Graminearum
    • On June 3, 2020, Minister Dreeshen announced fusarium would be removed from the Pest and Nuisance Control Regulation to help farmers and bring Alberta in line with best practices from other provinces.
    • This change means seed growers in Alberta will soon have access to more seed varieties and cereal research.
    • Removing the disease from the regulation will allow Alberta to modernize to managing the disease, rather than having zero tolerance for it.
  • Amendments to the Meat Inspection Regulation
    • On July 29, 2020, Minister Dreeshen announced amendments to the Meat Inspection Regulation which will cut red tape and provide Albertans with greater access to locally produced meat while maintaining food safety.
    • These changes are giving operators more flexibility to meet legislated requirements and increase consumer access to high-quality local products.
  • Championing Alberta’s Agriculture sector
    • In May, in the midst of a global health pandemic, international market and trade challenges, the Alberta government established an industry advisory committee to act as Champions of Agriculture.
    • This group is a key component to Alberta’s strategy to stand up for Alberta’s second largest natural resource sector.
    • This group is meeting regularly and providing Agriculture and Forestry with strategic advice and recommendations on emerging issues and priorities related to consumer confidence, and working to debunk myths in the agriculture industry.
  • Softwood Lumber trade dispute

    Agriculture and Forestry is committed to honouring Alberta's domestic and international trade obligations.

    The Department is actively engaged in ongoing trade related negotiations related to natural resources.

    The U.S. is Alberta's largest market for softwood lumber products; and because of the importance of forestry to Alberta's economy, a stable trading relationship is essential.

In focus

Budget 2021

Alberta’s budget is focused on protecting lives and livelihoods, investing in health care, preparing for recovery and spending responsibly.

The Irrigation Rehabilitation Program is providing $10 million to the province’s irrigation districts for infrastructure improvements.
Introduced several new supports to help farmers and ranchers through AgriRecovery in response to mass disruptions caused by COVID-19.
Hired 200 additional firefighters and increased both fine violations and funding to prepare for the 2020 wildfire season during COVID-19.

Biography

Minister Dreeshen was first elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta in a by-election on July 12, 2018 as the MLA for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake. He was re-elected on April 16, 2019.

Dreeshen is a fifth-generation local farm owner and Albertan. Farming near Pine Lake, he has a long record of community service. He is a former director of the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association, a former board member on the Crossroads Agricultural Society, and a volunteer at the Pine Lake Country Fair.

Devin Dreeshen was appointed as Alberta’s Minister of Agriculture and Forestry on April 30, 2019. He has a wealth of previous experience working on this file during his time in Ottawa where he was a policy advisor to Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz from 2008 to 2015, advocating for Canadian agriculture trade, improved rural infrastructure support, and leading the effort to end the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly. Dreeshen will apply this experience, as well has his own farming history to serve Alberta’s agricultural community and ensure that Alberta’s farmers continue to make a significant contribution to the provincial economy.

As Minister, Dreeshen hopes to continue this work, seeking to restore and improve market access for our forestry and agriculture products, and to attract investment in order to bring jobs back to Alberta.