To commemorate the important milestone, the government has declared March 22 as Farmers’ Advocate Day.
The first farmers’ advocate, Helmut Entrup, was appointed by former minister of Agriculture Hugh Horner on Jan. 1, 1973. Over 50 years, the Farmers’ Advocate Office has fielded more than 150,000 inquiries from rural Albertans and provided a voice for them at all levels of government.
“Alberta's Farmers' Advocate Office has been a pivotal resource for our farming community, providing invaluable support and guidance to ensure that our agricultural industry remains strong and sustainable. The office has always advocated for the needs of farmers and ranchers, ensuring that they have access to the information and services they need to succeed, and we remain committed to supporting this important institution and working together to build a brighter future for Alberta's agriculture sector for generations to come."
The original mandate of the office was to protect farmer and rancher land ownership rights
After five decades and 10 different premiers, the Farmers' Advocate Office continues to have an integral role in Alberta’s agriculture industry.
Today, the office has expanded its services to meet the changing needs of Alberta’s producers, providing support and guidance on a wide range of issues, including land use, environmental regulations, dispute resolution and administrative justice through fair process.
“Over the past 50 years, the Farmers’ Advocate Office has been an integral voice of the industry, helping shape the direction of agriculture policy in our province and ensuring the needs of farmers have always been front and centre. I’m honoured to celebrate this important milestone and recognize the contributions the office has made to the success and prosperity of farmers and ranchers in our province.”
As part of government’s red tape reduction initiative, the office also helps producers navigate government processes and works with various departments, boards and agencies to find efficiencies and reduce regulatory burdens that affect the agriculture industry.
“The Farmers’ Advocate Office has always put the needs of Alberta’s farmers and ranchers first. As we celebrate our 50th anniversary, we are more committed than ever to providing the resources and support producers need to overcome any challenges they face now and in the future.”
Noteworthy accomplishments of the Farmers’ Advocate Office, 1973-2023:
- The first farmers’ advocate was instrumental in securing the cooperation of the Department of Utilities and Telephones to help rural Albertans access natural gas.
- In 1976, the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties formally endorsed the services of the Farmers’ Advocate Office for the resolution of disputes between rural ratepayers and between municipalities and ratepayers.
- In 1978, the Farmers’ Advocate Office became a founding member of the Rural Crime Watch Program. Today, the office still maintains a position as an honorary member in the Alberta Provincial Rural Crime Watch Association.
- In 2003, the government made significant amendments to the Farm Implement Act.
- In 2006, the Farmers’ Advocate Office partnered with the Canadian Society for Unconventional Gas to develop an informational course, Understanding Agriculture 101, to help the oil and gas industry work more effectively with agricultural producers and communities.
- In 2008, the Farmers’ Advocate Office partnered with the Alberta Arbitration and Mediation Society to establish the Farmers’ Advocate Office umpire network, which provided rural Albertans with enhanced mediation and arbitration services.
- In 2015, the Farmers’ Advocate Office conducted a full review of legislation and regulations and advised on the new Farm Implement and Dealership Act, which protects the investments agricultural producers make in farm equipment.