Agriculture and Forestry Minister Devin Dreeshen met with investors at the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region summit looking to ship Canadian canola oil to U.S. refineries to manufacture diesel oil.
Dreeshen, the Innisfail- Sylvan Lake MLA said the 30th annual summit, held in Montana this year, was an opportunity to discuss cross-border issues, raise political awareness on both sides, build allies and move closer to getting Canadian canola-based diesel exported and sold around the world.
The summit brings together legislative, government and private-sector leaders from Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Washington State, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska to advance policies that promote the region’s economies.
Dreeshen said the group is also about goodwill and he offered Alberta firefighting resources to Montana where over a million acres are expected to burn by the time wildfire season is over.
“We’ve had about 130,000 acres burned here in Alberta, but two years ago we had two million acres that burned and released about 123 megatonnes of CO2. Our fire starts this year are above average, but the damage to our forest is way below average,” Dreeshen said.
He said Montana had a much better agricultural year than Alberta so their feed costs will be a little cheaper to import.
In Alberta where drought and heat made for a bad year on the farm, insurance adjusters focused on the worst-hit farmers who were given the option to right-off their fields and allow cattle to move onto the cropland so it could provide some nutritional value to cows instead of letting it dry out and go to waste.
“Here in Alberta, we’re looking at over a billion dollars in crop insurance payouts to farmers and ranchers through crop, pasture and forage insurance,” he said.
Dreeshen said coincidentally before the drought, crop insurance premiums were cut by 20 per cent for ranchers and farmers in Alberta. As a result, many more took out insurance and others increased their coverage.
“Having insurance provided at a cheaper rate, and more people buying insurance for production loss, is exactly what you needed in this type of situation when you have a bad production year.”
Dreeshen joined Calgary-Fish Creek MLA Richard Gotfried, Livingstone-Macleod MLA Roger Reid and Vermilion-Lloydminster-Wainwright MLA Garth Rowswell at the summit.
The 2022 summit will be held in Calgary next July.