Canadians are used to an abundance of food supplies in grocery stores, and if we are searching for learnings from COVID-19, one of them must surely be a reminder of where our food comes from. For over a century, Alberta farmers have produced many of the high quality foods, from protein to produce, that stock local grocery stores and fill pantry shelves. The difference COVID-19 has thrust upon us is a growing awareness and a greater appreciation of the essential service that local farmers provide.

A second takeaway from our current situation is the realization that farmers are themselves dependent upon an array of essential services. The world of agriculture is very interconnected and farmers rely on suppliers for seed, fertilizers, fuel, and other necessities, on processors to prepare products for sale and truckers to make deliveries. Each link in the supply chain is vital to food production and to the Alberta public.

As our government starts to discuss the possibilities of reopening businesses slowly while keeping social distancing procedures in place, Canadian agriculture will be a crucial part of the rebuilding process. “I think it’s a real chance for Alberta and the Canadian agricultural system to show the world that we are a high-quality reliable supplier of food to the world.” said Rob Roach, Director of Research for Economics at ATB Financial. “Alberta has been helping to feed the world for decades and decades, so this is a real opportunity for us to build on that post-pandemic. I think there’s a really bright future ahead.”

Albertans will continue to rely on Alberta farmers throughout this pandemic and beyond, and we will weather the COVID-19 storm together.

Both the federal and provincial governments are offering supports in the form of loans and deferrals. For more information on the Federal and Provincial government plans for aiding the agriculture sector, visit: https://pm.gc.ca/en/news/news-releases/2020/03/23/prime-minister-announces-support-farmers-and-agri-food-businesses

Please visit Canadian Federation of Agriculture’s (CFA’s) COVID-19 Resource Page which is continually updated with information relevant to farmers. https://www.cfa-fca.ca/resources/resources-on-covid-19/