2010-2011 Annual Report - Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development

 
 
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 Preface | Minister’s Accountability Statement | Message from the Minister | Management’s Responsibility for Reporting | Ministry Overview | Results Analysis | Financial Information

Preface

The Public Accounts of Alberta are prepared in accordance with the Financial Administration Act and the Government Accountability Act. The Public Accounts consist of the annual report of the Government of Alberta and the annual reports of each of the 24 Ministries.

The annual report of the Government of Alberta contains Ministers’ accountability statements, the consolidated financial statements of the Province and the Measuring Up report, which compares actual performance results to desired results set out in the government’s strategic plan.

This annual report of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development contains the Minister’s accountability statement, the audited consolidated financial statements of the Ministry and a comparison of actual performance results to desired results set out in the Ministry business plan. This Ministry annual report also includes:

  • the financial statements of entities making up the Ministry including the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, regulated funds, and provincial agencies for which the Minister is responsible,
  • other financial information as required by the Financial Administration Act and Government Accountability Act, either as separate reports or as a part of the financial statements, to the extent that the Ministry has anything to report, and
  • financial information relating to trust funds.
Minister’s Accountability Statement

The Ministry’s annual report for the year ended March 31, 2011, was prepared under my direction in accordance with the Government Accountability Act and the government’s accounting policies. All of the government’s policy decisions as at June 10, 2011 with material economic or fiscal implications of which I am aware have been considered in the preparation of this report.

[original signed by]

Jack Hayden
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development

Message from the Minister

It has been another year full of both challenges and opportunities for the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and we have much to be proud of in terms of our accomplishments.

Enhancing competitiveness and gaining market access continue to be top priorities. Working with our federal counterparts, we finalized the full suite of Growing Forward programs aimed at assisting the industry in becoming more profitable and competitive, retaining or capturing domestic and international market opportunities and being prepared to respond to emergencies and manage risk effectively.

The three-year Age-Verification Incentive Program was introduced in 2010 – 2011 recognizing that a critical mass of age-verified cattle is needed to meet foreign market import requirements and a growing domestic consumer and industry expectation. The program is a further investment in our age-verification efforts and in industry’s long-term success.

We also continued to improve Alberta’s traceability systems introducing two new programs to include the province’s sheep and cervid industries.

We announced the creation of a 15-member Farm Safety Advisory Council, bringing government and industry together to work towards the shared goal of improved farm safety. Co-chaired by government and industry, the council will work on ways to reduce injuries on farms and ranches, advise the government on
how to enhance farm safety education and training and develop an action plan on farm safety, addressing the needs identified by industry.

Agriculture Financial Services Corporation helped Alberta’s beef producers manage price risk and uncertainty on cattle with the expansion of the Cattle Price Insurance Program (CPIP). CPIP-Calf was the third insurance program introduced within the suite of programs that includes fed and feeder cattle.

Alberta experienced more challenges again this year with extreme weather conditions. Along with our federal counterparts, we announced three AgriRecovery programs to provide assistance for producers. The first program, the Canada-Alberta Pasture Recovery Initiative, provided support to producers in central and northern Alberta who were impacted by dry conditions. Producers in southern Alberta impacted by excess moisture were provided assistance through the Canada-Alberta Excess Moisture Initiative.

The final program announced was the Canada-Alberta Feed Transportation Assistance Initiative, a feed and forage program to support livestock and forage producers with transportation costs to access feed for their breeding herds. Alberta’s agriculture and food sector is an important cornerstone of life in our province and our rural landscape plays a significant role in defining a province that is rooted in a long-standing, proud heritage of farming and ranching.

Our relationship with Alberta’s rural communities is important to us and we continue to improve and build partnerships. We continued our commitment to being a supportive presence in rural communities through the Rural Connections: Community Broadband Infrastructure Pilot Program and the Rural Community Adaptation Grant Program. The $24 million in funding for both programs for the last three years was made available through the National Community Development Trust. Our focus on protecting the environment was also a priority. We announced the Emerging Environmental Market Opportunities initiative to help develop agriculture greenhouse gas offset protocols and enhance existing ones. This will allow producers to generate farm revenue while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and their environmental footprint. With this shared federal-provincial investment of $5.8 million, this initiative will promote awareness and sustainability in Alberta’s agriculture industry.

A successful future for our agriculture industry and rural Alberta is defined by a commitment that strives for prosperity and economic success, while balancing the need to protect our environment, inspire public confidence and use resources in a responsible and accountable fashion. It is this commitment that frames our priorities as we work toward an industry that is competitive and sustainable and rural communities that have the capacity to adapt and prosper.

Sincerely,

[original signed by]

Jack Hayden
Minister, Agriculture and Rural Development

Management’s Responsibility for Reporting

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development includes:

  • Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Agriculture Financial Services Corporation
  • Alberta Grains Council
  • Office of the Farmers’ Advocate of Alberta
  • Irrigation Council
  • Agricultural Products Marketing Council
  • Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency Ltd.
The executives of the individual entities within the Ministry have the primary responsibility and accountability for the respective entities. Collectively, the executives ensure the Ministry complies with all relevant legislation, regulations and policies.

Ministry business plans, annual reports, performance results and the supporting management information are integral to the government’s fiscal and strategic plan, annual report, quarterly reports and other financial and performance reporting.

Responsibility for the integrity and objectivity of the consolidated financial statements and performance results for the Ministry rests with the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. Under the direction of the Minister, I oversee the preparation of the Ministry’s annual report, including consolidated financial statements and performance results. The consolidated financial statements and the performance results, of necessity, include amounts that are based on estimates and judgments. The consolidated financial statements are prepared in accordance with Canadian public sector accounting standards. The performance measures are prepared in accordance with the following criteria:
  • Reliability – Information agrees with the underlying data and the sources used to prepare it.
  • Understandability and Comparability – Current results are presented clearly in accordance with the stated methodology and are comparable with previous results.
  • Completeness – Performance measures and targets match those included in Budget 2010.
As Deputy Minister, in addition to program responsibilities, I am responsible for the Ministry’s financial administration and reporting functions. The Ministry maintains systems of financial management and internal control which give consideration to costs, benefits and risks that are designed to:
  • provide reasonable assurance that transactions are properly authorized, executed in accordance with prescribed legislation and regulations, and properly recorded so as to maintain accountability of public money;
  • provide information to manage and report on performance;
  • safeguard the assets and properties of the Province under Ministry administration;
  • provide Executive Council, the President of Treasury Board, the Minister of Finance and Enterprise and the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development information needed to fulfill their responsibilities; and
  • facilitate preparation of Ministry business plans and annual reports required under the Government Accountability Act.
In fulfilling my responsibilities for the Ministry, I have relied, as necessary, on the executives of the individual entities within the Ministry.

[original signed by]

John Knapp
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development
June 10, 2011

Results Analysis — Ministry Overview

The Ministry

The Ministry works with industry and stakeholders to facilitate growth, build a stronger Alberta and improve Albertans’ quality of life. The primary focus of Agriculture and Rural Development is on Government of Alberta goal 1: Alberta will have a prosperous economy. The Ministry achieves this by working with others to promote prosperity for Alberta through a strong, competitive, sustainable agriculture and food industry and vibrant rural communities.

Ministry Core Businesses
  • Facilitate a market-driven, environmentally responsible industry
  • Food safety, plant health and animal health and welfare
  • Rural development
Agencies, Boards & Commissions
  • Agricultural Products Marketing Council
  • Alberta Grains Council
  • Agriculture Financial Services Corporation
  • Office of the Farmers’ Advocate of Alberta
  • Irrigation Council
  • Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency Ltd.
The Department

The Department, comprised of three sectors, is responsible for creating the policy and legislative environment and delivering programs that support a competitive and market-driven agriculture industry, safe and secure food products and production practices, environmental stewardship and vibrant rural communities. In addition to the three sectors the following three divisions support the Ministry’s mandate:
  • Human Resource and Facilities Management Services
  • Financial and Business Planning Services
  • Communications
Industry Development and Food Safety Sector
  • Traceability
  • Food Safety and Animal Health
  • Research and Innovation
  • Food Processing
  • Rural Extension and Industry Development
Policy and Environment Sector
  • Policy, Strategy and Intergovernmental Affairs
  • Irrigation and Farm Water
  • Economics and Competitiveness
  • Environmental Stewardship
Rural, Regulatory, Information and Technology Sector
  • Rural Development
  • Rural Utilities
  • Regulatory Services
  • Information Management
  • Information Technology Services
Industry Development and Food Safety Sector

The Industry Development and Food Safety Sector focuses on the development and growth of agriculture and food businesses in Alberta through value-added processing development, business development, applied research and technology transfer. The sector supports businesses by identifying new opportunities; supporting innovation; focusing on growth and diversification of Alberta’s agri-processing industry; and developing market opportunities and solutions industry needs to succeed. Business development services also include agriculture educational training, leadership, food processing development, and grant programs, as well as front-line client contact services for industry clients through the Ag-Info Centre and field offices. The sector also manages the 4-H, Farm Safety, Green Certificate, Farmers’ Market and Agricultural Service Board programs.

The sector also assists industry to enhance sustainability through the production of safe food and increased public confidence in the safety of food products. This involves working towards implementing a traceability system that promotes both food safety assurance and animal health status and working with industry and other levels of government to encourage the adoption of food safety practices.

Policy and Environment Sector

The Policy and Environment Sector continues the liberalization of agricultural trade through policy direction and multilateral, regional and bilateral agreements, ensuring that legislative frameworks enable innovation and growth. This involves focusing on industry, social and economic trend analysis; strategic planning; policy development; market and competitive intelligence; and international relations.

Additionally, public awareness and pressure for the effective management of air, land and water resources are increasing. The sector continues to work with partners within industry and across government to address these pressures and explore environmentally responsive solutions that create a competitive advantage through the development and implementation of agricultural practices and systems that manage environmental risks, improve efficiencies and meet consumer and public expectations. This also involves ensuring that good quality surface and ground water supplies meet current and future agriculture needs, management practices meet acceptable water quality guidelines and management systems assist livestock and crop producers to deal with excess rainfall and drought conditions.

Rural, Regulatory, Information and Technology Sector

The Rural, Regulatory, Information and Technology Sector continues to work with other ministries and partners to ensure that rural policy reflects the importance of self determination as rural Albertans shape their futures, recognizing that rural communities must build their capacity to act and advance their projects and initiatives to be sustainable. The sector administers legislation that provides the framework for the establishment and management of business affairs for rural gas, electric and water associations in the province; and, that governs the establishment of franchise areas and standards setting relating to the design, construction, operation, maintenance, quality assurance and plant record-keeping for rural gas utilities.

The sector is also responsible for validating the safe production of meat and meat products through provincially-licensed meat facilities, as well as ensuring compliance with assigned legislation and ensuring consistency and co-ordination through investigation and enforcement activities as required. Additionally, the sector works with industry on prevention, preparedness, response and recovery to emergencies and other challenges related to plant and animal disease.

Agencies, Boards & Commissions

The Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) provides a wide variety of risk management products and financial services to fit the business needs of farmers, the agriculture industry and small businesses in Alberta.

The Corporation provides insurance products to mitigate risks related to crop production, including hay and pasture, and offers waterfowl and wildlife damage compensation to help Alberta farmers protect against production losses on their farms. AFSC delivers the Federal/Provincial AgriStability Program, a whole-farm program that provides compensation for decline in farm margin relative to historical margin for eligible producers regardless of the commodities they produce. The Corporation offers agriculture financial services such as farm loans and guarantees for new and expanding farm businesses and financing for those facing disastrous reductions in farm production or income; and, provides and facilitates sourcing of financing for companies in the agri-food and value-added industry, as well as the small business sector, with an emphasis on rural Alberta.

The Agricultural Products Marketing Council advises the Minister on matters related to the establishment, operation and management of the boards and commissions established under the Marketing of Agricultural Products Act.

The Alberta Grains Council advises the Minister on issues and trends in the grain industry, conducts on-going examination of all facets of the industry and provides an information service.

The Irrigation Council makes recommendations to the Minister on any matter under the Irrigation Districts Act, particularly on issues related to maintaining a strong, efficient and sustainable irrigation industry.

The Office of the Farmers’ Advocate of Alberta provides the Minister with information on issues concerning rural Albertans and works closely with agricultural interest groups.

The Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency Ltd. acts as a catalyst to help transition Alberta’s livestock and meat industry into competitiveness and sustainability and ensures effective implementation of programs, policies and initiatives directed at Alberta’s livestock and meat industry.

The following website contains further information about Ministry programs and services: www.agriculture.alberta.ca. The Ag-Info Centre is also available for further information by calling toll-free in Alberta 310-FARM (3276).

Results Analysis Financial Information For additional information on the content of this document, contact Tanya Bowerman.
 
 
 
 
For more information about the content of this document, contact Duke.
This information published to the web on June 16, 2011.
Last Reviewed/Revised on June 29, 2011.