The provincial agriculture minister is looking back on his first year at the post.
Ron Kostyshyn was named Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives on January 13th, 2012.
"The first year has been a great year," he says. "I've been blessed with some great staff and there definitely has been a learning curve, but it's been a great educational experience and I look forward to being the ag minister for years."
He says the signing of the Growing Forward 2 five-year ag policy framework was one of the highlights of his first year.
"When you sit around with other ag ministers and have an open dialogue, part of my duties is to bring ideas forward to improve the economy of Manitoba through agriculture," says Kostyshyn.
Kostyshyn acknowledges 2012 will be remembered for the end of the Canadian Wheat Board's marketing monopoly. He believes the province played a role in supporting producers through the transition.
"I'm very proud to say that our GO offices have been there to support producers as there has been a major change as far as selling of grain. MAFRI staff has been available to help," he says. "We're stilling fighting to keep high-skill agriculture jobs in Manitoba, and the Port of Churchill remains important for the province."
The financial crisis in the hog sector was one of the major challenges facing Kostyshyn in his first year.
"It's definitely been front and centre, and we've been in consultations with the Manitoba Pork Council and the federal government, and we continue to work toward developing some mechanism for supporting the industry," he says. "When we talk about global warming, nobody anticipated that there was going to be a shortage of feed."
The weather and crop specialist with CWB says this year's disappointing winter wheat crop has impacted planting intentions for next year.
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