First ADM Town Hall with ASB Chairs a Success

ASB Chairs participated in the first biannual ADM Town Hall on June 15

Assistant Deputy Minister John Conrad hosted the first ADM town hall, Chaired by Agriculture Service Board Provincial Committee Vice Chair Marc Jubinville on June 15. The event is expected to be a biannual online engagement with the ADM to improve communication around issues and challenges facing ASBs. There were just over 90 participants in this first Town Hall. The next town hall is expected sometime in the fall, presumably after the elections.

ADM Conrad mentioned that there was a press release regarding the CAP redesign on June 11, and that they are just waiting for the final approvals to open the programs. The CAP programs have been closed for several months to make changes that are expected to simplify the application process, and focus investment on agriculture and food processing innovations and technological advancement.

The Regional Liaison Program was also discussed at length. This program will replace some of the functions and address some of the challenges of the former Key Contact Program. Marcia Hewitt-Fisher, Director of the Plant and Bee Health Policy Section provided details on who the liaisons are and which region they will cover.

Regional Liaison Program Assignments

RegionLiaison Assigned Office Location
South Alan Efetha, Provincial ASB Specialist
assisted by Joe Harrington, Agricultural Water Specialist
Lethbridge
Central Kellie Jackson, Strategic Evaluation SpecialistAirdrie
North EastKrista deMilliano, Crop Assurance Specialist Edmonton
North WestTanya Warren, Crop Assurance SpecialistEdmonton
PeaceGayah Sieusahai, Pest Regulatory Officer
assisted by Dan Benson, Agricultural Water Specialist
Edmonton
Peace River

The Liaisons will be reaching out virtually to the ASBs in their region (through the AAAF members) on a monthly basis and will be available to attend the Regional Conferences in person. In addition Caitlynn Reesor, former Call of the Land radio host, and now Agri-News editor will be developing a newsletter specifically for ASBs.

The ADM then went on to talk about work being done to define the department’s role in climate change and environmental stewardship. The Executive team (ADMs and Executive Directors) have catalogued the current activities and resources in the department and are preparing to make a presentation to the minister for his direction. They are looking to define the departments climate approach going forward.

John spoke specifically to two resolutions; 1-21 Weed Issues on Oil and Gas Sites in Rural Alberta, and 2-21 Pesticide Container Collection Program. Both resolutions were brought to his attention and discussed in detail at the last ASBPC meeting with the ADM. Since then the ADM has been making calls on behalf of the ASBs to push these resolutions to a conclusion. John reiterated the commitment of Deputy Minister Shannon Marchand, to advance resolutions passed by the ASBs.

The Ministry continues to look for ways to improve communication with the ASBs. Currently the department engages regularly with the Agricultural Fieldmen and with the ASBPC. The biannual town halls, Regional Liaison Program, and new newsletter provide new opportunities for ASBs to engage directly with the department for improved communication and partnership.