Finance Minister in region
TWEED A federal insurance program for farmers needs more funding in order to be effective, federal finance minister Bill Morneau heard here Wednesday.
The minister visited businesses in Tweed and Tamworth as part of his summer tour of meeting residents and members of Parliament. Joining him here were Tweed Mayor Jo Anne Albert and Hastings Lennox and Addington Liberal MP Mike Bossio and their staff.
For Enright Cattle Co. owners Kara and Darold Enright the visit was a recognition of their efforts to stay viable by maximizing the value of every animal.
Both are fourth generation farmers, but Kara said the old ways of farming no longer work.
would be easier to do it the way our grandparents did it, but unfortunately not profitable anymore, Kara Enright said in an interview.
order to keep our farm in the family and profitable for the next generation we had to come up with something that was sustainable, she said.
The couple led the minister delegation on a tour of the 95 acre Hunt Road property which they bought in 2004.
Both she and Darold held full time jobs elsewhere until 2010; Kara told Morneau she then quit hers to make the farm pay for itself. Small scale farms face many challenges, she said.
can make enough money off that size of a business even though you running like crazy, she said. in Canada are used to getting really good quality food for a very cheap price.
still have insanely low margins, Kara continued.
not many young farmers anymore, starting like we are, Darold said.
, and they rely heavily upon their families. The Enrights raise calves to their weaning weight; Kara parents, Chris and Don Langevin, then raise the animals to market weight on their own nearby property.
Kara was frank in telling Morneau about the inefficiency of Canada risk management program a kind of insurance for farmers.
needs more money, she said.
runs out every year, Darold added.
During such times as last year drought, Kara explained, the program payouts have dwindled to the point of insignificance. She said her family buys the insurance and participates in all the programs we can.
makes us more sustainable, she said.
Morneau listened intently throughout the brief tour, asking questions about the farm and farming in general.
As a child, she said, she wanted to follow her farmers into dairy farming. She and Darold now partner with her parents but rather than expand significantly they opted to make the most of their herd.
started direct marketing our beef in 2010, she said. year we launched a line of leather as well. promote their animal welfare practices, hormone free beef and sustainable methods. A bar coding system lets them track the path of each cut and, like the sale of leather, maximize the profit from every animal raised.
The coding allows them to each cow in the computer and determine what cuts sold well or received customer feedback and which family of cattle produced those animals. Such detailed tracking can also give customers confidence in the safety of the meat, Kara said, and can be used in the unlikely event of a recall.
Hides had previously been shipped overseas for little profit.
They now tanned in Ontario and handcrafted into lines of luxury handbags plus aprons for chefs and butchers.
The politicians sampled some of the meat and viewed the handbags before departing for Tamworth.
There Morneau visited Bon Eco Design and spoke about the contributions of businesses of all sizes, according to a press release from his office.
economy is truly firing on all cylinders, the release quoted Morneau as saying.
intend to continue providing the support and leadership needed to help Canadian entrepreneurs succeed in an increasingly innovative, dynamic marketplace, and to put Canadian talent centre stage when it comes to fostering sectors like (the) agriculture and agri food sector, where Canada is well positioned for success. spoke privately with the Enrights before leaving the farm.
have my takeaways, he said, smiling as he left the barn, acknowledging he heard their comments about risk management. He added he had also learned his family needs to buy whole lotta beef. Enright said she and her husband were pleased with the visit.
great he chose to come to a farm to get that exposure, she said. good publicity for us. said they are hoping such meetings with politicians will improve conditions for farmers.