A panel consisting of Agriculture Canada scientist, Dr. Judith Nyiraneza along with Barry Thompson and Kyra Stiles from the Provincial Agriculture & Fisheries Department made a presentation which highlighted the alarming decline in organic matter in PEI soils over the past number of years. It was pointed out that organic matter levels can be reduced much more quickly than they can be increased. Members suggested that an increased livestock industry and a move away from the industrial model of farming would go a long way to improving the organic matter content of Island soils.
Hon. Robert Henderson, Minister of Agriculture & Fisheries brought greetings from his Department and fielded questions from the delegates. Most of the concerns were with regard to the land issue in this Province. Mr. Henderson suggested that if there was enough public outcry, the land situation could become an issue in the next election campaign.
Hon. Richard Brown, Minister of Communities, Land and Environment addressed the gathering as well. Again, most of the questions to Mr. Brown concerned the serious situation with foreign interests buying up large tracts of PEI farmland. The letter of the law may be followed but certainly the spirit and intent of the Lands Protection Act is not being upheld.
Mr. Brown looked to the NFU for solutions and was reminded that the NFU has long advocated a land banking system for this Province. In this way, retiring farmers could sell their land and new and expanding producers could lease land from the banking system until such time as they were in a position to purchase it.
Resolutions were considered by the Convention, many of which concerned the strengthening of the Lands Protection Act. Another resolution asked that the Corporate Business Registry of PEI continue to display the names of shareholders and directors of Island companies and that the information regarding the inter-connections between corporations be made much more transparent.
With regard to the Municipal Governance Act, a resolution was passed to request the Minister of Communities, Land and Environment to respect and uphold the decision of residents in non-incorporated areas and incorporated areas with regard to amalgamation and annexation. All resolutions passed with be followed up with the various departments, etc. District Director, Doug Campbell along with Women’s District Director Edith Ling, and the Youth District Director, Byron Petrie were elected by acclamation.