The Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute was in downtown Calgary collecting input from the agriculture sector.

They gathered a diverse group of academics, producers and organizations to hear their two cents on the major challenges facing the industry during the two day Dialogue hosted February 21-22.

The discussions and presentations were centred around the Dialogue theme of 'Optimizing Land Use for Sustainable Growth'.

Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute President and CEO, Don Buckingham, says one of the main takeaways was measuring agriculture's environmental performance.

"As much as environmental goods and services are seemingly on the tips of tongues of everyone, like we want to lower carbon footprint, we want more biodiversity, they're really hard to measure. While us in the agriculture industry think we're doing a pretty good job, everyone says, 'Well are your really?'."

Buckingham says it's challenging for the industry to answer these questions with certainty because these indicators are so difficult to measure.

He says the other key point reiterated throughout discussions, was if it's not an economically viable practice, it will not be readily adopted.

Buckingham says the purpose of the event is to collect the best information and ideas to construct rational policy which will lead to a more economically and environmentally sustainable industry.

"We are very much of the opinion even though we may be based in Ottawa, we need to get very close to the people who are actually doing the work."

He says they'll host a similar two day dialogue in Guelph, Ontario where more information will be gathered to shape policy.


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