Sturgeon County introduces the Agribusiness and Agritourism Review Task Force

submitted by Sturgeon County

Sturgeon County is very pleased to announce the appointment of the newly-formed Agribusiness and Agritourism Review Task Force members: Tam Andersen, David Benjestorf, Richard Boissonneault, Mark Chuiko, Deb Foisy, Cathy Gilbert, and Andrew Rosychuk.

At the end of their ten-month mandate, the Task Force will provide County Council with recommendations on how to best support agritourism and agribusiness in Sturgeon County. To do this, the group will review local, provincial, and national agribusiness and agritourism regulatory best practices and identify the needs and expectations of Sturgeon County’s businesses and landowners.

Sturgeon County has a long history in agriculture and continues to have a strong agricultural base. According to the last Census of Agriculture (2016), the agriculture industry generated $230 million in total gross farm receipts with a reported 377,722 acres being cropped. The Agribusiness and Agritourism Review Task Force will be looking at ways to support this important sector and to take advantage of the growing interest in sourcing and supplying local foods and related services.

“Agriculture is the heart of Sturgeon County and there is a growing demand for local products and experiences,” said Mayor Alanna Hnatiw. “The new Task Force represents a strong mix of people with diverse backgrounds that will represent a wide range of agricultural perspectives.”

The nine-member task force is made up of two Council members plus the seven public members announced today. Division 3 Councillor Wayne Bokenfohr and Division 5 Councillor Patrick D. Tighe will represent Council as members of the Task Force, with Mayor Alanna Hnatiw as an ex-officio member.

During the first meeting held June 8, 2021, the Task Force elected Cathy Gilbert as Chair and Councillor Wayne Bokenfohr as vice-chair.

“I’m honoured to not only be part of the Task Force, but to also serve as chair and thank the group for their confidence in me,” said Cathy Gilbert. “We have a lot of work ahead of us, but I believe we have the right team assembled to prepare a report that will provide Council with direction for the future of agribusiness and agritourism in the county.”

The Agribusiness and Agritourism Review Task Force will meet on a regular basis over the next ten months as they meet with residents, landowners, business operators, producers, and other key people and groups in the agribusiness and agritourism sectors.

“I want to thank everyone who applied to be on the Task Force, and I want to encourage everyone in Sturgeon County to come to the engagement sessions and send us your thoughts and ideas. By working together, we will continue to grow our agribusiness and agritourism sectors in a responsible and mutually beneficial way,” said Mayor Hnatiw.

Task Force details, including meeting dates and information on how to get involved and contribute to review, will be available at sturgeoncounty.ca/AgriReview.

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