Agriculture, Federal Task Force on

Agriculture, Federal Task Force on, established 1967 to advise the federal minister of agriculture on problems of Canadian agriculture and to recommend policies. Surplus production and lagging incomes in the wheat and dairy industries had precipitated threats of a strike by angry dairy farmers and led to a march on Parliament Hill in May 1967 (see NATIONAL FARMERS UNION).

The task force delivered its report, Canadian Agriculture in the Seventies, in 1969. It found widespread dissatisfaction with low farm incomes, uncertain markets and prices, overproduction, small nonviable farms and diminishing export markets. It recommended that the government should reduce its direct involvement in agriculture and phase out subsidies and price supports; that the farm population should be reduced; and that younger low-income farmers should leave farming while older nonviable farmers should be assisted to achieve a better standard of living. Convinced that the surpluses of wheat and dairy products would continue in the 1970s, the commissioners recommended that farmers shift to producing other commodities.

The major AGRICULTURE AND FOOD POLICIES of the 1970s that grew out of this report were ironically characterized by greater interdependence between government and agriculture rather than by the looser ties the task force has recommended.