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Letnick back as ag minister


Says he is ‘more pumped than ever’ in desire to see the industry succeed. By Judie Steeves


P


remier Christy Clark showed her dedication to recycling by replacing ailing agriculture minister Pat Pimm in April with the previous minister, Norm Letnick. Pimm, who was appointed to serve as the 12th agriculture minister in the past 20 years last June, is battling colon cancer. Letnick is the MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country. “I’m very excited about this,” he commented after the appointment.


“Industry was very supportive last time around, and I was a first-time minister. It’s different this time because I’ve had more experience, but I’m even more pumped than ever,” he added.


His goal is to make sure agriculture continues to do as well as it is right now and that its revenues of $11.5 billion increase to $14 billion annually by 2017.


“The farm sector is in the black; cherries are now being exported into China and maybe blueberries will be next,” he continued.


When Letnick was agriculture minister previously he did succeed in getting a 20 per cent lift in the agriculture budget. He attributed that in part to the fact there are a number of


former agriculture ministers and lots of industry experience around the cabinet table. “It was a team effort,” he said.


Immediately upon his


appointment, he contacted the B.C. Agriculture Council to set up a meeting to discuss the implications of Bill 24, which would make some significant changes to the Agricultural Land Reserve legislation. It was introduced in the legislature in April.


Norm Letnick


“I’ve received hundreds of communications on all sides of the issue and I’m reading every one,” said Letnick, adding, “I’ve asked my caucus colleagues to consult with their constituents and let me know how they feel.” The former associate professor in business calls himself a workaholic with a purpose, and sees farmers as small business people just as he is. “They’re great people,” he says. “I can think of lots of ministries I wouldn’t want to be in, but I’m really looking forward to this.”


Letnick is a strong advocate of B.C. agriculture and the eat-local movement.


British Columbia Berry Grower • Summer 2014


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