Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce Food Fuel and Fertilizer Global Summit 2024

May 09, 2024

Hollywood says that the sequel is never as good as the original. I think back to last year’s Food, Fuel, Fertilizer Summit at Prairieland Park and it had a lot of great content, but I have to say that this year’s FFF was better. More than just a buzz word of 2024, sustainability came to the front and center by virtually every presenter and panel discussion.

Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce Food Fuel and Fertilizer Global Summit 2024

The event was emceed by the past voice of Saskatchewan, John Gormley. He added his own perspective and personal antidotes that added a true Saskatchewan feel to the event. Premier Honorable Scott Moe started the summit and, in his style, described the advantages that Saskatchewan has in the global marketplace. He was joined by former Prime Minister, the Honorable Steven Harper, and the Honorable Minister Jerremy Harrison in a panel discussion about food and energy security. One of the key messages expressed was how our provincial government was working very hard on building relationships with global organizations and jurisdictions regardless of different relations with other parts of Canada. The advantages that we have in a stable, conflict-free supply of natural resources are an attraction to other nations. This theme also resonated through other panel discussions during the remainder of the first day from the former U.S. ambassador to Canada, the Honorable David Wilkins, and former premier of Saskatchewan, the Honorable Brad Wall. If I was to pick a favourite presenter, I would have to choose Mr. Wall. He was very engaging, interactive with the audience and a huge advocate of Saskatchewan. Not that other presenters were not promoting Saskatchewan or engaging, but Brad Wall presents in a way that makes you feel like tattooing the provincial flag on your chest.

 It was interesting that another topic came up during the 2-day event from almost every presenter and that was the lack of infrastructure in the province to move products to market. AGT president and CEO, Murad Al-Katib, shared information on how there needs to be discussion on developing trade corridors beyond the reliance of the Port of Vancouver. He explained the Australian government has a 50-year infrastructure plan in place for their country. Our government has a 2-year plan which seems to change with election dates. Cherylin Jolly-Nagel, a generational farmer and panellist stated that our global reputation has been affected by our lack of investing in infrastructure. Buyers in other countries are seeing that it is a problem in Canada to find transportation of goods to our borders. This is directly affecting our ability to benefit from the superior products we grow and the supply of critical minerals we have in our own backyard. 

This event was also a great opportunity to network with business leaders and officials from provincial and federal organizations. I had valuable conversations about important concerns in the trucking industry such as the lack of a reliable labor pool and issues like Driver Inc. I want to thank everyone who took the time to listen about the trucking industry in Saskatchewan as well as let those same individuals know that I appreciated them sharing their stories about good things happening in Saskatchewan. To finish up I would like to recognize one statement that I felt was powerful and that was when Heidi Dutton, CEO of Lovingly Made Flour Mills, said that we (Saskatchewan) are awesome. I think we need to tell ourselves that more often, so the rest of the world recognizes what deep down we already know. Since the summit, I have been busy reaching out and wanting to share Saskatchewan’s story with others as it is a good story, one with dignity and stability and one that wants to build relationships and engage with partners with common goals and interests. And yes, we are awesome. 

Take care and drive safe.

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