The 180

Does Canada need family farms?

Cattle farmer Daniel Schneider says family farms are a vital part of ethical food production and need to be protected. But Colby Cosh argues the eventual disappearance of family farms might actually be good for safety and social mobility in rural Canada.

This month, the Alberta government introduced legislation to make worker's compensation coverage mandatory on farms and ranches in the province. If it passes, Bill 6 will also make farms and ranches subject to Occupational Health and Safety legislation.

For supporters, this bill is a sign that farmers in Alberta are finally going to get the same protection as other workers. But critics say the bill will place an unfair financial burden on family farms and alter their way of life

Comic artist and cattle farmer Daniel Schneider is concerned the legislation will mean the end of family farming in Alberta as he knows it. He says we need to preserve the family farm if we want to make sure food is produced ethically in the future. 

If we want to make sure that ethics and morals and values stay inside farming, we need to make sure that families stay inside farming. - Daniel Schneider

National Post columnist Colby Cosh, however, argues that the eventual replacement of family farms by larger industrial farms might actually be good for safety and social mobility in rural Canada.

If you go outside the purely domestic context and look at world history, having fewer people working in agriculture has always and everywhere been considered a sign of social progress. - Colby Cosh


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