P.E.I. potato farmer heads national agriculture council

Prince Edward Island potato farmer Alvin Keenan is leading a national lobbying group that represents more than 120 agricultural commodities in Canada

Alvin Keenan served as the Atlantic Canadian representative on the board

Alvin Keenan is leading the Canadian Horticultural Council. (CBC)

Prince Edward Island potato farmer Alvin Keenan is leading a national lobbying group that represents more than 120 agricultural commodities in Canada. 

Keenan, who lives in Rollo Bay, P.E.I., said the Canadian Horticultural Council deals with a number of issues for its members. 

"It's a huge industry," said the veteran farmer, adding the organization deals with any number of issues including trade marketing, industry standards, food safety, labour, temporary foreign workers, environment and more. 

"We always have emerging issues. For example, right now we have the carbon tax issues in Canada coming on and how we will stay competitive with these increased taxes." 

Keenan said those increased taxes and operating costs also affect the cost to the consumer.

As the United States is Canada's biggest trading partner and farmers there won't be subject to the carbon tax, Keenan said CHC members are worried about the potential ramifications. 

"We import a lot of product from the US and we're afraid it makes us very uncompetitive in the country in the world that has the most fresh water to produce its crops and also nourish our people." 

Keenan has been representing the Atlantic region on the CHC board and said as a board member he prepared himself for the challenge. 

"I believe that it's important and we're very fortunate to have the democracy we have and the governments will allow us to meet with them meet and share our concerns for the industry." 

With files from Laura Chapin