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Harper Government Invests in Canada's Barley Industry

BANFF, ALBERTA -- (Marketwired) -- 12/06/13 -- The Canadian barley industry is receiving support to expand into new markets thanks to an investment from the Government of Canada. Today, Member of Parliament Blake Richards (Wild Rose), on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, announced an investment of up to $314,800 for the Alberta Barley Commission at the organization's annual general meeting.

"Canada's economic growth remains a top priority for the government," said MP Richards. "By promoting the health benefits of Canadian barley food products, this project will help the sector expand and take advantage of new domestic and international market opportunities."

Most barley grown in and exported from Canada is for malting. As a result of the recent movement to a free market structure for barley, and the formal recognition of related health benefits such as the lowering of blood cholesterol, there is great potential for the industry to expand into the food sector. This investment will promote the health benefits and functional advantages of barley in the areas of bakery, snack food, and cereal sectors to existing domestic and international food companies. Information on the scientific benefits will also be communicated to health professionals, media and consumers.

"This funding will make a difference for barley farmers," said Alberta Barley Chairman Matt Sawyer. "The federal government's investment empowers us to get the word out about a great product-and build up Canada's food barley industry."

This is a joint venture between the Alberta Barley Commission and the newly incorporated Barley Council of Canada. The Alberta Barley Commission is a not-for-profit organization that is directed, funded and controlled by Alberta barley farmers. The Barley Council of Canada is a national producer-led organization representing the interests of the barley value chain.

This investment is part of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's AgriMarketing Program, a five-year, $341-million initiative under Growing Forward 2. The Market Development stream of the program seeks to build and promote Canada's expansion into domestic and export markets through activities that differentiate Canadian products and producers and ensure industry is able to meet market requirements.

The new Growing Forward 2 policy framework, which came into effect on April 1, 2013, will continue to drive innovation and long-term growth in Canada. In addition to a generous suite of business risk management programs, governments have agreed to invest more than $3 billion over five years in innovation, competitiveness, and market development.

For more information on the Growing Forward 2 agreement and the AgriMarketing Program, please visit www.agr.gc.ca/growingforward2.

Contacts:
Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
613-773-7972
1-866-345-7972
Follow us on Twitter: @AAFC_Canada

Jeff English
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
613-773-1059

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