The Keystone Agricultural Producers held their November Advisory Council meeting on Tuesday.

Agriculture Minister Ron Kostyshyn told participants that the government will work to ensure that Agriculture continues to be a major driver of the economy, including working with value-added opportunities.

"I think that's kind of the center focus that we as government and organizations such as KAP need to move forward, that united front. Because the more opportunities, of added value opportunities, of the raw food that we produce or crops we produce. I think has major benefits to the economy and the GDP in the province of Manitoba."

During his opening remarks, he encouraged producers to adopt and maintain sustainable farming practices, noting that the government has been working with KAP to help identify on-farm environmental risks.

"KAP has been an important partner in administrating the environmental farm plans and over 6800 environmental farm plans have been completed today.  As we move forward, programs towards the environmental farm plans will become more important certifying that our producers are strong stewards of the land, and we know they will be."

Kostyshyn says they will continue to invest in innovation and research, and identify gaps in their rural service delivery, adding they want to ensure the internet 
and cell service is available to all Manitobans and will continue support for research and innovation in the ag sector.

He'll also be working with the Advanced Education and Training Minister to deliver funding to build a Prairie Innovation Centre for Sustainable Agriculture at the Assiniboine Community College.

"As we all know, labor shortages is always becoming an issue and more so now than ever before. This is part of the education component that will solve and train labor that would be helpful in our agriculture sector. This opportunity will allow us to invest in people that in turn invest in our industry."