Minister: The Honourable Gerry Ritz
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
Born on a farm near Delisle, Saskatchewan, and driven by a lifelong passion for agriculture, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz believes in putting
"Farmers First". It means that by ensuring a strong and profitable farm gate the entire value chain is better positioned to capitalize on market opportunities, drive the economy and feed the world.
Over his five years as Agriculture Minister, Ritz has worked to ensure a profitable farm gate by improving market access around the world and investing in research and development here at home. He has led over 30 trade missions around the world in an effort to open, reopen and expand market access by promoting a rules and science-based approach to trade. At home, Minister Ritz works with industry, academia and other levels of government to strategically invest in science and innovation that will create new market opportunities for Canada's hardworking producers and processors.
Most recently, Minister Ritz quarterbacked the passage of the historic Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act, which is opening the door to new investment, innovation and value-added opportunities for Western Canadian wheat and barley growers. Working collaboratively with the provinces, territories and industry, he is leading the development of a renewed policy framework for agriculture to meet the ever-changing needs of the farm gate while strengthening the entire agriculture industry.
In recognition of his achievements, Minister Ritz received the Western Canadian Wheat Growers
"Shovel of Gratitude" in January 2012 for delivering marketing freedom for western wheat, durum and barley farmers. Minister Ritz was also awarded the first-ever Jim Graham Award by the Canada Beef Export Federation in 2009 for
"the greatest contribution made to Canadian beef and veal exports". In 2010, he was recognized by the Canadian Pork Council for his efforts to maintain global confidence in Canadian pork following the H1N1 crisis.
Minister Ritz has been serving farmers, food processors and all Canadians as Minister of Agriculture since 2007, and as Member of Parliament for Battlefords-Lloydminster since 1997. He previously served as Secretary of State for Small Business and Tourism and continues to represent his native Saskatchewan as Regional Minister.
In addition to farming, Minister Ritz has owned and operated a general contracting business, and co-owned a weekly newspaper. Minister Ritz also has a long history of community involvement including work with economic development organizations and coaching hockey. He and his wife Judy live at Brightsand Lake in western Saskatchewan. They have two children and three grandchildren.