Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay was in Calgary last week to talk with stakeholders about the challenges and opportunities in the ag sector.

MacAulay held a roundtable discussion with western grain industry stakeholders to discuss the transportation modernization act legislation tabled by the government earlier this month, which includes long-term measures for a more transparent, fair and efficient rail system.

The Minister also met with beef processors and representatives of national and provincial cattle and beef associations.

They focused on market access and trade, relations with the U.S., accessing and retaining labour in Canadian meat processing plants, and research and innovation.

He and Alberta's Agriculture Minister Oneil Carlier also discussed the province's agricultural priorities.

"I thank the farmers and stakeholders in the grain and beef sectors here in Calgary for sharing their views with me on how to take advantage of growth opportunities in the agricultural sector," MacAulay said. "Together we will work to bolster the grain transportation and meat processing systems so that our farmers can continue to grow their businesses, meet growing global food demand sustainably, and strengthen the middle-class."

Canada's agriculture and food industry is a key driver of the Canadian economy and a high-performing sector in today's global marketplace, contributing over $100 billion annually to the GDP and employing one out of every eight Canadians.

Western Canadian grain is a $20 billion industry while the beef industry contributes $33 billion worth of sales of goods and services either directly or indirectly to the economy.