The Canadian Federation of Agriculture holding its Annual General Meeting this week in Ottawa.

President Keith Curry says this year's theme is 'Seizing Opportunities: Canada's growing role on the world stage'. 

During the first day of the event, the politicians addressed the group.

Federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence Macaulay, talking to producers about Canada's new Indo-Pacific Agriculture and Agri-Food Trade Office and the opportunities ahead. 

He says he sees a lot of potential for Canadian agriculture locally and globally, while also acknowledging the challenges in the AG sector. 

"Farmers have been hit by every obstacle imaginable. From a pandemic to extreme weather events to global unrest and supply chain disruptions. You've delivered under tough circumstances, helping to keep our food supply and economy strong. I want to thank you for your dedication. "

During the question and answer session, Ontario farmer and delegate Ethan Wallace asked for the advance payment program interest-free portion to be put back up to $350,000. 

MacAulay says it's not something he can do, but maybe the government can. 

He says he's fully aware and pushing for something like that to take place. 

"I understand how important the advance payment program is. It's a long time since I grew potatoes, but I can tell you they were stored for about six months and to have the advance payment interest-free, it meant a lot. I very much appreciated it and I'm on the on your side. Give the Minister of Finance a push, wouldn't hurt. "

The CFA, also hearing from the AG critics on the topic, said they were also caught off guard by the change and also emphasized the need for the interest-free portion to be returned to $350,000. 

The Conservative Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Agri-Food John Barlow said he didn’t know about it until farm organizations started contacting him.

He also added he wouldn’t bet the farm on the decision being reversed.

Another key issue for farmers has been Bill C-234, with delegates asking politicians if they support the Senate's new amendments, that would cut barns, farm buildings, and greenhouses out of the proposed carbon tax exemption.

The Bloc Quebecois agriculture critic noted they supported the amended version, while the Conservatives and NDP said they would vote against it.

The NDP's Agriculture Critic, Alistair MacGregor told the crowd during his presentation that his party would reject the Senate amendments, saying they support the goal of the original bill. 

"There is no commercially viable alternative for farmers to switch to. We need to give them a helping hand up and I believe that Bill is in the spirit of that."