|HISTORY/BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH: ||Dates of Founding and/or Dissolution:|
Alberta Agriculture, Food, and Rural Development began when the Alberta Act (S.C. 1905, c. 3), established the province on September 1, 1905. In a proviso that existed in the federal statute, the Agriculture Department already established in the North-West Territories was continued in the new province. The Agricultural Department Actofficially established the Department of Agriculture in 1906 (S.A. 1906, c. 8). It assumed its present name in 1992.
In 1906, the Agricultural Department Act repealed and replaced the Territorial Ordinance regarding agriculture. In the new legislation, the function and duties of the department remained consistent. At this time, the department administered matters relating to agriculture, colonization, statistics, wildlife management, and public health, including hospitals. The department's functional responsibility has evolved over time from being extensive in scope to being more focused and specialized. Many of the initial functional divisions have been transferred to other departments or discontinued, and new divisions have been created.
The Alberta government began to administer health care in 1905 and organized the Public Health Branch in 1906. In 1918, the branch was transferred first to the Department of the Provincial Secretary and then to Municipal Affairs. In 1919, a Department of Public Health was established. Part of the Statistical Branch of the Department of Agriculture, which was compiling demographic information on Albertans, was transferred to the Department of Public Health in 1919.
The Publicity Bureau was established under the Department of Agriculture in 1910 in an organized effort to induce settlers to locate in Alberta. In 1916, the Publicity Bureau was amalgamated with the Statistical Branch and became known as the Publicity and Statistics Branch. In 1931, the publicity and general statistics function was transferred to the jurisdiction of the executive council. Agricultural statistics was retained as a function of the Agricultural Extension Service.
The Water Resources Branch first appears in the 1954 annual report of the Department of Agriculture. The Water Resources Branch administered the Water Resources Act, which provides that persons must apply for authority to divert water other than for riparian use. The Water Resources Division came out of an amalgamation of the Water Resource Branch and the Colonization Branch in 1966. The Water Resources Division was transferred out of the Department of Agriculture in 1971 to the Department of the Environment.
The Office of the Chief Game Guardian had its origins in a Territorial ordinance that was continued with the establishment of the new province. The Game Guardian was responsible for regulating the use and conservation of wildlife. The office took on the function of fire prevention in 1907. The Game Branch was transferred to the jurisdiction of the Department of Lands and Mines in 1936 and transferred back in 1937 as the Game and Fisheries Branch. In 1941, what had become the Fish and Game Division was transferred back to the Department of Lands and Mines.
In 1914, what would become the Agricultural and Vocational Colleges Branch was established as Schools of Agriculture. The branch, which later became a division under the Department of Agriculture, had various name changes, although it maintained the function of education in agriculture. In 1971, administration of the Agricultural and Vocational Colleges Division was transferred to the jurisdiction of the Department of Advanced Education.
The Weather Modification Board was active in the department from its inception by Ministerial Order in 1972. The board operated a hail suppression program and conducted hail suppression release. The board was later replaced by the Advisory Committee on Weather Modification, which changed the function of the agency to advising the minister in charge on all matters relating to the suppression of hail in the province. The committee completed a five-year research program in 1987. The committee directed the program and the Alberta Research Council operated it. Consequently, the Alberta government took the position not to support weather modification activities because of the absence of evidence of the effectiveness of the technology for the purposes claimed. The committee was disbanded.
Civil defence began in the province under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Agriculture. The agency operated outside of the Department of Agriculture until 1957. At this time, a report of Alberta Civil Defence was included with the annual report of the Department of Agriculture. In 1959, civil defence became a branch of the department. The name was changed to the Emergency Measure Organization (EMO) in 1960 and was transferred to Public Welfare in 1962. In 1967, the EMO was once again the responsibility of the Minister of Agriculture under the Veterinary Services Division. In 1973, the organization was once again redefined by legislation. It became a division in the Department of Agriculture and was called Alberta Disaster Services Division. After 1976, the function of civil defence once again became independent of the Department of Agriculture.
In 2001, the new government structure created several new departments from functions of existing ones. Agriculture, Food, and Rural Development no longer controlled the administration of public lands. The newly created Department of Sustainable Resource Development took over this function.
By 2005, the ministry was divided into the Department of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Development and a number of agencies, boards, and commissions. The department is responsible for the management of programs designed to facilitate development of all phases of the agricultural and food industry, to sustain the resource base of the industry, and to encourage development of rural communities. The other agencies, boards, and commissions support or complement these functions.
Alberta Agriculture, Food, and Rural Development's functional responsibility is rooted in the administration of a great number of Alberta statutes. Much of the powers and duties are delegated to divisions or branches within the organization. The number of Acts that the department administers varies from year to year.
Predecessor and Successor Bodies:
Before the establishment of the Department of Agriculture, agriculture within what would become Alberta was under the direction of the Territorial Department of Agriculture and governed by An Ordinance Respecting the Department of Agriculture (C.O. 1898, c. 8). Under this ordinance, the department had powers to control the administration as it related to agriculture, statistics, and public health, including hospitals.
The Minister of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Development is a member of the executive council appointed by the Premier to head the department and reports to the Legislative Assembly for the department for which s/he is responsible. The minister also submits reports received from other agencies, boards, councils, and institutes that report to the minister. In 2005, these were the Agricultural Products Marketing Council, Agriculture Financial Services Corporation, Farmers' Advocate of Alberta, Irrigation Council, and Alberta Grain Commission.
The department of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Development has had a hierarchical structure since its inception. The administrative structure evolved from the branches reporting to the minister to more complex reporting lines, which included branches, divisions, sectors, and other entities administered by the minister, associate minister, or deputy minister. The greater part of 1906 was spent organizing the first ten branches of the department. At the end of the century, the department had three sectors, thirteen divisions, and several other entities related to administration. The major points of reorganization for the department occurred in 1906 and again in 1972. In 2005, the major sections of the department included Planning and Competitiveness, Industry Development, Sustainable Agriculture, and Alberta Corporate Services.
Names of the Corporate bodies:
Department of Agriculture 1905-1992
Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Development 1992-present
Also referred to as Agricultural Department, Alberta Department of Agriculture, Alberta Agriculture, and Alberta Agriculture, Food, and Rural Development, and by its acronym, AFRD
Names of Chief Officers:
Ministers of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Development
William Thomas Finlay 1905-1909
Duncan McLean Marshall 1909-1921
Archibald J. McLean (Acting) 1914-1921
George Hoadley 1921-1934
Alexander Ross (Acting) 1924
Frank T. Grisdale 1934-1935
William Neeland Chant 1935-1937
Charles Cathmer Ross (Acting) 1935-1937
Nathan Eldon Tanner (Acting) 1937
David Bertram Mullen 1937-1940
William Allan Fallow (Acting) 1937
Ernest Charles Manning (Acting)1937
Nathan Eldon Tanner (Acting) 1937
Duncan Bruce MacMillian 1940-1948
David Alton Ure 1948-1953
Duncan Bruce MacMillian (Acting)1948-1952
Nathan Eldon Tanner (Acting) 1948-1952
Clarence Edgar Gerhart (Acting)1948-1952
Gordon Edward Taylor (Acting) 1952
Clarence Edgar Gerhart (Acting)1952
Alfred John Hooke (Acting) 1952
Leonard Christian Halmrast 1954-1962
Harry Edwin Strom 1962-1968
Henry Arild Ruste 1968-1971
Raymond Reierson (Acting) 1969
Hugh Macarthur Horner 1971-1974
Marvin Everard Moore 1975-1977
Dallas Wilbur Schmidt 1978-1982
Edwin LeRoy Fjordbotten 1982-1985
Peter Elizinga 1985-1988
Ernest Douglas Isley 1988-1992
Walter Paszkowski 1992-1996
Edward M. Stelmach 1996-1998
Tyrone O. Lund 1998-2001
Shirley A.M. McClellan 2001-2004
Doug Horner 2004-2006
George Groeneveld 2006-present