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BMO: Support Canadian Farmers This Thanksgiving

- Canadian farmers fill the harvest table with healthy choices

- Local farmers' markets are responsible for more than $1 billion in sales and have a total economic impact of more than $3 billion

- BMO study finds 86 per cent of consumers believe it is important to purchase food products made in Canada.



TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 3, 2012) - BMO Bank of Montreal today encouraged Canadians to support local farmers and choose locally-produced foods and wines this Thanksgiving weekend.

The agriculture and agri-food sector plays an important role in the Canadian economy, employing one-in-eight jobs directly and accounting for 8.1 per cent of total GDP, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

The history of Thanksgiving in Canada dates back to the 1600s in New France, when explorer Samuel de Champlain and early settlers celebrated their successful harvests. Many of the holiday foods we enjoy today are the same as those originally grown and harvested by Aboriginal Peoples in North America including corn, pumpkins, squash and cranberries.

"Thanksgiving provides us with a great opportunity to give thanks for family, good friends and the harvest, and to show our appreciation for the hard work and dedication of our local farmers," said David Rinneard, National Manager, Agriculture, BMO Bank of Montreal. "By filling your holiday table with superb locally grown and locally produced food and wines, you can help support and sustain the fabric of Canada's rural economy."

When asked in a recent BMO poll, 86 per cent of Canadians responded that they felt it was important or very important that they purchase Canadian-produced food.

Fast Facts about Canada's Agriculture Industry:

  • Canada is the world's fifth largest agriculture exporter and sixth largest importer, accounting for a combined $63.5 billion in global trade
  • Local farmers' markets are responsible for more than $1 billion in sales and have a total economic effect of more than $3 billion

Turkey, all the Fixings, and Canadian Wines

  • Turkeys were domesticated by Aboriginal Peoples in North America more than 2,000 years ago
  • Turkey is an excellent source of protein, lean, low in sodium and an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals
  • In Canada, more than 500 turkey farmers produce, on average, 164 million kg of turkey worth more than $388 million annually
  • Wild fruits and berries - cranberries in Eastern portions of North America, the Bakeapple or Cloudberry in the Maritimes, and the Saskatoon Berry - have a long tradition at harvest celebrations dating back to early settlers
  • The holiday favorite, pumpkin pie, became popular with early settlers over time as supplies of the essential ingredient, molasses, became more readily available
  • Canadian wines offer many choices to complement a festive holiday meal, including the popular Chardonnays, Merlots, Gewürztraminers, and even cranberry and specialty wines

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $542 billion as at July 31, 2012, and more than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.

BMO's roots in the Canadian agricultural sector date back to 1817, when it first began working with farmers. BMO Bank of Montreal provides customized loan and deposit solutions to Canada's agri-business owners, the single largest core commercial sector that the bank serves. For Canadian businesses, including those in the agriculture and agri-food sectors, looking to innovate, enhance productivity, and grow their business, BMO Bank of Montreal announced a credit boost of $10 Billion over the next three years.

Media Contacts:
Paul Cunliffe, Toronto
(416) 867-3996
paul.cunliffe@bmo.com

Valerie Doucet, Montreal
(514) 877-8224
valerie.doucet@bmo.com

Laurie Grant, Vancouver
(604) 665-7596
laurie.grant@bmo.com

Internet: www.bmo.com
Twitter: @BMOmedia