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Celebrate Spring by Supporting Canada's Vibrant Agriculture Sector: BMO

- Agriculture in Canada accounts for 8.1 per cent of total GDP and $63.5 billion in global trade

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 03/28/13 -- BMO Bank of Montreal encourages Canadians to support local farmers and choose locally produced foods and beverages this holiday weekend.

This weekend provides an opportune time to celebrate the arrival of spring with a traditional menu centered around food grown and produced on Canadian soil.

"Canadian consumers continue to benefit from a strong and stable agriculture system with reliable food sources and unparalleled safety," said Karl McLaren, Manager, Agriculture, BMO Bank of Montreal. "We want to thank farmers and show support for their efforts to help maintain a strong and vibrant Canadian agricultural sector by encouraging everyone to think locally when they plan their holiday meals this week."

A BMO survey revealed that Canadians try to purchase the following home-grown products always or frequently:

--  Poultry (84 per cent) 
--  Vegetables (91 per cent) 
--  Beef (78 per cent) 
--  Fruit (86 per cent) 
--  Cheese (81 per cent)

"The Canadian agricultural sector should reap further growth this year after a solid performance in 2012," said Aaron Goertzen, Economist, BMO Capital Markets. "Although better growing conditions in the United States and overseas could take some upward pressure off crop prices, low inventories and the accelerating global economy should keep grain and oilseed markets in elevated territory. Over the longer-term, the sector's demand and pricing environment will continue to benefit from domestic and global population growth, as well as rapidly rising incomes in emerging market economies."

Fast Facts About Canada's Agriculture Industry:

--  Canada is the world's fifth largest agriculture exporter and 6th largest
    importer, accounting for a combined $63.5 billion in global trade 
--  Local farmers' markets are responsible for over $1 billion in sales and
    represent a total economic contribution of over $3 billion 
--  The Canadian agriculture sector accounts for 8.1 per cent of total GDP

BMO's roots in the Canadian agricultural sector date back to 1817, when the Bank first began working with farmers to support and expand the agricultural industry which has become a key driver of Canada's economy. Today, BMO provides customized loan and deposit solutions to Canada's agri-business owners, the single largest core commercial sector that the bank serves.

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 January 31, 2013, and more than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.

Contacts:
Media Contacts:
Russell Baker, Toronto
(416) 867-3996
[email protected]

Valerie Doucet, Montreal
(514) 877-8224
[email protected]

Laurie Grant, Vancouver
(604) 665-7596
[email protected]

Internet: www.bmo.com
Twitter: @BMOmedia

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