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Food Day Canada: BMO Survey Shows Canadians' Unwavering Support for Their Local Farmers

- Outlook for Canadian farmers remains positive

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 08/03/13 -- In celebration of Food Day Canada taking place today, BMO released the results of a survey which found that supporting regional economies, farmers and jobs, along with fresh food and taste, all trump the cost of food for people choosing to buy local.

The report also revealed what products Canadians buy locally and why, and showed differences across the provinces on a variety of foods. The top reasons Canadians buy local, include:

--  The food is fresh and tastes better (97 per cent) 
--  It supports the local economy (97 per cent) 
--  It supports local farmers (96 per cent) 
--  It creates local jobs (93 per cent) 
--  It's better for the environment (88 per cent) 
--  It offers the opportunity to buy organic produce (76 per cent) 
--  It is less expensive (71 per cent) 

"Canadian consumers continue to reap the benefit of a strong and stable agriculture sector with reliable food sources from across the country," said David Rinneard, Director, Agriculture and Agribusiness, BMO Bank of Montreal. "These survey results highlight the growing number of Canadians who show unwavering support for their local producers, a movement which boosts the national economy and creates jobs."

The Food Day Canada movement was founded a decade ago by Anita Stewart, a leading culinary activist. Starting this weekend, 280 restaurants across Canada will offer a special menu with Canada-only selections. These leaders have been espousing the use of Canadian ingredients for decades. Food Canada Day also offers a Do-It-Yourself Guide, so no matter where Canadians find themselves - in the kitchen, at the backyard BBQ or a riverside campsite - they can also "Join the Party" and celebrate local food.

"Local ingredients are becoming an increasingly popular choice and Canadians are beginning to recognize that seasonally harvested food tastes better. It is causing a noticeable repositioning of our entire culinary economy which BMO's research findings perfectly reflect," said Anita Stewart, President and Founder, Food Day Canada. "Canadians know that by supporting our local producers, we are nurturing the diversity that creates an edible shopping list for us now - and more importantly - for future generations."

Aaron Goertzen, Economist, BMO Capital Markets, added the outlook for Canada's agriculture sector this year remains positive, with growing conditions in the Prairies looking supportive and higher-than-normal prices persisting for a number of key crops. These high prices and overall increased demand have partly been a carryover from decreased U.S. crop yield last year following the drought in the Midwest. Increased supply following this summer's harvest - as U.S. farmers get back on track - will likely mean lower prices for Canadian farmers, but should also help reduce food prices for North American consumers.

Survey Results Coast to Coast

The results also showed clear differences in what they purchase locally based on access to locally sourced food.

             Purchased                                             Atlantic 
Food         (Overall)   B.C.  Alberta  Prairies  Ontario  Quebec    Canada 
Vegetables          82%    85%      74%       74%      84%     81%       79%
Bread               75%    71%      73%       72%      71%     82%       81%
Fruit               74%    80%      54%       60%      79%     76%       72%
Poultry             64%    64%      64%       63%      66%     61%       70%
Beef                60%    59%      74%       60%      58%     55%       66%
Cheese              59%    52%      50%       46%      60%     71%       53%
Fish                44%    55%      27%       35%      43%     40%       66%
Wine                31%    32%      16%       17%      40%     27%       26%

Follow Food Day Canada on Twitter @FoodDayCanada or #FoodDayCanada.

The results cited in this report come from an online survey fielded by Pollara between June 14th and June 17th with a sample of 1,000 Canadians. Overall results for a probability sample of this size would be accurate to +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

About BMO and Agriculture

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, deposit, cash management and card payment 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 $555 billion as at April 30, 2013, and more than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.

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