June 22, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - The provincial government is investing $1.7 million in programs that will help the agriculture and agri-food sector be innovative, competitive and sustainable.
The funding, announced today by Agriculture and Aquaculture Minister Ronald Ouellette, will support a variety of strategic initiatives that are part of the government's self-sufficiency strategy.
"We are pleased to fund programs through the Strategic Agriculture Initiatives that enable the agriculture and agri-food sector to make improvements consistent with the priorities identified by industry," said Ouellette. "Investing in agriculture will ensure the long-term viability of the industry, allowing it to contribute to our objective of achieving self-sufficiency for New Brunswick."
This is the third consecutive year that the provincial government has identified the Strategic Agriculture Initiatives program as a funding priority. It is estimated that the $1.7-million contribution could generate $5 million to $6 million in total investments.
The initiatives will provide investment capital to agricultural producers in the areas of land development, livestock genetic enhancement, organic industry development, apple industry development, export market development, and honeybee expansion.
The agriculture and agri-food industry in New Brunswick accounts for close to $450 million in farm cash receipts and more than $1 billion in agri-food and beverage products, providing direct employment to more than 13,000 New Brunswickers.
Information on these initiatives may be obtained at Department of Agriculture and Aquaculture offices or by going online and clicking on Strategic Agriculture Initiatives 2009.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Following is a backgrounder outlining the details of the 2009 Strategic Agriculture Initiatives. MEDIA CONTACT: Paul Harpelle communications, Department of Agriculture and Aquaculture, 506-444-4218.
Strategic Agriculture Initiatives 2009
Livestock Genetic Enhancement Initiative:
The objective is to foster the continued improvement of the genetic base of the New Brunswick livestock sectors through the purchase or retention of genetically superior animals. The continued introduction of genetically superior animals will ensure that producers can produce the highest-quality livestock products consistently and competitively, thereby enabling them to adapt to and take advantage of new production and marketing opportunities. This initiative is composed of six genetic enhancement and expansion elements for the beef, swine, sheep, goat, mink and farmed fox sectors.
The initiative will provide financial assistance to producers to bring land into production that will support more sustainable crop rotations, increase the land base available for the production of crops, and increase their self-sufficiency in the production of livestock feed crops.
Market development initiative for export opportunities:
This initiative has been developed in consultation with agricultural producers, shippers and exporters to support and revitalize the development and expansion of export markets for New Brunswick primary agriculture products. Activities that contribute to the long-term sustainability of agriculture export markets will be given preference. The three key elements of the initiative are market development and expansion; market promotion; and product evaluation, training and technology transfer.
Apple Development Initiative:
This initiative will provide assistance for the establishment of new and more productive orchard systems, apple varieties and rootstocks. It will also help with the adoption of new technologies that will improve post-harvest apple storage systems and improve on-farm food safety and quality assurance. This support will facilitate the installation of more productive orchard systems that will generate higher yields and higher market returns, while helping producers with the purchase of equipment required to maintain optimum fruit quality until it apple supplies are delivered to the consumer.
Organic Development Initiative:
The objective is to support established organic operations and individuals, and agri-businesses in transition to organic production or considering establishing commercial-scale organic production and / or organic value-added activities, as well as to support and augment the organic certification system.
Honeybee Expansion Initiative:
This initiative is designed to help New Brunswick beekeepers expand their operations through the purchase of colonies, nuclei colonies and /or provision of financial incentives to encourage splitting of existing strong colonies. This will help the industry expand colony numbers and work toward self-sufficiency for blueberry pollination in New Brunswick.