June 25, 2008
FREDERICTON (CNB) - An investment of $650,000 is being made by the Province of New Brunswick to help agricultural producers bring new land into production, and improve the productivity of existing agricultural land. Agriculture and Aquaculture Minister Ronald Ouellette made the announcement today.
The funding is being made available under the New Brunswick Agri-Land Development Initiative to assist producers with activities such as land clearing, land consolidation and land levelling.
"This initiative will be of benefit to agriculture in New Brunswick by helping fulfil demands for the development of more agricultural land," Ouellette said. "It will assist in improving the sustainability and competitiveness of agriculture in the province, and increase the industry's ability to be an important player in our government's agenda for achieving self-sufficiency."
Specifically, the initiative will assist producers financially to bring into production land 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.
This year the initiative will also facilitate site assessments of land for cranberry production. This new component of the initiative will see the department strengthen support for this expanding sector as demand for cranberry production increases.
"Land development continues to be one of the top issues that farmers in New Brunswick consistently bring to my attention during my regular visits and meetings around the province," Ouellette said. "I'm very pleased to announce this more comprehensive version of the initiative as a follow-up to last year's initial component."
Close to $400,000 was distributed to producers for land development in the initiative's first year. In the wild blueberry sector alone it is expected that within five years the supported land-development projects will increase the province's total crop by three million additional pounds of berries per year, with a value of $2 - $3 million. As well, close to 96 hectares (240 acres) of potato land were cleared, levelled or improved for crop rotation, increasing the sustainable culture of potatoes.
Information on program applications and guidelines may be found on the Department of Agriculture and Aquaculture website.
MEDIA CONTACT: Alain Bryar, communications, Department of Agriculture and Aquaculture, 506-444-4218.