May 25, 2010
FREDERICTON (CNB) - The provincial government is investing an additional $1 million under two initiatives to support land development and enhancement of livestock genetics.
Agriculture and Aquaculture Minister Ronald Ouellette announced the funding today.
"I am proud of our government's continued commitment to agriculture producers across the province," said Ouellette. "Our investment in various programs and initiatives has allowed producers to adapt and take advantage of new production and market opportunities."
Part of the new money will be invested in the New Brunswick Agri-Land Development Initiative, which provides assistance for activities such as land clearing, consolidation and leveling. This helps producers increase the land base for crops, allows for more sustainable crop rotation and helps the livestock sector to produce their feed crops.
"Demand under this initiative has been high," said Ouellette. "Almost $1.4 million has been invested resulting in more than 2104 ha (5,200 acres) being developed or improved for potatoes, blueberries, horticulture and livestock feed production."
Over the past three years, almost 300 projects have been completed. The wild blueberry sector has been able to bring an additional 1457 ha (3,600 acres) into production which will result in more than $2 million in value. About 385 ha (950 acres) of potato land have been cleared or improved for crop rotation.
The rest of the new funding will be invested in the New Brunswick Livestock Genetic Enhancement Initiative, which provides assistance in support of attaining genetically superior breeding animals.
"Success under this initiative has been evident in the livestock industry," said Ouellette. "In the beef sector, this has resulted in the rejuvenation and stabilization of the beef breeding herd."
The initiative resulted in more than 3,500 breeding heifers being added or retained in provincial beef herds between April 1, 2007, and March 31, 2010.
This spring, for example, the initiative again helped beef producers conduct genetic evaluations and purchase top quality bulls at the breeding stock auction sale at the Maritime Beef Test Station.
"Since 1967, Nova Scotia has traditionally consigned 60 per cent of the bulls per year to the Maritime Beef Test Station; New Brunswick has consigned 30 per cent; while 10 per cent of bulls were from Prince Edward Island," said Bill Pryor, chair of the New Brunswick Cattle Producers. "This year, New Brunswick breeders consigned 43 per cent of the bulls. This shift can be attributed to the positive impact of this initiative, and we are extremely pleased that we can count on this support for another year."
Genetic improvement efforts have also proven successful with swine, sheep, goat, fox and mink farmers. Superior mink breeding stock has been imported from ranches in North America, allowing significant advances in pelt size and quality. This has resulted in greater profits, sometimes within one year.
This initiative helped fox farmers replace their breeding herds with younger and genetically superior breeders at a much quicker rate, accelerating the advancement of quality and size and boosting profits.
When these two initiatives are combined with other departmental efforts, more than $6.2 million of strategic assistance has been made available to the agriculture industry since 2007. When added to contributions by producers, the value of this investment is about $20 million.
This assistance is incremental to the programming already available through the Canada-New Brunswick Growing Forward agreement, where about $5 million is available per year in the areas of the environment, food safety, traceability, biosecurity, research and innovation, and business development. Assistance is also available through business risk management programs such as AgriStability, AgriInvest and AgriInsurance.
MEDIA CONTACT: Gisèle Regimbal, communications, Department of Agriculture and Aquaculture, 506-444-4218.