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P.E.I. signs onto ag policy framework

The Prince Edward Island and federal governments have co-signed their agreement on the specifics of funding for P.E.I. farmers available through the new Growing Foward ag policy framework.

Growing Forward is the national framework to co-ordinate federal and provincial agriculture policy, replacing the five-year Agriculture Policy Framework (2003-08) developed under the Chretien government.

Of the $1.3 billion in federal and provincial funding available to farmers across the country, P.E.I. will see $24.6 million to fund ag programming, apart from business risk management (BRM) programs, over five years. That figure includes about $14.7 million in federal funds.

“These agreements support the new and ongoing initiatives we are taking on behalf of the agriculture industry in this province,” provincial Ag Minister George Webster said in a release Friday.

“Growing Forward delivers stable and bankable programs that work for farmers,” federal Ag Minister Gerry Ritz said in the same release. “The agreements we signed will kick-start the rollout of these essential programs in Prince Edward Island.”

Non-BRM programming that the province expects to launch and/or support with Growing Forward funding will include:

  • Alternate Land Use Services (ALUS), a voluntary environmental program focused on farmers’ “ecological goods and services,” the term used to describe the benefits to society from farmers’ work on healthy ecosystems;
  • the Future Farmer Program, to “promote the entry of new farmers to the industry and improve the probability of new entrants establishing profitable and sustainable farm businesses;”
  • the Agriculture Innovation Program, supporting “innovative projects that will yield positive economic benefits within the P.E.I. agricultural industry;”
  • the Agriculture Research Fund, backing short-term applied research for the benefit of the province’s ag industry;
  • business development programs, such as skills training, business practices assessment and business planning assistance;
  • the Organic Industry Development Program, intended to “accelerate the adoption of certified organic production and processing technology; encourage strategic growth and market development; and implement competitive weed and pest management practices;”
  • financial incentives for on-farm food safety system implementation;
  • support for Environmental Farm Programs (EFPs), in which farmers evaluate environmental risks and strengths on their operations and develop plans to address them;
  • the Canada-P.E.I. Stewardship Program, offering financial and technical support to “help protect the quality of soil, water, air and biodiversity resources;” and
  • 4-H programming for rural youth.

A separate new suite of business risk management (BRM) programs under Growing Forward, such as AgriStability, AgriRecovery and AgriInvest, was announced in April 2008 to replace the previous APF’s Canadian Agricultural Income Stabilization (CAIS) program.

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