The Canada-Newfoundland Growing Forward Bilateral Agreement was signed in June 2009, funding 176 projects and providing more than $5.48 million to the agriculture sector in Newfoundland and Labrador during the past year.
As a result, producers in the province now have more land for increased production, more innovative and efficient equipment for farming and enhanced environmental and food safety practices.
According to a news release, agriculture programs under Growing Forward respond to the needs of producers and build on an industry that is an important contributor to the Newfoundland and Labrador economy and rural areas of the province. In Newfoundland and Labrador, the Growing Forward Bilateral Agreement will see the provincial government invest $11.83 million and the federal government invest $17.75 million over five years.
"The Government of Canada is working with farmers to ensure Canada's agriculture industry remains competitive," said federal Minister of Agriculture Gerry Ritz. "Whether you are talking about fields, equipment, food safety, or the environment, our government, in partnership with the province is putting farmers first and making smart investments to strengthen agriculture in Newfoundland and Labrador."
The federal and provincial governments worked directly with industry to develop the Growing Forward framework, tailoring programs to meet Newfoundland and Labrador's diverse regional requirements. In 2009-10 Growing Forward programs funded activities such as innovative ways to prevent wildlife damage to vegetable crops, business plan development, land development, including specialized equipment, improvements to livestock housing and improved beneficial management practices.
Funding was also approved to enable farmers to take advantage of training opportunities such as specialized courses, workshops and conference attendance. Other investments were made to investigate technologies not currently being utilized in Newfoundland and Labrador.
"As we head into the next year of Growing Forward, the Newfoundland and Labrador agriculture and agrifoods industry continues to benefit from all levels of government working together to deliver programs that work for farmers," said Kathy Dunderdale, Minister of Natural Resources and Minister Responsible for the Forestry and Agrifoods Agency.
"Our government's investment in Growing Forward continues to build a profitable and competitive industry by supporting initiatives that will help farm businesses better manage risk, encourage innovation and enhance environmental stewardship and food safety."
The Newfoundland and Labrador agriculture and agrifoods industry consists of 558 farms and over 100 food and beverage manufacturers. The Growing Forward Bilateral Agreement signed by provincial and federal governments in 2009 allocates $29.58 million to the Newfoundland and Labrador agriculture and agrifoods industry over a five-year period. Funding provided by the agreement for 2010-11 is $7 million.
"Growing Forward funding is helping our members avail of opportunities that might not otherwise be accessible and that, in turn, are having a positive impact on the entire agriculture industry," said Eugene Legge, President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Agriculture. "Knowing the program will continue over the next three years helps our members with long-term planning and continuity. We are very excited this partnership is working for the benefit of everyone involved."