Growing Forward 2 Agricultural Programs Launched in Alberta

March 25, 2013

 

Leduc, Alberta – Today, Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Verlyn Olson announced the signing of the Canada-Alberta Growing Forward 2 Agreement.

 

“Our Government is focused on the priorities of Canadians – jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity. This agreement is important milestone in our continued efforts to deliver effective programs that farmers need to compete in global markets, while positioning Canada as a strong leader in agriculture,” said Minister Ritz. “We will continue to work together to ensure that targeted investments in priority areas benefit the entire sector through increased productivity, jobs and economic growth.”

 

Alberta’s farmers and the agri-food sector will benefit from a $406 million investment provided through more than 30 new or enhanced programs focused on priority areas like international market development, food safety, agri-business innovation, research and environmental management.

 

This funding is part of the $3 billion Growing Forward 2 initiative announced in 2012 and highlighted in Canada’s Economic Action Plan 2013. The five-year agreement with provincial and territorial governments supports innovation, competitiveness and market development in agriculture.

 

“As the province’s largest renewable resource industry, agriculture holds tremendous potential,” said Minister Olson. “Through Growing Forward 2, we are providing our producers and entrepreneurs with the tools they need to build their business and further diversify Alberta’s economy.”

 

Growing Forward 2 focuses on the future prosperity of the sector, with a more than 50 per cent increase in cost-shared investment in strategic initiatives and programs to strengthen the long-term sustainability and competitiveness of Canadian agriculture.

 

For more information about Growing Forward 2, visit www.agr.gc.ca/GrowingForward2. Starting April 2, producers and others involved in Alberta’s agriculture industry can explore the programs and determine their eligibility at www.growingforward.alberta.ca.

 

About Growing Forward 2

Growing Forward 2 (GF2) is a five-year framework for Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector that takes effect April 1, 2013 and will assist in strengthening the sector’s capacity to grow and prosper. It provides funding to deliver federal-provincial-territorial programs in a variety of areas including innovation, strategic initiatives and business risk management. GF2 builds on the success of Growing Forward, a five-year agreement expiring March 31, 2013.

 

Federal-provincial cost-shared funding details

GF2 will invest in research, international market development and investment attraction, environmental stewardship, livestock welfare, farm safety, business management and skill development, traceability, food safety and biosecurity. Alberta producers provided input about where the money should be allocated to continue to build a strong and sustainable industry.

 

Success of Growing Forward

Growing Forward funding has helped build the knowledge, skillsets, long-term viability and profitability of Alberta’s agri-food sector. Over the past five years, Growing Forward has allowed Alberta producers to increase capacity by purchasing equipment, commercializing products, expanding markets and investing in technological advancements like tracking livestock via smartphone technology.

 

Alberta’s Growing Forward 2 Focus

In addition to enhancing successful Growing Forward programs, GF2 introduces eight new programs and initiatives including:

 
  • Research opportunity and innovation initiatives to more effectively apply research findings in industry
  • International market development and investment attraction initiatives to facilitate export market readiness
  • Confined feeding operation stewardship program to ensure plans are developed to limit risk to water sources
  • Agricultural watershed enhancement program to encourage wetland restoration and promote surface water quality
  • Regional water supply program to access and develop water supplies for producers
  • Plant health and biosecurity program to ensure proper risk management strategies are in place
  • Pest surveillance initiatives to develop tools or smartphone apps for timely identification and response to pests
  • Livestock welfare producer program to provide education and improvement of animal care practices
 

Business Risk Management (BRM)

In addition to the $406 million investment in strategic programs and initiatives, GF2 continues to provide a variety of BRM options that are managed by Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC). BRM programs offer protection against severe market volatility like rising input costs as well as disasters like hail, drought and disease.

 

Producers can apply for BRM programs through their local AFSC office. Other program applications will be available online at www.growingforward.alberta.ca.

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