Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

June 16, 2005 11:52 ET

AAFC: Canadian Agricultural Skills Service Program Introduced Under the Agricultural Policy Framework

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - June 16, 2005) - Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Andy Mitchell and Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food Minister Mark Wartman today announced a new program designed to help farmers and their spouses increase their family income through improved farm practices or through increased off-farm income.

Saskatchewan is receiving $21.96 million under the Canadian Agricultural Skills Service (CASS) program aimed at improving the on-farm operation through training. Specifically, CASS provides financial assistance to help participants develop learning plans and access training in areas such as business management, accrual accounting, finance, human resource management; or training to acquire skills for starting a new business.

"Our governments are committed to repositioning the industry so that it can achieve profitability. By helping our farmers and their spouses increase their family income, we are recognizing the role our producers play in maintaining our worldwide reputation as a strong and healthy agricultural supplier," said Minister Mitchell.

"Modern farms with diverse crop and livestock enterprises have become highly complex business operations requiring a broad range of skills to manage," Wartman said. "While other Renewal programs assess farm business plans and new opportunities, this program provides an opportunity for producers to develop individual learning plans and financial support to attain these necessary skills."

Financial support is provided for training, books, tuition, course materials, and if needed, costs beyond books and materials for eligible clients with an approved Individual Learning Plan (ILP) who are pursuing new skills to capture new opportunities.

Producers may obtain more details about Renewal programs by calling Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at 1-866-452-5558 or by visiting www.agr.gc.ca/renewal.

Producers can also contact their local provincial Renewal specialist through the Saskatchewan Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-867-457-2377.

CANADIAN AGRICULTURAL SKILLS SERVICE (CASS)

Backgrounder

The purpose of the $21.96 million CASS program is to help farmers and their spouses increase their family income through improved farm practices or through increased off-farm income.

Benefits:

An assessment and an Individual Learning Plan (ILP), valued at $2,000, will be developed for all eligible participants.



Training course tuition and related costs will be reimbursed as
follows:

- Family income(i) less than $35,000 - eligible for benefits up to
$16,000;
- Family income(i) $35,000 to $40,000 - eligible for benefits up to
$12,000;
- Family income(i) $40,000 to $45,000 - eligible for benefits up to
$8,000.
(i)Family income based on a three-year average


Eligible costs include:
- support for formal (curriculum-based) and non-certificate and
non-diploma training, excluding university degree programs.
Eligible costs could include costs of taking mechanics courses,
welding, non-degree courses, general educational development and
academic upgrading, and workshop/field day fees.

- support for related costs such as dependant care, travel costs
and other allowances while on travel status;

- costs associated with skills and learning activities such as
tuition and textbooks.


Eligibility:

Farm families with a net family income of $45,000 or less are elig ible to apply for the CASS program.

Beginning farmers, regardless of family income, will receive a skills assessment and an ILP. A beginning farmer is someone who plans to establish a farm, or who already owns or has operated a farm for at least six years, and can demonstrate the operation will generate annual farm sales of $10,000 or more.

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa
    Media Relations
    (613) 759-7972 or (866) 345-7972
    or
    Minister's Office, Ottawa
    Elizabeth Whiting
    Press Secretary
    (613) 759-1059
    or
    Saskatchewan Agriculture,
    Food and Rural Revitalization, Regina
    Scott Brown, Communications
    (306) 787-4031