Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

September 21, 2005 13:55 ET

Agricultural Funding Creates New Opportunities in Newfoundland and Labrador

ST. JOHN'S, NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR--(CCNMatthews - Sept. 21, 2005) - Working with new programs under the Agricultural Policy Framework (APF), the province's agriculture and agri-food industry is transforming itself for the future, Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Andy Mitchell and Natural Resources Minister Ed Byrne said today.

Meeting in St. John's to review mid-term progress under the five-year national plan for agriculture, the ministers said more than $14 million in federal and provincial funding has been invested in Newfoundland and Labrador to date on programs and projects to bring more stability to the industry and support new approaches to the business of agriculture.

"The industry here in Newfoundland and Labrador is responding to marketplace demand for innovation and new levels of service," said Minister Mitchell. "These investments are creating new opportunities to increase profitability in the industry and address the priorities of health, safety and the environment that are so important to consumers."

Under the APF agreement, more than $32 million in federal and provincial funding is available for programs and projects in Newfoundland and Labrador to help the provincial agriculture and agri-food industry contribute to the national objective of making Canada the world leader in food safety and quality, innovation and environmentally sustainable production.

"The continued growth of the agriculture and agri-food sector is a bright spot in this province's economy," said Minister Byrne. "The strategic investments under APF have given this industry opportunities to develop and diversity. As a result, the rural-based agriculture and agri-food sector will continue to expand as a sustainable industry and create jobs in the province."



Among the changes in the industry under the APF to date:
- 240 per cent increase in the number of farms with environmental
farm plans;
- new yogurt processing plant in Stephenville;
- over 1,000 acres of new farmland for crop rotation, reducing
environmental pressures and increasing industry diversification;
- doubling of feed corn acreage to support the province's growing
dairy sector;
- 30-fold increase in growth in fur industry;
- first commercially grown crop of lingonberries and expansion of
blueberry and cranberry production to meet growing demand.


Two new programs developed under APF to help farmers deal with income and crop losses, the Canadian Agricultural Income Stabilization Program and Production Insurance, have so far made payments of more than $660,000 in the province.

"In an industry that brings its share of risks and uncertainty due to diseases, weather and market fluctuations, the APF has provided a structured approach to stabilizing farmers' incomes," said Merv Wiseman, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Agriculture. "At the same time, the APF is creating new opportunities to develop the potential that exists in the Newfoundland and Labrador agriculture industry."

There are 643 registered farms and some 100 food processors operating in Newfoundland and Labrador. The agriculture industry employs 6,200 people with total sales of $500 million a year. Farm cash receipts for 2004 were $85.3 million.

Backgrounder

APF Highlights in Newfoundland and Labrador

The Government of Canada and the provincial and territorial governments are working together with Canadian producers to build a stronger agriculture and agri-food industry through the Agricultural Policy Framework (APF). The APF is a national plan to make Canada the world leader in food safety and quality, environmentally responsible production, and innovation.

On May 12, 2003, Newfoundland and Labrador became the first province to sign an agreement with the Government of Canada to implement the APF. Since then, the APF has delivered nearly $14 million in federal and provincial funding to bring greater stability and growth to the sector. Among the developments that have been supported by the APF:



- Feed corn acreage has more than doubled in the last two years to
over 2,000 acres, moving towards a target of 5,000 acres that would
help the province to become more self-sufficient in dairy feed
production. The expansion comes as Newfoundland and Labrador's
dairy industry is increasing production. Further research is
underway to identify high-protein crops suitable for production in
the province.

- The number of farmers with environmental farm plans has increased
by 240 per cent in two years. More than 170 farms now have the
plans.

- Over $450,000 has been invested to date in 22 projects to help
sectors meet higher food quality and safety standards, including
on-going training and workshops to help producers develop on-farm
food safety programs.

- Since opening last January, Wholesome Dairy Limited in Stephenville
has distributed its Good NaturedTM yogurt line in supermarkets
across the province, creating jobs and increasing demand for milk
produced in the province.

- Natural Newfoundland Nutraceuticals Inc., a new venture launched by
Rodrigues Winery in Whitbourne, is using specialized extraction and
drying equipment to remove juices and other compounds from local
fruit and berries for use in healthy fruit drinks and
nutraceuticals.

- New technology and breeding stock from Denmark are helping to re
establish the province as an exporter in global fur markets. This
year, the industry is expected to generate $3.4 million in mink
sales and another $500,000 in fox sales.

- An investment to date of $980,000 in projects and programming to
help farmers develop business plans to expand and diversify their
operations, prepare farm succession plans and to bring new entrants
into the Newfoundland and Labrador agriculture and agri-food
industry.

- Large-scale commercial production of lingonberries could be just
around the corner with field testing of a new Swedish variety at
five farms across Newfoundland and Labrador this year. The goal is
to identify a variety that can produce between 10,000 and 12,000
pounds per acre. That would help meet the growing demand for fresh
and processed berries.

- A piece of blueberry processing equipment known as a belt-tunnel
freezer is allowing a Bay Roberts blueberry processor to do its own
further processing for the export market, rather than sending the
berries to Quebec for final cleaning and sizing for shipping.
Harbour International expects the technology will boost exports to
Europe and Japan.


More information on the APF is available at www.agr.gc.ca and www.gov.nl.ca/agric/apf.

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Media Relations
    (613)759-7972
    1-866-345-7972
    or
    Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
    Matt Tolley
    (613) 759-1059
    or
    Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
    Department of Natural Resources
    Carmel Turpin
    Communications
    (709) 729-5282 or (709) 685-4624
    or
    Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, St. John's
    Brian Goldsworthy
    (709) 772-4055