Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

August 09, 2012 14:33 ET

Governments Boost Farm Innovation and Profitability in Nova Scotia

LAWRENCETOWN, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwire - Aug. 9, 2012) - The Governments of Canada and Nova Scotia are making joint investments to improve farm profitability in Nova Scotia through agricultural innovation. Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture Minister John MacDonell announced today federal-provincial investments toward three initiatives designed to strengthen and diversify the province's farming sector.

"The Harper Government is committed to helping farmers find new markets, adapt to current economic challenges and to make their businesses more efficient to boost our economy today and for the long term," said Minister Ritz. "These Economic Action Plan investments will grow Nova Scotia's and the Atlantic region's agricultural innovation and increase their capacity for long-term prosperity."

"Across the province, our agricultural industry contributes to vibrant communities and economies, and produces quality food for all Canadians," said Nova Scotia's Agriculture Minister John MacDonell. "By investing in these projects, we are demonstrating our commitment to help the industry grow through innovative and sustainable practices."

With an investment of $1.3 million under the Growing New Opportunities through Integrated Value Chains Initiative, West Nova Agro-Commodities is setting up a small-scale grass pellet and briquette plant in Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia, owned by local farmers and landowners in Annapolis County. Serving as a template for similar innovative enterprises in other rural regions of the Atlantic, hay is to be sourced from local farmers, processed into grass pellets and briquettes at the new plant and then delivered to industrial, residential and retail consumers.

"This plant will source local hay, process it locally, and supply local markets," said Jonathan McClelland, Manager West Nova Agro-Commodities. "This initiative has the ability to create new markets for many small and medium-sized farms while providing an affordable heating fuel to customers without the volatility associated with petroleum-based fuels."

The two governments are also making an investment of $2.1 million for the establishment of the Atlantic Centre for Agricultural Innovation in Truro (now called the Perennia Innovation Centre) that helps farmers get new ideas off the ground through a range of programs and services, including business mentorship and coaching.

A third investment, the Collaborate to Compete Initiative, provides over $2.1 million to improve on and post-farm profitability by developing new specialty beef products that meet consumer needs.

These investments of over $5.5 million are being made from the Agricultural Flexibility Fund, part of the Economic Action Plan, which supports agriculture as a core economic driver and focuses on strengthening the sector's competitiveness. The Next Phase of the Economic Action Plan will remain focused on strengthening the economy, while working towards returning to balanced budgets and securing Canada's economic future.

For more information on Canada's Economic Action Plan, visit www.actionplan.gc.ca.

BACKGROUNDER

Canada-Nova Scotia Atlantic Centre for Agricultural Innovation Initiative

This initiative aims to enhance the innovative capacity of the whole agriculture/agri-food industry in Atlantic Canada by providing opportunities to develop value-added food, fibre, micro-nutrient, and bio-energy production. Once established, the Atlantic Centre for Agricultural Innovation (ACAI) will offer a comprehensive package of services and programs relevant to the needs of potential clients in the agri-business sector, including mentorship and business coaching, investment preparation and capital financing, and networking services, infrastructure and facilities.

Canada-Nova Scotia Collaborate to Compete Initiative

The initiative aims to build a competitive, sustainable, and profitable cattle industry in Nova Scotia by identifying, defining, and developing new specialty beef products for the Nova Scotia beef industry that will build on natural advantages (e.g., pastures). This initiative provides a framework for producers to work together over time on initiatives that will improve their competitiveness. The cornerstone of this initiative is that it focuses on building a new beef industry in Nova Scotia. It will rely on partnerships, alliances, and collaborations to compete in differentiated beef markets.

Canada-Nova Scotia Growing New Opportunities through Integrated Value Chains Initiative

The initiative aims to create an integrated value chain that capitalizes on the natural assets of Annapolis County, specifically, the establishment of a small-scale grass pellet and briquette plant owned by local farmers and landowners. Hay will be sourced from local farmers, processed into grass pellets and briquettes at the new plant and then delivered to industrial, residential and retail consumers. A key component of this chain is the approach of selling 'heat' as opposed to simply a source of heat energy.

Contact Information

  • Media Relations
    Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario
    613-773-7972
    1-866-345-7972

    Meagan Murdoch
    Director of Communications
    The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
    613-773-1059

    Adele Poirier
    Communications Advisor
    Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture
    902-424-8258
    poiriea@gov.ns.ca