SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwired - April 13, 2013) - Today, at the Agriculture in the City event in Saskatoon, Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart announced the new Agriculture Awareness Initiative as part of the Growing Forward 2 framework of programming.
"Now that Growing Forward 2 is officially off the ground in Saskatchewan, we're excited about the new programs that are going to be rolling out," Ritz said. "Saskatchewan is a huge contributor to Canada's agricultural exports and we want Canadians to learn more about and be proud of this important driver of our economy."
"We are a world leader in agriculture and it is important for the public to understand how important the industry is in Saskatchewan," Stewart said. "Agriculture is a significant contributor to our economy, environment, and the overall health and quality of life we all enjoy in this province. This new initiative will help producers and the industry tell the story of modern agriculture and its benefits."
Saskatchewan is home to nearly half of Canada's arable farm land, 30 per cent of Canada's agriculture biotech industry, and the second largest beef cattle herd in the country. In addition, in 2012 Saskatchewan remained Canada's top agri-food exporting province, with more than $11 billion worth of agri-food exports, which accounts for more than one-third of all provincial exports.
The Agriculture Awareness Initiative will provide funding to producers, commodity organizations, agribusinesses and agencies to develop and implement agriculture awareness and education activities. Eligible projects include:
- providing information documents, training and education campaigns;
- planning, organizing or hosting summits, workshops and conferences;
- recruiting and training industry spokespersons; and
- developing manuals, videos, websites, educational materials, displays, publications and other awareness resources.
The Agriculture Awareness Initiative will reimburse up to 50 per cent of a project's eligible expenses. Each applicant will be eligible for funding of up to $25,000 per project to a maximum of $50,000 per applicant, per year.
In addition to the new Agriculture Awareness Initiative, the provincial government has made agriculture awareness a priority by being the first provincial government to sign on to the Agriculture More Than Ever initiative and hosting the Agriculture Awareness Summit in February.
"As farmers we are dedicated to producing safe, healthy food, while also respecting and caring for the land and environment," said Morgan Nunweiler, Chairman of Saskatchewan Pulse Growers' Board of Directors. "It is important for the general public to understand where their food comes from. The Agriculture Awareness Initiative will help the industry share the true story of agriculture and contribute to a sustainable future."
Application forms and details are available online at www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/growingforward2.