CAP to fund Alta. ag businesses

More than $90 million through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership has been announced to help Alberta businesses expand food exports and promote agriculture through five different programs.

In Alberta, the partnership commits a federal-provincial investment of $406 million over five years toward strategic programs and services that are aligned to national objectives and tailored to priorities in Alberta.

“These programs have been designed to support the industry and knowledge of Alberta agriculture and food systems and processes,” said Oneil Carlier, Alberta Agriculture minister.

“I am comfortable with the funds that are going to be available because in the past it was very successful,” he said at a news conference during the Calgary Stampede July 13.

The Alberta partnership offers $72 million in the products, market growth and diversification program to help small-, medium- and large-sized enterprises in the agriculture, food, beverage and bio-product processing industries develop and commercialize new products and processes.

“Last year we broke records for farm cash receipts and we broke records on what we were able to export. Farming is currently a pretty good business,” he said.

The public trust section has earmarked $19 million for agriculture education and communication about food production and sustainability, as well as funds for agriculture and food sustainability certification or assurance initiatives.

In addition, money is offered for youth education like agriculture in the classroom and about 30 different green certificate programs.

“As a government, we are looking at the curriculum. We have had roundtable discussion with the industry to see what more we can do to get agriculture in the classroom not just for rural kids but urban kids,” he said.

“Ag literacy in our rural areas is pretty good. In talking with people in our urban centres, I think we could do better about the good work we are doing,” he said.

These programs are part of a suite of 15 programs to be offered under the Partnership in Alberta and will be unveiled throughout the year. Six more programs covering risk management and science and research will be announced next.

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