Prince Edward Island is the fifth province to sign up for its share of the federal/provincial funds on the table in the second incarnation of the Growing Forward ag policy funding framework.
The provincial and federal governments announced their finalized agreement Friday, which gives the province a budget of $37 million in combined federal and provincial funds, out of $2 billion pledged by Ottawa and all participating provinces and territories, for "GF2" programs apart from its business risk management (BRM) suite.
"Under the renewed agreement we are increasing investments in innovation, competitiveness, and market development to generate strong economic growth in agriculture on Prince Edward Island," provincial Ag Minister George Webster said in a joint release.
"We are working closely with the agriculture and the agri-food community to increase market returns for farmers and add value to Island products."
The governments said P.E.I.'s $37 million represents an increase of over 50 per cent in cost-shared funds for non-BRM programs and is expected to support a "greater focus" on three key areas: innovation, competitiveness/market development and adaptability/industry capacity.
"Innovation" programs, the governments said, will include an Agriculture Research and Innovation Program backing short-term applied research; the Environmental Farm Program (EFP) program; and Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS).
"Competitiveness and Market Development," meanwhile, covers the Strategic Industry Growth Initiative, Product and Market Development Program, Assurance Systems Program (an industry program to support food safety, biosecurity, traceability, animal welfare and emergency management projects), Organic Industry Development Program (to back adoption of certified organic production and processing) and Agriculture Livestock Enhancement Program (supporting genetic enhancement, herd health improvement and feed efficiency).
"Adaptability/Industry Capacity" features the Business Development Program (skills training, business practice assessment, business planning assistance), the Future Farmer Program (to attract new farmers to the industry and provide coaching, skills training and business planning), and support for the province's 4-H program.
The GF2 framework also pledges $1 billion in federal-only funding for its new AgriInnovation, AgriMarketing and AgriCompetitiveness programs, and commits the federal and provincial governments to fund BRM programs such as AgriStability and AgriInvest, "to ensure farmers are protected against severe market volatility and natural disasters."
British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario have signed their GF2 agreements in recent weeks. Manitoba provincial and federal officials have scheduled their GF2 announcement for Monday morning in Winnipeg.