[LAWRENCETOWN, NS] – 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 have announced federal-provincial investments toward three initiatives designed to strengthen and diversify the province's farming sector.
"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," Ritz says.
"Across the province, our agricultural industry contributes to vibrant communities and economies, and produces quality food for all Canadians," MacDonell says. "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," says 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.