September 16, 2020, OWEN SOUND – Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker is pleased the government is helping farmers improve their business operations and bring more safe, high-quality foods to various markets.
Walker thanked and congratulated Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Ernie Hardeman, on a recent announcement to commit more than $7.9 million in cost-share funding through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership) to eligible farmers and other agri-food businesses.
Included among the more than 670 projects are 30 projects in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound. These local projects will see investments of up to $300,532.77.
“The funding for these projects is extremely important for our local farmers as they continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Walker. “I want to thank Minister Hardeman for his support for our agricultural community. This investment will be a huge boost for farmers in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound.”
“Our farmers work tirelessly to supply the array of safe, high-quality agricultural products that feed our province, our country and the world,” said the Honourable Ernie Hardeman, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “By making these strategic investments we are helping to improve the competitiveness of our agri-food sector and secure it for long-term sustainability, especially during these difficult times.”
Through the Partnership, these initiatives will support improvements in areas such as enhanced traceability systems, upgraded animal-handling equipment, and strengthened biosecurity measures.
Examples of projects supported through this programming include:
· Improving food safety systems on farms to meet or exceed international certification standards;
· Planting over-wintering cover crops to improve soil health and reduce soil erosion losses;
· Actions to help prevent pest damage at greenhouse operations;
· Developing a product that will open new sales markets for a farm business; and
· Upgrades to animal-handling equipment and improved biosecurity measures.
The funding is in addition to programming launched this year to assist the sector in meeting challenges related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Such programming includes the launch of a portal to connect farms and other agri-food sector business with labour needs to job seekers; the creation of the Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program; and the recent investment of an additional $50 million into the Risk Management Program for this year, one year earlier than originally promised.
Since June 2018, both the federal and provincial governments have committed cost-share support to more than 2,500 projects through the Partnership to help eligible Ontario farmers, processors, businesses and sector organizations innovate and grow.