Fisheries and Land Resources
January 30, 2019
Minister Talks Future, Partnerships and Getting the Job Done at Federation of Agriculture AGM
The Honourable Gerry Byrne, Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources, met with members of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Agriculture in Gander this morning to talk about engagement – specifically how the department is working with farmers and producers to continue growing the Newfoundland and Labrador agriculture sector.
Based on discussions with people involved in the industry, Minister Byrne explained how the department has enhanced its Agriculture Sector Work Plan to better meet the needs of farmers and producers.
In 2018, the department introduced a Vegetable Transplant Program to increase crop diversity and production. More than 250,000 onion, kohlrabi, brussels sprout, kale and leek transplants produced at the Centre for Agriculture and Forestry Development were distributed to 25 commercial vegetable producers throughout the province.
Producers indicated their overall satisfaction with the program, including the quality of transplants provided. Based on their response, the department has added broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and rutabaga (turnip) to the list of available transplants in 2019.
During a morning address at the Federation of Agriculture’s Annual General Meeting, Minister Byrne announced the successful proponent for a land development project in the Town of Cormack. In December 2018, new and existing farmers in need of land to operate and develop an Agricultural Crown Land lease for commercial fruit and vegetable production were encouraged to apply.
Angela Richardson and Michael Alexander will lease approximately 19.9 acres on Pine Avenue with 15.7 acres rough cleared for agriculture development. The proponent is responsible for further land enhancement where required.
One year ago, a large-scale land development pilot project was announced for Reidville. The successful proponents secured 71.66 acres on Rocky Brook Road which they are currently developing.
Federation members were also updated on initiatives to continue building the agriculture industry:
- An Agricultural Technician Program was launched in September with College of the North Atlantic to provide a skilled workforce for the agriculture sector and as an entry point for new farmers.
- The Canadian Agricultural Partnership has committed $6.7 million for 122 projects in Newfoundland and Labrador; 29 new entrants were approved with a commitment total of $1.40 million.
- The Provincial Agrifoods Assistance Program has committed $2.75 million under two streams: land development and agriculture infrastructure. Under land development, 63 projects have been approved. Under agriculture infrastructure 48 projects have been approved.
- The Provincial Government is protecting and safeguarding 64,000 hectares as Agriculture Areas of Interest for agricultural use making valuable farm land available to farmers and new entrants.
These initiatives advance the Provincial Government’s plans to develop a stronger economic foundation and increase food self-sufficiency by at least 20 per cent by 2022, as outlined in The Way Forward.
Support for agriculture also delivers on commitments in The Way Forward to strengthen the economy and deliver better services and better outcomes for residents. The Way Forward outlines all actions the Provincial Government is taking to achieve a strong, diversified province with a high standard of living, and can be viewed at thewayforward.gov.nl.ca.
“Our government views traditional industries as being a catalyst for even greater economic activity whereas the previous administration lost sight of their importance. We see growth in the agriculture industry as driving new business opportunities, creating new jobs and improving food security. In 2019 we will continue to partner with farmers, producers, industry and stakeholders to further develop and grow programs that will advance the agriculture industry.”
Honourable Gerry Byrne
Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources
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Fisheries and Land Resources
2019 01 30 9:45 a.m.