No spilled milk here: Alberta Milk helps newcomers to dairy industry
The province’s NEAP program now accepting applications
By Kate Ayers
Alberta Milk’s New Entrant Assistant Program (NEAP) is accepting applications until Mar. 31, 2018.
NEAP helps producers enter the industry by alleviating some of the costs associated with starting a dairy farm. Successful applicants are offered a quota loan at no cost, according to an Alberta Milk release on Jan. 5.
“It’s a program that assists interested parties getting into the dairy industry. … You need a lot of capital to be a successful agricultural entrepreneur. And this is the dairy industry’s way of supporting new entrants into our industry,” Tom Kootstra, Alberta Milk’s chairman, said to Farms.com today.
“As we look forward, having programs that support new entrants assures the sustainability of our industry,” Kootstra said in the release.
To be eligible for the program, an applicant must submit a two-year business plan, a 10-year implementation plan, a risk mitigation plan, and a signed, conditional approval letter from his or her financial institution for the farm’s financing.
The program provides 2 kg of loaned quota at no cost for every 1 kg bought, up to a maximum of 25 kg/day. The upper limit allows an additional 18 to 25 cows be milked, according to the release.
While enrolled in the program, entrants can expand up to 100 kg/day of quota, translating to about 71 to 100 cows.
The quota loan expires gradually, beginning in the eleventh year of operation. And the loan decreases at a rate of 10 per cent per year, going to zero at the end of year 19.
The program has supported 17 new dairy farms in the province since its inception in 2011. This year, up to three applicants will be accepted into the program.
NEAP guidelines and application forms can be found here. For more information, producers can refer to albertamilk.com or call Jonathan at 1-877-361-1231.
Updated Jan. 17, 2018
Photo Credit: SimplyCreativePhotography