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Canadian Government Announces Investment for Next Generation of Farmers

Two Initiatives Receive Funding to Identify Barriers and Leadership Opportunities for New Entrant Farmers

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The Canadian Government gave a boost to the next generation of farmers at the 2012 Ontario Young Farmers Forum held in Toronto on Monday. The government is investing in two initiatives - one seeks to identify opportunities and enhance gaps in agricultural leadership programming, while the other project attempts to identify the barriers facing new entrant farmers in the province of Ontario.

The funding announcement was made by Member of Parliament Mark Adler (York Centre) on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz.

“Our Government’s top priority remains the economy, and Canada’s agriculture industry plays an important role in creating jobs and keeping our economy strong,” said MP Adler. “We are committed to providing new and young farmers with the educational and leadership development opportunities they need to give them a competitive advantage for the future.”

The first initiative was given $202,000 to the Rural Ontario Institute (ROI) to conduct a study into the current and past agriculture leadership programs and examine the gaps in the programs and propose some solutions to enhance current leadership program offerings. This initiative will build upon existing leadership offerings such as the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program (AALP). The in-depth assessment will provide a framework for developing a strategy that will help guide future agriculture leadership programing in Ontario.

The second initiative received an investment of $53,500 to examine and identify some of the key barriers facing new entrant farmers in Ontario.  The funding was given to the Junior Farmers Association of Ontario (JFAO). The investment will not only help identify some of the issued facing new farmers, but also assess some of the opportunities that exist for this target demographic. The project is comprised of steering committees who are providing guidance for this study. The committee representatives are from Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario, FarmStart, TD Canada Trust, Bank of Montreal, and 4-H Ontario. The funding is through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP).

"This investment has allowed the JFAO the ability to reach out to new farm entrants and understand the challenges and opportunities they face," says Sarah McLaren, President of the JFAO. "New entrants will benefit from the support of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada by creating a roadmap for the future of the next generation of farm entrepreneurs."