October 31, 2023 By Government of British Columbia
New and small-scale farmers in British Columbia will be able to grow their businesses and help strengthen food security in their communities with the launch of the New Entrant Farm Business Accelerator Program.
“Young farmers are the future of Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sectors, and it’s important that we support them,” said Lawrence MacAulay, federal minister of agriculture and agri-food. “Investments through this program will provide more farmers in British Columbia with the tools they need to succeed and contribute to a strong, local food supply.”
Farmers can apply for the first phase of the program, which provides support for business planning and a growth strategy. The second phase will support the implementation of that growth strategy and includes funding for on-farm infrastructure and equipment, such as greenhouses, tractors and irrigation systems.
“We recognize the barriers that new and young farmers face, which is why this program is so important for growing farm businesses and helping B.C. entrepreneurs flourish,” said Pam Alexis, B.C. minister of agriculture and food. “With this support, farmers can map out their future and then purchase what they need to succeed as a business, while also strengthening the economy and food supply in their communities.”
The new program is an update to the Small Farm Business Acceleration Pilot Program launched in 2020 as part of the province’s COVID-19 Stronger B.C. economic recovery plan. It supported more than 60 farmers. The updated program builds on the success of the pilot and provides support to farmers so they can grow diverse farm businesses throughout B.C.
The pilot program supported operations such as Puzzlegrass Farm in the Naramata region, owned and operated by first-generation farmers Erin Abercrombie and Madison Whale. The women operate a community-supported agriculture program from the farm. They received support to help buy materials to build a small farm-store outlet, a shed and a seedling greenhouse to increase vegetable production.
New orchardists Trent Mason and Emily Chambers, who own Blue Canoe Orchards in Creston, also received funding from the pilot program to purchase a tractor. This helped them increase sales and productivity from their orchard with almost 900 cherry trees.
Applications for the first phase of the program will be accepted Oct. 31 until Nov. 30, or until funds are fully allocated. Applicants who complete Phase 1 are eligible to apply for Phase 2 funding.
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