Nova Scotia announces support for agriculture sector dealing with COVID-19
By Fruit and Vegetable
Nova Scotian farmers, agri-business and agricultural industry associations, can apply for support amid COVID-19, including funding to establish recommended health protocols.
By Fruit and Vegetable
The Nova Scotia government, in partnership with the federal government, announced the new COVID-19 Response and Mitigation Program that helps agricultural businesses mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The program will help food producers with the costs of meeting extra health requirements due to COVID-19, help producers get their crops to market, fund projects aimed at maintaining competitiveness, productivity, profitability, and support abattoir efficiency and development. It is funded under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.
“This support package will help farmers manage risks that are currently threatening the viability of their farm operations and our food supply system,” said Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell in a released statement. “We need a strong agriculture sector and by taking these steps, we are helping our farm families improve their competitiveness, productivity and profitability at a time of significant change.”
The COVID-19 Response and Mitigation Program has four streams that farmers, agri-business and agricultural industry associations, can apply to for support. The funding doesn’t need to be repaid.
- Stream 1: COVID-19 Mitigation and Adaptation for Health Protocol:
- Applicants are eligible for 75 per cent funding assistance on total eligible project costs to a maximum of $50,000 per program year, to help applicants comply with recommended health protocols.
- Stream 2: COVID-19 Marketing, Product Movement and Distribution
- Agriculture companies and registered Nova Scotia farms as applicants are eligible for 50 per cent funding assistance on total eligible project costs to a maximum of $20,000 per project.
- Stream 3: COVID-19 Strategic Projects
- Initiatives at a sector or industry level will be reviewed for funding on an individual basis. If they’re deemed to meet the objectives of the Program, they will be assessed on an individual merit, impact and reach basis.
- Stream 4: COVID-19 Abattoir Efficiency and Development
- Applicants are eligible for 75 per cent funding assistance on total eligible project costs to a maximum of $50,000 per program year.
Nova Scotia and the Government of Canada have agreed to increase the 2020 AgriStability interim benefit payment percentage from 50 to 75 per cent for producers. The program supports producers experiencing a large decline in farm income.
They are also providing a 10 per cent discount on producers’ share of AgriInsurance premiums, saving farmers from making these payments during difficult times. AgriInsurance is an insurance against natural hazards to reduce the financial impact of production losses.
In addition, all government loans, including those provided by the Nova Scotia Farm Loan Board, have deferred payments until June 30.
“Farmers have faced a lot of challenges over the last three seasons. We continue to advocate on behalf of our members and are pleased to see the government releasing support programs for Nova Scotia agriculture. We look forward to our future discussions so that we can ensure the continued support for our food system,” said Victor Oulton, president of Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture.
Agricultural businesses can apply for the assistance now.