Source: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
New and small-scale farmers will be able to grow their business and help strengthen food security in their communities with the relaunch of the New Entrant Farm Business Accelerator Program.
Farmers can now 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.
The new program is an update to the Small Business Acceleration Pilot Program launched in 2020 as part of the Province’s COVID-19 Stronger BC 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 their 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 to purchase a tractor. This helped them increase sales productivity from their orchard with almost 900 cherrytrees.
Applications for the first phase of the program will be accepted October 31 until November 30, 2023, or until funds are fully allocated. Applicants who complete Phase 1 are eligible to apply for Phase 2 funding.
The program is receiving $600,000 through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a 5-year (April 1, 2023, until March 31, 2028) $3.5-billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen the competitiveness, innovation and resiliency of the agriculture, agrifood and agriculture‐based products sector. This includes $1 billion in federal programs and activities and a $2.5 billion commitment that is cost-shared 60% federally and 40% provincially / territorially for programs that are designed and delivered by provinces and territories.
“Young farmers are the future of Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sectors, and it’s important that we support them. 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.”
– The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
“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. By providing 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.”
– Pam Alexis, B.C.’s Minister of Agriculture and Food
“The funding from the program allowed us to build infrastructure on our farm that was necessary to grow our business. Not only did it improve our farm, but we were able to hire a contractor who was able to start her own business as well. For that we are so grateful!”
– Madison Whale, owner/operator, Puzzlegrass
“We are extremely grateful for the support from the pilot program that helped us purchase a new tractor, which is essential to our day-to-day operations at Blue Canoe Orchards. This has helped us work towards our goals of production and value-added activities.”
– Emily Chambers, owner/operator, Blue Canoe Orchards