Alberta agricultural programs get $406-million boost from Ottawa

 By Karen Kleiss, Edmonton Journal March 25, 2013 10:04 AM

EDMONTON – Federal and provincial agriculture ministers have announced $406 million in new funding for agricultural programs in Alberta.

Alberta Agriculture Minister Verlyn Olson and his federal counterpart Gerry Ritz made the announcement Monday morning in Leduc.

The money comes from the federal government’s $3-billion Growing Forward fund and will be used to create or improve 30 programs that focus on international market development, food safety and agricultural research.

“As the province’s largest renewable resource industry, agriculture holds tremendous potential,” Olson said in a statement. “Through Growing Forward 2, we are providing producers and entrepreneurs with the tools they need to build their businesses and further diversify Alberta’s economy.”

The provincial and federal governments billed the package as a five-year agreement that includes a 50-per-cent increase in cost-shared investment over Growing Forward 1, an agreement set to expire March 31.

Ritz said the money will be available April 1.

“This agreement is an important milestone in our continued efforts to deliver effective programs that farmers need to compete in global markets, while positioning Canad as a strong leader in agriculture,” Ritz said in a statement.

More to come …

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