Alta. biosecurity support program gets rolling

A three-year federal/provincial grant program aimed at helping or encouraging Alberta livestock operations to set up biosecurity measures is now taking applications.

Alberta’s Growing Foward Biosecurity program, which will accept applications up until Sept. 30, 2012, will cover 50 per cent of eligible expenses for approved biosecurity work by farmers, non-profit farmer groups and “farm service providers,” the province said Friday.

Funding will go to eligible applicants to “adopt and promote biosecurity measures in line with industry-developed national standards and benchmarks.”

The maximum amount available will be $20,000 for producer projects and $80,000 for not-for-profit and farm service provider projects.

Eligible producers, defined as farmers who produce at least $10,000 worth of ag commodities every year, can submit projects “exceeding $2,000,” the province said.

Work eligible for funds include the implementation of biosecurity measures (as well as feasibility studies and risk assessments for those) as well as the purchase of approved equipment, software and other technologies.

Work such as delivering, implementing and promoting biosecurity programs and/or developing training materials to help with on-farm implementation is also eligible, the province said Friday.

The program was set up to coincide with the current Growing Forward federal-provincial ag policy funding framework, which runs to the end of March 2013. Ongoing biosecurity program initiatives will be “evaluated at that time,” the province said.

The province on Friday also rolled out details for a Growing Forward Leadership Development program, aimed at boosting the industry’s success through “advancing leadership skills and capacity.”

Eligible costs covered under the program includes the costs of enrolment in leadership development programs with at least 12 instructional hours of curriculum offered in Canada or the continental U.S.

Topic areas that may be considered include team building and group facilitation training; media training; conflict resolution and consensus-building training; coaching and mentoring skills development; communication skill development; strategic thinking and planning; and board governance. 

The program is also available to “leadership program developers” such as industry organizations, producer groups and eligible schools, the province said.

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