Following the funding, March 16-31 here delivers a quick wrapup of 15 federal and federal/provincial ag-related funding announcements across Canada during the second half of March, up until the federal election call on Saturday.

March 25

Pumped-up packer, Manitoba: The federal Slaughter Improvement Program has pledged a repayable contribution of up to $2.8 million for packing plant upgrades at Plains Processors of Carman, Man. The company plans to use the funds to help upgrade its provincially-inspected facility to federal standards, in order to expand market access and provide the region’s cattle producers with access to a federally-inspected red meat processing facility.

March 24

Genetic goods, Alberta: Over $1.9 million in federal AgriMarketing funding is earmarked for the Canadian Livestock Genetics Association (CLGA) to help implement its international market development strategy for dairy and small ruminant genetics, and to help CLGA integrate the “Canada brand” in its promotional activities. Activities planned include participating in trade shows and missions, delivering training and education seminars, working to develop new markets for semen and embryos, and undertaking market assessments for India and markets in Southeast Asia such as Thailand and Indonesia.

Demonstration derby, Saskatchewan: Over $600,000 in federal and provincial funding was pledged for 74 producer-led projects by 31 farmer-led organizations in Saskatchewan this summer under the Agricultural Demonstration of Practices and Technologies (ADOPT) program — the biggest such investment ever in the province, the two governments said. Among the approved projects were: examining brome grass midge control; studying faba beans as a green manure source; comparing inputs on peas and lentils; demonstrating different canola seeding speeds; evaluating different pod-sealants on canola; evaluating new insecticides for pest control in alfalfa; studying the control of kochia; reclaiming saline soil using perennial forages; evaluating fungicides to control disease in saskatoon berries; and comparing new varieties of corn for cattle grazing.

Also, the governments announced an increase in ADOPT funding amounts, starting with projects in fall 2011. Producer groups can now each get up to $75,000 per year in project funding, up from $50,000.

March 23

Beef backing, British Columbia: The federal and B.C. governments will put up a combined $5 million to launch the Beef Market Research and Development Program laid out by the province’s Ranching Task Force. The program will now invite project proposals that will create “long-term industry benefits,” such as through new product development, domestic and emerging market research, trade missions or producer and consumer education. The program is open to all producer and processor groups, individuals, businesses, post-secondary research institutions, marketing organizations, co-operatives and non-governmental organizations.

March 21

Market makeover, Nova Scotia: The federal Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency will put up $41,714 from its Innovative Communities Fund (ICF) and the town of New Glasgow will kick in $10,429 for improvements to the New Glasgow Riverfront Farmers’ Market. Modifications to the interior of the market building will include completion of washrooms, improvements to the canteen and storage area, installation of interior lighting, a seating area, and a small platform for performers. Exterior improvements include the construction of an access road to the rear of the building for vendors, seeding around the facility and signage.

March 18

Irrigation infrastructure, Saskatchewan: The federal and Saskatchewan governments will put up a combined $4.5 million to help expand and develop irrigation in the province, through a program that will fund up to 90 per cent of the eligible costs of irrigation development, to a maximum of $1.5 million per irrigation district. Eligible costs would include buying and installing pumps, turnouts, power lines, pipelines and drains, as well as hiring consultants where needed. The deadline to complete projects is March 31, 2013.

The governments also boosted the province’s Farm and Ranch Water Infrastructure Program (FRWIP) to help farmers, ranchers and RMs develop multi-user pipelines by covering up to 50 per cent of all eligible costs, including construction, to a maximum $15,000, retroactive to April 1, 2009. Previously, program funding for multi-user pipelines was restricted to specific installation and hook-up costs, making it difficult for some applicants to develop the resource.

Generally, FRWIP is meant to cover up to 50 per cent of eligible costs, to a maximum total of $60,000, for developing wells, dugouts and pipelines. The FRWIP deadline to complete projects is also March 31, 2013.

Carbon credits, New Brunswick: The federal Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP) will put up over $950,000 for the Atlantic Dairy and Forage Institute (ADFI) to back a dairy greenhouse gas pilot project on 100 dairy farms in both New Brunswick and Alberta. ADFI would field-test methods it’s developed to evaluate the potential for revenue generation for the dairy industry through the offer of carbon offsets in Canada. The ADFI project is also expected to help dairy farmers collect and share carbon emission data, to provide estimates of potential greenhouse gas reductions for Canada’s entire dairy industry.

Food focus, Manitoba: The federal and Manitoba governments announced $400,000 to support the Manitoba Consumer Monitor Food Panel (MCMFP) project, a long-term, online survey study expected to track the attitudes and perceptions of 4,000 Manitobans. Researchers from the University of Manitoba are to study food trends, consumers’ likes and dislikes and how consumers approach food and health. “The results will lead to food development ideas, policies, and programs to guarantee a strong, healthier future for Manitobans,” the governments said.

Pastry production, Ontario: The federal AgriFlexibility fund’s AgriProcessing initiative will provide over $348,000 in repayable funding for Toronto-based Dufflet Pastries to buy and install new automated bakery equipment, which the company expects will help boost production capacity and efficiency. The project is also expected to create jobs and help reduce packaging waste at the company’s processing plant. “Increased production and sales for Dufflet Pastries will in turn increase the demand for butter, flour, cream and eggs, giving more opportunities for Canadian farmers to sell their products,” Burlington MP Mike Wallace said in a release.

March 17

Flood funds, Manitoba: Further improvements were pledged to the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (DFAA) program to give provinces and territories more flexibility in the application of the DFAA for improvements to disaster-damaged infrastructure such as roads and bridges. Another $35 million in federal support was also pledged for Manitoba’s response and recovery costs related to spring flooding in 2009.

Nullifying nematodes, Quebec: Centre de recherche Les Buissons will get up to $700,000 from the federal Growing Canadian Agri-Innovations program to develop an integrated parasite management strategy against potato cyst nematodes. The funding will go toward study of the biological traits of the parasites, to find ways to reduce populations below detectable levels. Researchers will look in particular at PCN virulence and resistance when exposed to different varieties of potatoes. The project will also study alternative, biological controls and develop best practices to limit risk of contamination, such as using resistant potato varieties in rotation.

Trucker training, Alberta: The Canadian Livestock Transport Training program has been approved for a contribution of up to $320,000 from the federal Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP), subject to the signing of a contribution agreement. The program provides training and support for livestock truckers, shippers and receivers, focused on the “humane and safe relocation” of livestock and regulatory requirements for Canada and the U.S.

Data utility, Nova Scotia: The federal government, through its Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s (ACOA) Innovative Communities Fund, pledged $38,000 to Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) for a feasibility study of a community information utility (CIU) for southwestern Nova Scotia. Not unlike water and electrical utilities, a CIU would provide subscribers with information on local geography, agricultural property boundaries, climate and health statistics in  the region. NSCC said it would put up $10,000 for the study, plus $2,000 from the Annapolis Digby Economic Development Agency.

Processing produce, Quebec: The province’s agriculture and economic development ministries will contribute $85,000 and Canada Economic Development’s Community Diversification program will grant $24,494 to Les Jardins Maria-Chapdelaine at Normandin, Que. toward the purchase of processing equipment to make blueberry soda and to help develop small and medium-sized regional agri-food enterprises through testing and experimentation projects on small indigenous fruit products. The company, which aims to build the development capacity of native fruit species such as wild blueberries saskatoons and seabuckthorn, expects to hire two full-time staff for this project.

March 16

Boiling biomass, Alberta: The federal government plans to invest $1.5 million in Western Economic Diversification funding to help the Resource Industry Suppliers Association and Strathcona County to develop, test and commercialize a biomass-fuelled district heating system at the Centre in the Park at Sherwood Park, on Edmonton’s east side. Billed as the first biomass district heating system in an urban setting in Alberta, the project involves installing a central boiler that uses biomass from agricultural residues — specifically, oat hulls — and wood waste. The association and county will also each kick in $675,000.

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