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N.B. boosts ag investments in budget

The New Brunswick government plans to budget an extra $1 million for “strategic investments” in its agriculture and aquaculture sectors.

Agriculture Minister Ron Ouellette announced the funds Thursday as part of the ag and aquaculture department’s $37.6 million ordinary, capital and loans advances accounts budget for 2008-09.

“The additional funding of $1 million will help the agriculture and aquaculture sectors to be viable over the long term by capturing opportunities and addressing industry challenges,” Ouellette said.

“We will continue to be supportive of these sectors so that they can fully participate to the objective of this government of achieving self-sufficiency by 2026.”

Ouellette’s news release didn’t offer any examples of what those investments may be. The increase is part of a $2.2 million increase in the department’s “ordinary” budget.

The provincial budget also provides for $6.5 million in capital construction projects for the department.

The province also noted capital investments of $2 million as the provincial contribution toward a new veterinary laboratory incinerator and post-mortem/incinerator room at Fredericton. The province also pledged $735,000 to build a stand-alone veterinary lab for testing for foreign animal diseases such as avian flu.

The province’s budget also includes a $2.2 million investment in a new provincial fish health laboratory at St. George, of which the province expects to recover $535,000 through a partnership with the Atlantic Veterinary College for construction and use of the new lab.

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