N.B. growers funded to clear stored, spoiled spuds

Potato growers in New Brunswick can expect up to $3 million in public funding to clean up after crops that spoiled in storage last year.

The federal and provincial governments on Wednesday pledged cost-shared (60/40) support to be delivered by the provincial agriculture and aquaculture department, via their AgriRecovery framework for response to regional ag disasters.

The new Potato Storage Loss Initiative is expected to help growers cover the costs of disposal of spoiled potatoes as well as the costs of cleaning and disinfecting storage facilities and equipment.

Payments to growers will be based on the volume of potatoes that had to be destroyed, the governments said.

“This assistance will help farmers get their operations ready for the coming harvest,” Tobique-Mactaquac MP Mike Allen said in the governments’ release.

Eligible growers will be contacted in the “coming weeks” with details about the program and the application process, the governments said.

Other federal-provincial business risk management (BRM) programs, such as crop insurance, AgriStability and AgriInvest are also expected to help the province’s producers manage income losses due to the wet and cool 2009 growing season, they said.

Statistics Canada, as of July 16, pegged New Brunswick’s seeded potato acres at 55,000, and estimated harvested acres at 54,500, producing 14.715 million hundredweight of potatoes, based on a sample of 130 potato-producing farms in the province.

The statistics agency may revise its numbers in its next potato production report, due out in November.

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