N.L. budget to back new entrants in farming

“New entrants” to farming in Newfoundland and Labrador can expect to see support from initiatives pledged in the province’s latest budget.

Provincial Finance Minister Tom Marshall on Tuesday announced $250,000 to set up what it’s dubbed “Our Farms, Our Food, Our Future,” a provincial agriculture and agrifoods strategy.

That funding, Marshall said, “will include $150,000 for the development of new entrants initiatives and $100,000 to assist new entrants with legal land survey costs.”

Marshall’s budget also earmarks $500,000 for new equipment for the provincial Animal Health Laboratory.

The new equipment, he said, is expected to provide “greater food safety and milk quality testing capabilities.”

The province’s budget projects a surplus of $485 million for 2010-11, and forecasts a surplus of $59 million for 2011-12.

Economic and social success means “we must be fiscally responsible, paying close attention to our financial position, while maintaining a level of investment to ensure the growth of the economy, and making strategic investments that will enable our young people, families, seniors and our entrepreneurs and innovators to prosper,” Premier Kathy Dunderdale, who as Danny Williams’ natural resources minister oversaw the agrifoods file, said in a release Tuesday.

The budget also pledged $175 million for business development programs, including $8 million to expand broadband internet service to more communities.

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