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N.L. on board for ag policy framework

Newfoundland and Labrador has launched its agreement with the federal government on the specifics of its funding through the new Growing Forward ag policy framework.

Growing Forward is Ottawa and the provinces’ replacement for the previous five-year federal/provincial Agricultural Policy Framework (APF, 2003-08). The new $1.3 billion agreement is intended to cover cost-shared ag-related programming, except for business risk management (BRM) programs, across the country.

Newfoundland and Labrador’s new agreement, signed Wednesday, lays out its budget for “non-BRM” programming, worth about $29.6 million, cost-shared 60-40 between the province and Ottawa.

Growing Forward programs are “tailored with the flexibility to meet Newfoundland and Labrador’s diverse regional requirements,” the two governments said in a joint release.

The funds will be “invested in initiatives that will support innovation and competitiveness; enable farm businesses to better manage risk, and enhance environmental stewardship and food safety in the sector,” provincial Natural Resources Minister Kathy Dunderdale said in the release.

“The nearly $30 million being made available to industry will provide employment and spinoff benefits for supply sectors,” said Dunderdale, whose portfolio includes the provincial Forestry and Agrifoods Agency.

Dunderdale and federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz had signed the province’s Growing Forward bilateral and contribution agreements at the end of March. Newfoundland and Labrador was the last of the provinces and territories to implement the agreement and finalize program details.

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