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N.S., Nunavut approve APF extensions

The Nova Scotia and Nunavut governments have officially agreed to extend funding for some federal/provincial Agricultural Policy Framework (APF) programming.

Each will extend its share of funding up until April 1, 2009 at the latest.

The extension applies to four out of five ag programming pillars of the five-year APF: renewal, innovation, environment and food safety, between them taking in such programs as environmental farm plans and the Canadian Agricultural Skills Service (CASS).

The federal/provincial APF on agriculture programs’ funding and delivery was developed under the Chretien government and launched in 2003. It included the Canadian Agricultural Income Stabilization (CAIS) program in its fifth pillar, business risk management (BRM).

Canada’s agriculture ministers agreed in principle in November last year to seek approval from their provincial governments to extend their commitments to the near-expired APF agreement on the four non-BRM pillars.

The federal government has already granted Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada approval to extend the federal share of the funding while Ottawa and the provinces work on Growing Forward, the APF’s replacement framework. Nunavut and Nova Scotia’s announcements on Wednesday and Thursday respectively leave just the Alberta government yet to approve an APF extension.

As for the BRM pillar, that’s covered under the first pillar of the Growing Forward program, which is already in place and includes the AgriStability and AgriInvest programs to replace CAIS.

Nunavut’s economic development minister, Patterk Netser, said in a release Wednesday that harvesters, hunters and producers in the territory will continue to receive services from all APF-related federal and territorial programs under the four non-BRM pillars.

“Continuing programs will allow for a smooth transition to Growing Forward and will provide certainty for our harvesters and all our partners,” he said.

The extension on the non-BRM APF pillars “gives us the time we need to ensure farmers have the voice they deserve in program design,” federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said, referring to ongoing consultations with farmers and farm groups on Growing Forward.

Canada’s ag ministers said in a recent joint statement that they’re “committed to having a final agreement framework in place for Growing Forward by their annual conference” in Quebec City July 8-11.

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