Que. launches financing program for young farmers

The Quebec government and a pair of development capital funds in the province have officially launched an investment fund to help young farmers get start-up financing.

Fonds d’investissement pour la releve agricole (FIRA) got its official kickoff Friday in Orford, Que. during the annual conference of the young farmers’ group Federation de la releve agricole du Quebec (FRAQ).

The province, Fonds de solidarite FTQ and Capital regional et cooperatif Desjardins have each kicked in $25 million for FIRA, as per an agreement signed between the government and the two funds in July last year.

Provincial Agriculture Minister Pierre Corbeil said in a release Friday that the supports available to young farmers are “the most generous in North America.”

FIRA will offer subordinated loans, equity shares and the possibility to lease-purchase farmland, the province said, in a bid to meet the capital needs of young farmers trying to get started outside the typical framework of farm transfers within their own families.

In offering such financing, the fund partners hope to see about 60 more farm business start-ups per year compared to current levels, the province said.

Young farmers interested in FIRA are asked to check out the program website and to consult with counsellors at one of the 23 outlets of Financiere agricole du Quebec (FAQ), the provincial ag lending agency.

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