Sask. boosts supports for use of ag consultants

Saskatchewan farmers and ranchers under age 40 can now get more provincial funding for the use of farm-related consulting services and training.

The provincial and federal governments on Thursday said they would now pay up to 90 per cent of the costs for business consulting services, farm-related education and training programs through the Farm Business Development Initiative (FBDI), to a total maximum per applicant of $10,000.

That’s up from the previous limits of 75 per cent funding of services and $4,000 total funding per applicant.

The FBDI, backed by the federal/provincial Growing Forward ag policy funding framework, is meant to help farmers and ranchers acquire information and skills to boost profitability and achieve their business goals.

Thursday’s announcement also included a pledge of $50,000 in new Growing Forward funding for the Saskatchewan Young Ag-Entrepreneurs (SYA), which on Friday wrapped up its annual meeting and networking conference in Saskatoon.

The SYA funding will go to develop, host and maintain a website offering “new and existing resources” for young farmers and ranchers, the governments said in Thursday’s release.

The website is expected to serve as “an online community for young producers to find information and services to help improve their businesses.”

“Networking and training opportunities, promoting agriculture and providing relevant and useful information to young producers are priorities for our organization,” group chairman Rodney Voldeng of Naicam, Sask. said in the governments’ release.

“This funding to develop a website will help us accomplish these goals and will result in a valuable online tool for young farmers.”

SYA, formed as a non-profit corporation in 2006 and reaching about 70 members by October 2010, has held a number of ag tours, conferences and workshops and serves as a provincial affiliate of the Canadian Young Farmers Forum.

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