Study seeks southern N.S. sites for ag development

An economic development agency in southern Nova Scotia plans to seek out areas in that part of the province suitable for “various agriculture developments.”

The Shelburne Community Business Development Corp., based at Shelburne, about 210 km southwest of Halifax, will get over $220,000 in federal, provincial and municipal funds for its microclimate study.

A microclimate map will be produced over a three-year period and the data will identify specific areas suitable for such developments, the federal Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency said in its release last week.

“This project will provide key data to assist in the development of competitive, productive and sustainable agricultural sectors in South West Nova Scotia,” corporation chair Cindy Embree said in ACOA’s release.

“By creating a microclimate map of the region, we are increasing our capacity to engage with agri-industry developers, community economic development agencies and other partners — and enhancing our knowledge base as a community.”

Nova Scotia’s southwest currently includes some small-scale agriculture such as mixed farms and blueberry fields but is mostly a resource-oriented region, rooted in forestry, fisheries and tourism.

“By identifying key areas of improvement for the region, Shelburne County will be better positioned for growth while attracting investors and newcomers alike,” local MP Gerald Keddy said in the ACOA release.

The project had been tapped as a priority by Team Southwest Nova Scotia, a committee of community and government representatives launched in April last year to work with local businesses and communities on “strategic long-term solutions to help the economy of southwest Nova Scotia.”

ACOA said its Innovative Communities Fund will put up $119,614 for the study, while the province will kick in $37,046, the Agri-Futures Association of Nova Scotia $34,718, and the municipalities of Shelburne, Yarmouth, Queens, Lunenburg, Argyle and Barrington a total of $31,500.

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