August 21, 2006

Two federal programs provide $1.25M for sustainable agriculture in Nfld & Labrador

Sustainable agriculture in Newfoundland and Labrador is being given a boost through $1.25 million in funding from two federal environmental programs designed to enhance protection of land and water. An allocation of $500,000 from the Greencover Canada program will help the province's farmers implement practices that protect land and water resources, while the provision of $750,000 from the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Water Supply Expansion program will help ensure that farmers have adequate water supplies on their farms to meet current and future needs.

"The two new programs, along with the Environmental Farm Plan program already in place, are important tools to help producers protect our water and land resources," said Newfoundland and Labrador Natural Resources Minister Kathy Dunderdale. "We will be listening to suggestions from the agriculture community, working with the industry to design programs that enhance the health of the environment."

Greencover Canada is a five-year, $110-million federal government program providing technical and financial assistance to help agricultural producers implement land use-related farming practices that yield both environmental and economic benefits. In this way, the program aims to broaden buffer corridors along watercourses; protect shallow groundwater systems in riparian areas; control stream bank erosion and enhance aquatic habitat; reduce greenhouse gases through the sequestration of carbon dioxide; enhance wetlands and environmentally sensitive areas and habitats; protect existing water supplies (quality and quantity); reduce odours through strategic planting of tree windbreaks and shelterbelts; and enhance species diversity on the agricultural landscape.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the Department of Natural Resources will administer and deliver the program. Projects will be undertaken in specific beneficial management practices categories, including riparian area management, erosion control structures (riparian), shelterbelt establishment, and consultative services for riparian health assessment and related activities. Farmers may qualify for federal funding based on a 50:50 cost-share arrangement on eligible planning, material and establishment costs.

The National Water Supply Expansion program is a $60-million federal-provincial initiative designed to help the agriculture sector develop and enhance agricultural water supplies. The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador investment includes $700,000 from Ottawa, with the provincial government contributing $50,000.

The program will provide technical and financial assistance for three types of projects: on-farm water projects; multi-user water supplies; and strategic initiatives that increase the knowledge of the water resource.

For Tier 1 (on-farm infrastructure) projects, up to $5,000 per project and $15,000 per proponent for individual will be made available for on-farm infrastructure (e.g. water wells, off stream storage, etc) that provide secure, safe and reliable water supplies for agricultural producers.

The Tier 2 (multi-user infrastructure) category will provide up to $50,000 for larger-scale infrastructure projects (e.g. regional irrigation infrastructure) that supply a number of water users and provide a long-term water source.

For Tier 3 (strategic work), the program will make up to 100% funding available, to a maximum of $100,000, for projects that expand the knowledge base of the resource (e.g. regional groundwater/surface water studies, groundwater exploration and drilling, feasibility studies and information extension activities), including support for agricultural water management-related organizations and activities.

Eligible applicants for assistance include individual and/or incorporated groups of farmers, conservation groups, rural communities and municipalities, agri-businesses and rural enterprises and educational institutions. Non-agricultural applicants must include agricultural partners in the project.

Both programs will run until March 31, 2008.

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