SHUBENACADIE, NS – Premier Iain Rankin, today, highlighted key planks in the Liberal Party’s agriculture platform, including programs to manage the risks associated with farming to support our local food producers, who are the backbone of our rural communities.
Food is the largest industry in Nova Scotia, and the Liberal plan recognizes its importance for economic growth across the province, and a strong recovery from the pandemic.
Premier Rankin visited the Ballam’s dairy farm in Shubenacadie to speak about improving Business Risk Management programs, and other aspects of the Liberal’s comprehensive agriculture plan. He was joined by Michael Blois, the Liberal candidate for Hants East.
“We understand the volatility of the industry, given climate change and disruptions in markets,” said Rankin. “But our farmers are innovating, expanding into new markets, and getting ahead of the curve. We want to support them and invest in them, so that we increase food security at home, and reach markets abroad.”
The Business Risk Management programs are at the heart of the Liberal agriculture platform and will provide food producers with stronger compensation for losses and greater stability.
A Rankin government understands that farmers are subject to the whims of weather, and also face challenges related to markets and other economies.
That’s why a Liberal Government will change the BRM AgriStability disaster program and remove the Reference Margin Limit and increase compensation rates from 70 per cent to 80 per cent of loss.
These measures add $2.8 million in provincial support and leverage $4.2 million in additional federal support for a total of $7 million.
In addition, to the Business Risk Management programs, the Liberal agriculture platform builds on the strength of Nova Scotia’s food production and farming industries, making commitments to green technology, market development and innovation, and supporting local producers.
As of 2019, there were over 3,000 farms and 2,258 agri-food and beverage companies in Nova Scotia.
A strong agriculture sector contributes to food security in Nova Scotia, and the Rankin government would make sure that no one is left behind.
That’s why a re-elected Liberal Government will invest $3 million investment in a Healthy Lunches for Healthy Kids pilot program for P-6 students, increasing food security, preparing students to succeed, and ensuring access to healthy, locally sourced food.
A Liberal Government would also continue its efforts to raise the profile of local producers by connecting Nova Scotians to local food.
And supporting the Get Your Hands on Local program will make sure that consumers can identify locally produced food sold in retail locations across the province.
The Liberal platform also supports:
- Investing $5 million in the Agriculture Clean Technology Program to promote sustainable growth, improve energy efficiency, extend growing seasons, and lower the cost of production for food producers.
- Investing $45 million to renew the Sustainable Innovation Rebate Program that provides 25 per cent rebates to businesses to increase global competitiveness by implementing the latest equipment and green technology.
- Investing $20 million over next two years to offer rebates that help businesses reduce emissions, increase businesses competitiveness, and lower energy bills.
- Investing $100,000 annually in Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) to support businesses to adopt green technology and digital solutions and $3.5 million over three years to support NSCC to take on 90 applied research projects that will supply tech equipment and services to help businesses solve R&D challenges.
A re-elected Liberal Government will support strategic sectors to gain access to new markets by making investments such as its $1.3 million contribution to year one of a Nova Scotia Quality Wine Strategy.
“Local producers are the backbone of many rural communities and they’re critical to food security for everyone,” said Mr. Blois. “They’re resilient and know how to respond to challenges. Investing in their grit and determination is as secure an investment as we could make.”