Applications have opened for the new federal-provincial $1.7 billion agri-food sector support program – Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (S-CAP).
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Nationally, S-CAP will invest $3.5 billion over five years starting April 1, 2023. It replaces the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.
Lisa Thompson, Ontario minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, highlighted it provides $569 million in new cost-shared funding for strategic initiatives.
“This agreement will create new opportunities to make this world-class sector even stronger and position it to sustainably grow during and well beyond the term of this pact,” said Thompson.
“While we were working on this five-year agreement, we were also able to improve our Business Risk Management programs,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, in a video statement. “We know how important they are, and I’m glad we were able to make them more generous but also more accessible.”
In July 2022, the Federal, Provincial and Territorial (FTP) agriculture ministers agreed to improve the Business Risk Management (BRM) suite of programs, including a 10 per cent increase to AgriStability’s compensation rate.
Additionally, there will be efforts to implement new measures to improve program timeliness, equitability and straightforwardness and better position producer protection against climate risk.
Resilient Agricultural Landscape Program (RALP), a cost-shared program, will receive $250 million to support agricultural sector-provided ecological goods and services such as maintaining and restoring grasslands and wetlands on agricultural lands.
“Our agri-food sector plays an invaluable role in this province. It is an economic powerhouse and the reliable provider of so many different, safe, high-quality, and delicious foods that we all enjoy,” Thompson said.
Thompson’s confident Ontario producers will embrace programming and innovation that furthers their production, whether it’s precision agriculture or increased product quality because they’re committed good stewards to the land.
Drew Spoelstra, Ontario Federation of Agriculture vice president, said he appreciates the S-CAP coming into play ahead of its launch date and the ending of CAP ensuring no gap in programs for Ontario farmers between agreements.
“The new Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership Agreement will offer benefits to farmers across the province dedicated to growing their businesses for a sustainable future while remaining competitive and profitable,” Spoelstra said. “Kudos to Ministers Bibeau and Thompson and everyone involved for their work to get this agreement in place for the 2023 growing season. We look forward to digging into the program details in more depth when they become available.”
S-CAP will provide $1 billion in federal programs and activities through AgriAssurance, AgriCompetitiveness, AgriDiversity, AgriInnovate, AgriMarketing and AgriScience.
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“By opening applications for federal programs today, we are ensuring that there will be no interruption in funding between the old and the new partnership,” said Bibeau in a written statement.
The six programs support trade policy, market access, development, information and regulations, sector engagement tables, and Agricultural and Agri-Food Canada-led foundational science.
The federal government aims to increase exports to $95 billion and overall industry sales to $250 billion by 2028 while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by three to five megatonnes.
“The Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership includes a suite of programs that will allow our producers and processors to remain competitive and profitable while reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the sector,” said Bibeau.
The $2.5 billion in cost-shared programs/activities funded by the federal, provincial, and territorial governments have yet to be finalized but will focus on fulfilling the five key priorities outlined in The Guelph Statement.
Government agencies will post S-CAP programming and funding opportunities as they become available.