Program aims to help new and young B.C. farmers kickstart their business
November 3, 2023 By Top Crop Manager
New and small-scale farmers in B.C. will be able to grow their business and help strengthen food security in their communities with the relaunch of the New Entrant Farm Business Accelerator Program.
Farmers can now apply for the first phase of the program, which provides support for business planning and a growth strategy. The second phase will support the implementation of that growth strategy and includes funding for on-farm infrastructure and equipment, such as greenhouses, tractors and irrigation systems.
The new program is an update to the Small Business Acceleration Pilot Program launched in 2020 as part of the province’s COVID-19 Stronger B.C. economic recovery plan, which supported more than 60 farmers. The updated program builds on the pilot and provides support to farmers so they can grow their farm businesses throughout B.C.
The pilot program supported operations such as Puzzlegrass Farm in the Naramata region, owned and operated by first-generation farmers, Erin Abercrombie and Madison Whale. The women operate a community-supported agriculture program from the farm. They received support to help buy materials to build a small farm-store outlet, a shed and a seedling greenhouse to increase vegetable production.
“The funding from the program allowed us to build infrastructure on our farm that was necessary to grow our business,” says Whale. “Not only did it improve our farm, but we were able to hire a contractor who was able to start her own business as well.”
Applications for the first phase of the program will be accepted Oct. 31 until Nov. 30, or until funds are fully allocated. Applicants who complete Phase 1 are eligible to apply for Phase 2 funding.
The program is receiving $600,000 through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year (April 1, 2023, until March 31, 2028) $3.5-billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen the competitiveness, innovation and resiliency of the agriculture, agrifood and agriculture‐based products sector. This includes $1 billion in federal programs and activities and a $2.5 billion commitment that is cost-shared 60 per cent federally and 40 per cent provincially/territorially for programs that are designed and delivered by provinces and territories.