By Ron Friesen
Published: FCC Express, September 21, 2012
A $3 billion initiative for innovation, competitiveness and market development is a key highlight in the Growing Forward 2 agricultural policy framework agreement announced last week.

Federal and provincial governments will increase their cost-shared funding by 50 per cent for those initiatives, agriculture ministers said Sept. 14 in unveiling the new five-year agreement during their annual meeting in Whitehorse, Yukon.

According to a communiqué issued at the meeting, governments decided to increase their focus on innovation, competitiveness and market development to help the industry capitalize on emerging opportunities in the marketplace.

At the same time, producers will continue to have access to the current suite of business risk management programs, says federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz.

“Growing Forward 2 will help drive economic growth and long-term prosperity through agricultural innovation and market development, while also ensuring governments continue to share the risk of severe market volatility and disasters,” Ritz says.

The new agreement also gives provinces increased flexibility to tailor programs to local needs, and greater opportunity for them to invest in environmental initiatives and on-farm water infrastructure.

Growing Forward 2 takes effect April 1, 2013, when the current five-year agreement expires.

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