Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture

What do you want your member organization to do for you?

A strategic planning exercise for the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture is underway that will set priorities for future efforts of the organization.

Yvonne Thyssen-Post, P.Ag. of Thyagrissen Consulting Limited has facilitated sessions and interviews with NSFA Council of Leaders, Executive Committee, Commodity Association Managers, Associate and Corporate Members as well as other provincial federations.

It is time to hear from membership! 

What are the issues/challenges facing the agricultural industry in NS?  Are there political challenges? What about economic or social stresses? Or perhaps it is technology that is causing issues for our industry.  By identifying these issues and bringing them to the forefront, together we can identify what the role of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture is in assisting industry to deal with these challenges and in turn better serve its’ members.

As an NSFA Member, this is your organization.  It is hoped that you will support the strategic planning exercise and agree to participate and openly share your thoughts.  What is learned through the consultation process will become the foundation of the strategic plan so please participate in one of the following focus group sessions:

Central – October 17, 2018, 10 am – 12 pm,  NSFA Boardroom, 60 Research Drive Bible Hill
Eastern / Cape Breton – October 18, 2018, 10 am – 12 pm, Port Hawkesbury Civic Center, 606 Reeves St., Port Hawkesbury
South Shore – October 24, 2018, 2 pm – 4 pm, Lunenburg Lifestyle Center, 135 N Park St., Bridgewater
Valley – October 25, 2018, 10 am – 12 pm, Louis Millet Center, 9489 Commercial Street, New Minas

Please RSVP with your name and location of choice for participation by contacting Shelly MacKenzie, NSFA Office (902) 893-2293 or smackenzie@nsfa-fane.ca.



Bill 58

During the last week of September, Bill 58 passed first and second readings at the legislature.  Bill 58, which was amendments to the Municipal Government Act, made planning mandatory across all municipalities in Nova Scotia.  As per legislative process, the Bill then went on to the Law Amendments Committee for public consultation.  Victor Oulton, NSFA President presented in favour of the bill on behalf of the organization as mandatory municipal planning is a lobby position of the Federation.  NSFA has been working to protect agricultural land, as per our Standing Policy, for years and the passing of this bill is the first step in strengthening the Statement of Provincial Interest on Agricultural Land.  NSFA looks forward to continuing our lobby efforts to protect Agricultural Land and look forward to working with the Department of Municipal Affairs in supporting municipalities with planning for the future of agricultural land.

Below is the text of NSFA’s presentation to the Law Amendments Committee.

Protecting agricultural land has been a key priority for farmers across Nova Scotia.  Land is essential to agriculture and once it is lost to development, it cannot be recovered.

Here in Nova Scotia we are fortunate to have 1.57 million hectares of agriculture classed soils which is almost 30% of our land suitable for agriculture production.  While a portion of this land – though incalculable – has been lost to urban development, what is remaining is vital to the future of our industry.

When we think “agriculture land” we immediately think food, maple groves or Christmas Trees.  Agriculture land is so much more than these.

Agriculture land contributes to the livelihood for more than 2400 farm families across Nova Scotia and their employees.

Agriculture land is a rural economic driver.  Nearly $600 million dollars of gross farm income is generated each year in Nova Scotia from agricultural land.  This gross farm income creates over 9000 jobs on farms as well as indirectly supporting industries like machinery, feed stores, construction and many more.

Agriculture land creates scenic landscapes which yield agri-tourism opportunities.  Agri-tourism generates economic opportunities for communities.  People from around the world come visit our orchards, vineyards and farm markets for the experience – the spinoff from these experiences supports bed and breakfasts, local restaurants and local artisans.

Aside from the economics of agriculture land, agriculture land encourages biodiversity which creates habitat for wildlife and plant species.

Not all of the available agriculture land is currently in use.  There are several factors that play into inactive agricultural land:

  • Abandonment may occur when there is no farm successor.
  • Agricultural land values are on the rise. Sometimes farmers sell the land for development as a means for retirement.
  • There also lots of farm land that is forested. Though this land isn’t actively farmed, and maybe not even maintained, the land is still available for future farmers.

Land has always been important to farmers.  Over the last couple of years, NSFA brought together stakeholders to work on recommendations outlined in government papers to preserve agricultural land in Nova Scotia.  It goes without saying that preserving agricultural land is a multi-faceted issue which includes land taxation, protection and planning.  This committee is working on developing a provincial land strategy for agriculture land use in Nova Scotia.  An Agriculture Land Policy must have an authentic statement around agriculture land use and protection thereof and further include transfer of land, accessing land, land bank, taxation, registration and migration.  Changes to the Municipal Government Act to make planning mandatory across all municipalities are welcomed and support the work of the NSFA Land Policy Committee.

With regards to the addition of regulation development identified in section 214 (4)(a), in the event that regulations with regards to the planning of agricultural land are developed, NSFA would like to be part of that consultation process and inform from the industry perspective.



Opening Eyes and Minds with Open Farm Day

Farmers across the province will once again be opening their gates for the 17th annual Open Farm Day on Sunday, September 16th. Over 30 farms are ready to welcome thousands of Nova Scotians to their operations including vineyards, orchards, livestock, and much more.

Open Farm Day is an Atlantic Canada-wide event with New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island participating alongside Nova Scotia. This event is supported by joint federal and provincial funding through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a $3 billion investment that sets a solid foundation for the future of Canada’s farmers and food processors, helping them grow, innovate, and prosper.

“The agriculture and agri-food industry is a Canadian success story, creating jobs and contributing more than $114 billion to our national economy,” said Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food, Lawrence MacAulay. “Our Government is proud to support the farmers and entrepreneurs who are part of this story in communities across the country. I encourage Nova Scotians to take time during Open Farm Day to visit participating farms and see first-hand why Canadian farmers are world-class.”

“Open Farm Day is a great way for Nova Scotians to connect with the farmers who are working to help to feed their families and ensure the sustainability of our food supply,” said Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell. “Nova Scotia has about 3500 farms that employ 4,700 people in 2017. These farms, and the people working them, make a significant contribution to our economy in many ways.”

Visitors will gain a better understanding of the agricultural industry in Nova Scotia and have fun while doing it. Every location offers activities with educational components such as: guided farm tours, displays, and demonstrations. Guests also get the chance to pick local produce, visit with livestock, taste wine and other food samples, go on wagon rides, purchase local products – for a full list of activities please visit the website listed at the bottom.

“Every farm has something different to offer visitors,” said Victor Oulton, President of Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture. “It’s a great opportunity for folks to visit farms in their community or make a day of it and explore other areas of the province.”

In Nova Scotia, there are almost 30 recognized commodity groups – this year there are a wide variety of commodities represented with locations from one tip of the province to the other.

A list of participating farms can be found at www.meetyourfarmer.ca/openfarmday

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The Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture represents the interests of over 2400 farm families in Nova Scotia. Founded in 1895 to provide Nova Scotia’s farm community with a single voice, the NSFA is the province’s only general farm organization

For more information please contact:

Katie Hawkins
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay
613-773-1059
Katie.Hawkins@agr.gc.ca

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
613-773-7972
1-866-345-7972
media.relations@agr.gc.ca
Follow us on Twitter: @AAFC_Canada
Like us on Facebook: CanadianAgriculture

Maxine MacLean
Policy and Communications Coordinator
Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture
(902) 893-2293
mmaclean@nsfa-fane.ca

 



What We’ve Heard – Frost Damage

Starting in June 2018, NSFA opened a feedback form to understand the extent of the damage caused by the frost and below freezing temperatures in the late spring.

To date we had over 50 replies to the survey from across numerous commodities. Christmas Trees, Wild Blueberries, Apples, Grapes and Horticulture Crops were those that we heard from most. Following a conference call and dialogue with commodity groups, here are some startling facts:

  • Each of Wild Blueberries, Apples and Christmas Tress expect at least a 50% crop loss across the industry this year alone.
  • Some farms will experience 75-80% in crop loss this year. For example, in the Lunenburg County area, where 60-70% of Nova Scotia’s Christmas Trees are grown, producers expect 60-70% crop loss on each farm.
  • Some farms will experience a 100% crop loss this year.
  • We heard from Wild Blueberry producers who have damaged sprout fields which will impact the 2019 crop.
  • Most farms won’t know until at least the fall the extent of the damage. For example, Christmas trees farmers won’t know more until it is time to shear and Wild Blueberry growers won’t know the extent of the damage until harvest.
  • Farmers are addressing the challenges through different cost cutting measuring including hiring fewer labourers or none at all.
  • We have heard from some farmers who said that the crop was looking okay with minimal damage. However, as the crop matured, signs of damaged appeared.

Thank-you to everyone who provided feedback on the troubling frost and freeze damage this Spring. The survey will remain open into the fall for those who wish to report damage as it appears. Moving forward, NSFA has been lobbying government for late enrollment for Agri Stability and financial support for farmers through other means.

Survey can be found here: https://nsfa-fane.ca/frost-damage-report/ 



CFIA Releases Safe Food for Canadians Regulations

CFIA released the regulations for the Safe Food for Canadians Act today. This has been an important advocacy piece for the Federation since the Act received Royal Assent in 2012.

Upon early review of the regulations, NSFA is pleased to read that many farms with a gross farm income under $100,000 will not be required to have a written preventive control plan (PCP). While the Federation does not dispute the need for traceability and assurance of safe food, the cost prohibitive written PCP would have potentially put farms, particularly those that sell direct to market across provincial boarders, out of business if required to comply. During the consultative process, NSFA lobbied Health Canada, CFIA and AAFC to raise the proposed $30,000 threshold or create an exception for farms selling direct to market.

Farms not exempt from this exception include meat destined for export or interprovincial trade, prepared meat products, dairy products, fish, eggs, processed egg products, or processed fruits and vegetables, or if an export certificate is requested.

The regulations will be phased in and will come into effect on January 15, 2019. Further review of the regulations is underway and highlights will be communicated in the future.

A link to the regulations can be found here.

Preventive Control Requirements

Tools and supporting resources for the Safe Food for Canadians Act and regulations can be found here.



Frost Damage Report

On the night of June 3-4, most of Nova Scotia got hit with a severe frost for the time of year. NSFA is collecting information to understand the implications that the frost had on farms. Understandably, the full impact may not be known or able to be assessed until further into the growing season.

You are invited to submit what information you can at this time and update responses if your situation changes later into the growing season. Thank-you in advance for providing feedback.

Submit your damage report here



Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture Submits Recommendations to New Traffic Safety Act

BIBLE HILL, NS – The Nova Scotia Government is currently working on a new Traffic Safety Act which – once brought into legislature this fall – will replace the existing Motor Vehicle Act. The new act will govern and regulate the registration and identification of motor vehicles and the use of provincial highways and roads.

“We are grateful to be able to submit recommendations for the new safety act” said Amanda Eisses, chair of Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture’s Transportation Committee. “This gave us a chance to highlight some issues we would like to see addressed, such as adding self-propelled implement of husbandry and expanding the definition of farm tractor in the new revised act.”

Have an idea on how the rules of the road should be updated? It is not to late to submit your own thoughts and recommendations, the deadline for feedback is Friday, June 8.

“We are encouraging members of the Federation and the public to submit their own recommendations, we want the government to hear your voice on the matter.” said Victor Oulton, President of Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture. “Traffic safety is everyone’s concern, we all have to share the road.”

The Traffic Safety Act provides the framework for safe travel on Nova Scotia roads – not only for the motoring public but also for those traveling as part of their business. During the summer months, roads throughout the province are notoriously busy and as always there is an increase in slow moving vehicles on public roads. We urge you to keep in mind that everyone has a right to be on the road. We must respect the legislation as well as those traveling on the road to ensure we all arrive home safely at the end of the day.

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About Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture

Since 1895, the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture has represented the interests of Nova Scotia’s agricultural community. Today its members account for well over 90% of all agricultural production in Nova Scotia. With an organizational structure that includes representation from 13 county and regional federations and 27 recognized agricultural commodity groups, the Federation brings together over 2400 individual farm businesses representing all aspects of primary agriculture in the province.

Media Inquires:

Maxine Maclean
Policy & Communications Coordinator
Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture
mmaclean@nsfa-fane.ca
902-893-2293



Statement: Programs delayed further

Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture is frustrated that the Canadian Agricultural Partnership programs to be accessed by farmers are delayed even further into the growing season.

In the May 31, 2018 edition of All Nova Scotia, an article highlighting the further delay of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership Programs was issued. Minister Colwell indicated that NSFA’s only concern around programs was the raise in minimum eligibility from $10,000 in gross farm income to $30,000 and that NSFA was extensively consulted on programs well ahead of the release date for programs.

NSFA and Minister Colwell only met once since programs opened on April 16th. This meeting was held on May 10th after being rescheduled five times by the Minister of Agriculture’s office. At this meeting, NSFA laid out the concerns identified by membership which is the almost 2500 farm families in Nova Scotia. The concerns included eligibility changes with the increase of minimum gross farm income from $10,000 to $30,000; however, changes to eligibility for environmental protection programs, elimination of season extension and delay of research programs were all raised. The latter concerns impact all farms in Nova Scotia, not only those with gross farm income under $30,000. As for Minister Colwell’s surprise that NSFA hadn’t raised concerns during the extensive consultations before programs release, the issues that NSFA raised were not mentioned as potential changes. NSFA was not further consulted since the May 10th meeting and any indication that we have been is false.

In no way did or would NSFA ever recommend for programs to be delayed. NSFA encourages the Minister to reopen programs immediately to allow for farms to make plans to grow their farms and the rural economy.

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For more information:
Maxine MacLean
Policy and Communications Coordinator
Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture
Email: mmaclean@nsfa-fane.ca
Phone: (902) 890-1891

The Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture represents the interests of over 2400 farm families in Nova Scotia. Founded in 1895 to provide Nova Scotia’s farm community with a single voice, the NSFA is the province’s only general farm organization.



Issues Highlighted at Minister’s Meeting

The following are the issues highlighted at our May 10th meeting with the Minister of Agriculture.

  • The optics around the released programs suggests that the Nova Scotia government isn’t interested in farms grossing under $30,000. Over 50% of registered farms in Nova Scotia do not qualify for programs based on the released criteria, not even those who have a business plan demonstrating growth above the minimum threshold.
  • For many farms, season extension is an avenue to generate more income over the course of a year. Season extension comes in various forms from selection of plant variety to physical structures. Capital for structures is often not available on farms, particularly those starting out or expanding. It is through season extension funding that many farms have been able to increase the harvest season and in turn improving food security here in Nova Scotia.
  • For livestock production, genetic improvement is an opportunity for farms to increase efficacy and be more profitable. Genetic enhancement programs allow for farmers and ranchers to respond to global competition immediately.
  • An abattoir shortage has been identified by many members and followed up in with a discussion between NSFA and NSDA.
  • Protecting the environment makes sense for farmers; however, the expenses for projects that focus on environmental protection can’t always be cost recovered through business planning.
  • On farm research planning needs to be completed early so trials can start at the beginning of a season.
  • Farms rely and plan business ventures based on programs. Drastic changes disrupt these business plans causing undue panic and alarm.


Programs on hold for consultation

We have received notice that the cost-shared programs under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership will be suspended for 30 days.

NSFA appreciates the invitation from Minister Colwell to share our concerns with the recently announced programs.  We will provide details about these concerns in writing to Minister Colwell ahead of a face to face meeting on May 1st.



events

  1. Pictou North Colchester Federation of Agriculture Annual Meeting

    October 23 @ 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
  2. NSFA Strategic Plan Focus Group Session

    October 24 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  3. NSFA Strategic Plan Focus Group Session

    October 25 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
  4. Cumberland County Federation of Agriculture Annual Meeting

    October 28 @ 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  5. Lunenburg Queens Federation of Agriculture Annual Meeting

    October 29 @ 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm

contact

60 Research Drive,
Perennia Innovation Park
Bible Hill, N.S.
B6L 2R2

Phone – 902-893-2293
Fax – 902-893-7063
E-mailinfo@nsfa-fane.ca