Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture

Request for Proposal: Public Trust Strategy

The Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture (NSFA) seeks proposals from consultants interested in designing and facilitating the development of a Public Trust Strategy for Nova Scotia agriculture. Proposals are to be submitted by November 29. If there are any questions regarding the RFP they must be asked by November 19 and will be answered by November 22. The estimated project timeline is November 2019 – February 2020.

Program Background

Public trust is a growing initiative and the NSFA believes it is essential to the sustainable future of our agriculture industry. The NSFA delivers Public Trust Programming with funding support from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-territorial-provincial initiative.

Canada’s agriculture and agri-food industry is among the most respected in the world. In fact, Canada is well-known for its ability to produce food products in a responsible and sustainable manner. However, it is also known that consumers are increasingly concerned of the ethical and responsible manner in which their food is grown. According to the 2018 research by the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity (CCFI) the overall impression of agriculture in Canada decreased from 61% to 55% in the last year, after a steady increase since 2006. This decline is driven by an increase in responses saying they don’t know enough to have an opinion.

The reality is that our population is continuing to out-migrate from rural regions into urbanized centres, which means consumers are further distanced from agriculture and where their food is grown. This is a huge concern for Nova Scotia farmers. In a recent member engagement consultation conducted by the NSFA, public trust ranked as the top issue farmers felt needed to be addressed. Farmers recognize consumers are disconnected from their food, public confidence is decreasing and that there is a need for quality standards for all food production.

Request for Proposal Document



What Makes a Standing Policy?

 

Careful consideration goes into developing NSFA’s Standing Policies. We must be able to convey the issues and the impact on farms or the industry to stakeholders and decision makers.  In order for NSFA executive and staff to track progress and identify if a policy recommendation can be marked complete, we must also know what a win looks like.

As mentioned above, knowing the stakeholders and decision makers is important when developing our messaging.  In some situations, a stronger effort can be made when we strategically align partnerships with other organizations.  In other cases, we are better off demonstrating how agriculture is unique and separate ourselves from others.  Regardless, we develop messaging and strategies to implement Standing Policies.

NSFA Executive Committee reviews standing policies every summer and identifies new priorities.  Members were also encouraged to provide input throughout the summer (July 2019 Farm Focus).  Our draft policies were passed by Council of Leaders at the September meeting and are now ready for review by membership.  You will find our draft paper online at nsfa-fane.ca/agm

Curious about our draft policies for the upcoming year?

Agricultural Land

Ensuring farmers have access to agricultural land is the primary objective behind this policy.  Actions on resources and strategies to keep agriculture land in production are driving the progress of this policy which is guided under the direction of the Agriculture Land Use Policy Committee.

Soil Health

Soil health is a new addition to the Standing Policies this year.  Farmers are already well aware of the importance of healthy soils; the purpose of this policy is to ensure healthy agriculture soils is a top priority with decision makers.  While the exact direction of the policy has yet to be determined, broad themes include lobbying for a comprehensive soil health improvement program, protection from top soil removal and strategies to mitigate against erosion.  NSFA has also heard from members regarding laboratory testing for soils.

Labour

NSFA’s labour policy has evolved over time.  Originally focusing on skills training for farm owners and employees, additions over time include addressing the labour gap with both domestic and foreign workers and clarifying regulations.  With the additions of the Labour Sector funding and progress made on a farm technician apprenticeship programs, the skills and information gap is starting to narrow.  A new commitment under the Labour Standing Policy this year is for NSFA to lobby for the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education to review the Labour Standings Code and the Minimum Wage Order with an agriculture lens to understand the full implications to agriculture.

Regulatory Alignment

It goes without saying that the regulatory burden farmers face adds time, money and often stress to any operation.  Consistent service delivery of inspectors throughout the province, clear interpretation of regulations and participation in opportunities to consult on changes as they apply to farm businesses are all elements for which NSFA will continue to lobby.

Transportation

Much like the Labour Standing Policy, Transportation is also heavily focused on addressing Agriculture’s uniqueness in using the roads.  With the passing of the Traffic Safety Act in the legislature and the following development of regulations, NSFA will ensure that Agriculture’s voice will be recognized in the development of the Traffic Safety Regulations.

Members will have an opportunity to provide feedback and vote on the Standing Policies at the NSFA AGM.  Those wishing to discuss the policies can feel free to contact the NSFA office.  These policies are also being presented at the County/Regional Federation AGMs throughout the fall months, keep an eye out for your local Federation’s Annual Meeting.  Also, be sure to watch for social media posts to like and share!

Standing policies are one tool that directs NSFA’s lobby efforts.  Resolutions brought forward by members and member organization to NSFA’s AGM and NSFA committee work also provide mechanisms for issues outside of standing policies to be addressed.   An annual report on the progress for the policies, resolutions and committees will be available in November ahead of our AGM which takes place on November 28th and 29th at the Best Western Glengarry in Truro.

Do these Standing Policies pique your interest? Is this the direction you would like to see the Federation take with our policy, lobbying and advocacy efforts? Be sure to attend our Annual Meeting where our members can have their say on NSFA policy, learn more about the draft policies for 2020 and learn more about challenges and triumphs for the agriculture industry in Nova Scotia.



Tim Marsh – Marsh Farms

Tim Marsh is a dairy farmer along the dykeland in Poplar Grove.  Tim milks 90 Holsteins, has a heard size of around 200 and farms 750 acres of land of which almost 300 acres is dyke land.  Before taking over the family farm in 2000, Tim graduated from Acadia University and was a Geologist for a gypsum mining company. Tim’s passion for geology and soils is evident – Tim is currently the Chair of Nova Scotia Soils and Crop Association and was also a Nova Scotia Representative on the Soil Conservation Council of Canada.  Tim was one of the original Directors on the Board of Dairy Farmers of Nova Scotia and has served as the Chair of Hants County Federation of Agriculture. Tim enjoys spending time with family – he and his wife Shelley often take grandkids to search for agate in the Bay of Fundy. Tim has three sons: Tyler, who is now driving trucks, Peter, who is at home on the farm, and his son Craig farms on PEI.

Tim joined the NSFA Executive 3 years ago.

“I was happy to take on a role with the Executive and give back to the industry that I love. Over the years this industry has given a lot to me and this is my chance to return the favour.”

Did you know that Tim and his family moved to Canada from England when he was just seven years old? Fulfilling their dream of owning their own property.

“One of the biggest things I’ve learned during my time on the Executive is about the other commodities in this province. For the majority of my farming career I was so focused on dairy and the dairy industry. It wasn’t until I joined the Executive that my eyes were opened to much more. Not only have my fellow Executive members taught me about their commodities, their farms and their issues – but so have our members. Talking and learning from everyone about their farms, their triumphs, and their challenges, has given me a better understanding. I love to learn and this gives me that opportunity.”

Want to get involved with the NSFA Executive? Click here to fill out a Committee Application form! 



Chris van den Heuvel – Fireblade Holsteins Ltd.

Chris van den Heuvel grew up on a dairy farm in Skye Glen, N.S. Along with his wife Karen, they are partnered with their son Jordan on a fourth-generation mixed dairy and beef operation in Port Hood, Cape Breton. Managing 160 head of cattle, they grow their own grass silage, corn silage, peas, oats, and barley for feed. Chris van den Heuvel is President of the Inverness/Victoria County Federation of Agriculture, Past President of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture, and currently Second Vice-President of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.

Chris started on the NSFA Executive Committee in the fall of 2010.

“I joined the NSFA Executive to be able to give back to an organization that has meant so much to the agricultural community. The NSFA provides an important voice for farmers whether its to others in the industry, other sectors, the government or the general public. I joined to make a positive contribution towards growing the industry and producing prosperity for all those that work directly in or affiliated with the agri-food sector.”

The experience of being on the NSFA Executive has been a tremendous one for Chris.

“It takes being on boards of this type to understand what it really takes to move an industry forward. The dedication and professionalism of both other board members and staff is unparalleled. I have learned a great deal, ranging from developing and shaping policy and board governance to understanding what’s happening in other parts of the sector other than my own. Being able to move on to the national level and become the first farmer from Nova Scotia elected to a Canadian Federation of Agriculture executive officer position has been a rewarding experience. But most of all, the friendships made along the way have had the most impact on me personally. The support within the industry is fantastic. That was proven after my accident and I have been unable to work at anywhere near the capacity I once was, but the ability to give back to the industry in some small way is a rewarding one that I will always be grateful for.”

Interested in joining the governing body of NSFA? Click here to fill out a Committee Application form! 

 



Lauren Park – Forest Hill Apiary

Lauren Park is a first-generation farmer who has been working in agriculture for a decade. She is a beekeeper, specializing in queen bee rearing, in the Gaspereau Valley. In addition to her farm, Forest Hill Apiary, Lauren manages the 2000 hive Cosman and Whidden Honey farm specializing in fruit pollination and honey production.

Lauren is active in a cross section of agriculture organizations. Presently a member of the Nova Scotia Young Farmers Forum, Lauren is passionate about ensuring young farmers are educated and have a strong voice in the industry.  Lauren is past president of the Beekeepers Association of Nova Scotia and has been involved in key initiatives to ensure a sustainable beekeeping industry in the future.

Lauren started on the NSFA Executive Committee in November 2017 and is currently in her second year on Executive.

When asked why she wanted to be on Executive she replied,

“I feel as farmers we often get caught up in the bubbles of our counties and commodities and as a farmer who works in a single commodity, I was really excited about the opportunity to take a step back and be able to represent this agriculture community as a whole. As a female and a young farmer, it is very important to me to have opportunity contribute to a gender balanced industry as a member of the next generation of farmers. “

This experience has provided Lauren with a broad window into the diversity of farming we have in this province.

“I love learning about the different commodity priorities and balancing the industry’s challenges and successes with the agriculture community as a whole. I am inspired by the similarities we as farmers all share and look forward to continuing to learn and support our industry.”

 

Interested in joining the governing body of NSFA? Click here to fill out a Committee Application form! 



Richard Melvin – Melvin Farms Ltd.

Richard Melvin is President and Co-owner of Melvin Farms Ltd., a five-generation family-owned farm located in the Annapolis Valley near Canning, Nova Scotia, specializing in the production of fresh vegetables for the Atlantic Canada market.

Richard graduated from Nova Scotia Agricultural College in 1976 with a diploma in Agricultural Engineering. In 1983, he was awarded a Nuffield Farming Scholarship, which allowed him to study vegetable production and marketing as well as agricultural policy in Europe.

Mr. Melvin has served as a director of the Center for Small Business and Entrepreneurship at Acadia University, Feed Nova Scotia, Agra Point International and the Nova Scotia Potato Marketing Board.

He has also served as president/chairperson of the Vegetable and Potato Producers Association of Nova Scotia, the Kings County Federation of Agriculture, Horticulture Nova Scotia, Atlantic Fresh Produce Association, Kings Produce Ltd., Kings Processing Ltd., Nova Scotia Food Policy Council, Farmworks Investment Cooperative, Agri Futures Nova Scotia and the Annapolis Valley Farmland Trust Society.

He and his wife, Jacqueline have 3 grown children currently residing in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and New Zealand. They are also proud grand parents to two grand children.

Richard served as a member of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture Executive from 2005 to 2012, and served as President in 2008 and 2009.

“I joined NSFA Executive because I feel it is a well-run organization that endeavours to make a positive difference in Nova Scotia, and in particular rural Nova Scotia.”

When asked what that experience provided him with, he replied,

 

“The experience of being involved with NSFA Executive was very positive and a high light of my farming career. It allowed me to meet and to work with many good motivated people from all segments of agriculture dealing with diverse issues and always looking to make a positive difference.”

Interested in joining the governing body of NSFA? Click here to fill out a Committee Application form! 



NSFA Outreach is Hiring!

The Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture (NSFA) is currently seeking a Program Coordinator to join its Outreach Team. The NSFA represents the interests of Nova Scotia’s farms and farmers. Today its members account for well over 90% of all agricultural production in Nova Scotia and brings together more than 2,400 individual farm businesses. The NSFA tackles policy issues that impact the prosperous and sustainable nature of the industry and takes an active role in supporting registered farms through delivery of programs and services. The NSFA prides itself in providing a passionate work environment and is a tight-knit supportive group encouraging collaboration and sharing of ideas.

The Public Trust Program Coordinator will be part of a dedicated team supporting the farm community. This position will coordinate the public trust programming, which is aimed at increasing public trust in the agriculture industry.  The Program Coordinator will play a key role in development of tools and resources to support farmers in telling their stories along with development educational resources and campaigns targeted to the public.

 

Application deadline: October 15th, 2019

Job Posting



#Vote4Ag

Do your part and get informed about your candidates and the party platforms

How to the main parties compare on issues, CBC News provided a comparison created a link, click here

Did you miss the CFA National Agriculture Debate?  Check it out on youtube

 

 



Canada is a world leader in diversity of food grown and produced

Ask for support on local food security:

Don’t forget to share your own farm story

  • Available agricultural land means more opportunity for farms to grow high quality food for Canadians. Bringing this agricultural land into production has the potential to increase food security in Nova Scotia.
  • There are programs for farmers that are cost shared between the federal and provincial governments.  These programs help farmers with costs for projects that they wouldn’t be able to get back in the market place.  Some of these projects include food safety, environment and value-added products


Canada’s Agri-Food Industry drive our national economy

Messages to support Agriculture’s economic importance:

  • Agricultural Land is essential to the start-up and growth of every farm. Nova Scotia has substantial opportunity to increase production with acres of under-utilized agriculture classed soils. Bringing agricultural land into production has the potential to increase the GDP in Nova Scotia.
  • In rural Nova Scotia, we’re experiencing a labour gap. If met, the gap could contribute an addition $33 million to our GDP.   Farms are adjusting to this by using new technologies that don’t require as much labour or hiring through the Temporary Foreign Worker and the Seasonal Agriculture Worker Programs.
  • Under the current tax system, a company get’s a better tax break when buying my farm than a family member who buys the farm. Also, because of capital intensity of owning a farm, the capital gains exemption is quickly used up when a new entrant buys into the farm.  We are looking for government support to help us make farm transitions easier so they stay in the family.
  • We have been facing more severe weather events with Hurricane Dorian being the most recent. The cost-shared programs between the federal and provincial government help farmers when margins are tight because of these storms and other unpredictable events.

Don’t forget to share your own farm story



events

  1. Nova Scotia Wild Blueberry Conference and Annual Meeting of the Wild Blueberry Producers’ Association of Nova Scotia

    November 14 @ 8:00 am - November 15 @ 5:00 pm
  2. Digby County Federation of Agriculture Annual Meeting

    November 14 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
  3. Cumberland County Federation of Agriculture Annual Meeting

    November 14 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
  4. Antigonish Guysborough Federation of Agriculture Annual Meeting

    November 21 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
  5. Sheep Producers Association of Nova Scotia Annual Meeting

    November 23 @ 9:30 am - 3:00 pm

contact

7 Atlantic Central Drive
East Mountain, N.S.
B6L 2Z2

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