Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture

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: 

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.


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

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.


For more information:
Maxine MacLean
Policy and Communications Coordinator
Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture
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.

Small Farms Abandoned

Most farms neglected under new provincial programs

Truro, NS
 – Programs recently released under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership agreement for Nova Scotia Farmers are limiting, at best.

On April 16, Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture announced five programs to “support sustainable growth of Nova Scotia’s agriculture and agri-food sectors”.  There are major flaws in the eligibility for these programs.  The most obvious change from past programs is the increase of farm revenue minimum to $30,000 from $10,000. Leaders in the Agriculture Industry were assured by a representative from the Department of Agriculture at meeting in February that a program to support the growth of farms with gross revenue under $30,000 was in the works to be released. NSFA is disappointed to see that the program isn’t yet available.

“Programs under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership should play a meaningful role in farm development and industry growth,” said Victor Oulton, President of Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture. “The potential for industry growth is significant, especially with more than 50% of farms generating under $30,000 in gross farm revenue.  The exclusion of these farms from programs is a great barrier to the growth of the agriculture industry.”

In addition to the increase in minimum gross farm revenue, specific program details are alarming.  Based on the financial assistance available under the Soil & Water Sustainability program, it is evident that protecting the environment is not a priority of the government. For other programs, eligible items and activity indirectly hamper any growth in many sectors.  For example, the Missions and Investigative Travel program applies to farms that are export ready, which precludes all meat processed in Nova Scotia abattoirs.

“A healthy environment is a public good.  All farms should have equal access to funding for qualified projects that support efforts in protecting the environment,” expressed Oulton.

Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture hopes to see appropriate changes to the programs under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership in the very near future.


For more information:
Maxine MacLean
Policy and Communications Coordinator
Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture
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.

NSFA Sends Delegation to National Meeting

Trade, Canadian Agricultural Partnership and Climate to be hot topics

Bible Hill, NS – Nova Scotia farmers will have representation at the Canadian Federation of Agriculture AGM taking place this week in Ottawa.

Under the theme “Partnering for Success” the meeting agenda features topics such as international trade negotiations, economic growth strategies, and newly announced government programs.  CFA is also hosting a symposium on research and best practices in mental health in agricultural communities.  An announcement will also be made on a new partnership and an awards initiative for farmers who show leadership in the area of mental health.

“Working with farmers throughout Canada to identify, prioritize and address issues at a national level demonstrates solidarity across the industry,” said NSFA President, Victor Oulton.

While in Ottawa, NSFA representatives Victor Oulton, Tim Marsh, Chris van den Heuvel and Henry Vissers will partner with representatives from the additional three Atlantic Federations of Agriculture to meet with Federal Minister of Agriculture, Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, to discuss topics with a national scope relevant to Atlantic Canada.

“Many changes are happening at the national level which will have an impact on farms.  Carbon pricing and taxation of private corporations are just a couple of topics we look forward to discussing with Minister MacAulay this week,” elaborated Oulton.

More information on meeting details can be found on the CFA website.


For more information:
Maxine MacLean
Policy and Communications Coordinator
Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture
Phone: (902) 890-1891

Farm Technician Apprenticeship Program Needs Assessment

The Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture with the funding support of NSDA ThinkFARM is working with Gary Morton (SKU Foods Inc) and your local Agriculture Resource Coordinators to better understand the need and commitment from farmers for a Farm Apprenticeship Technician Program in Nova Scotia.

There are many reports and statistics that highlight the local labour market in Nova Scotia, the skill needs, and labour demands as agriculture moves forward into the future.  There are also a variety of options to fulfill the challenges, one of them being to establish a Blue Seal Farm Technician Apprenticeship Program like the one currently in Prince Edward Island, where classroom training components are delivered by Dalhousie University.

The NSFA and the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency want to better understand your impression, interest and commitment to an apprenticeship program specific to general farm labour in Nova Scotia.

There will be five focus group sessions across the province and if this topic is of interest, you are encouraged to either contact your local Agriculture Resource Coordinator (ARC) or contact Gary Morton at 902-670-3992 for participation details.

The dates are confirmed as follows:

Monday, January 29 – 1:00 – 3:00p.m.
Antigonish, Eastern Region Boardroom, 190 Beech Hill Road, Antigonish

Wednesday, January 31 –1:00 – 3:00
Kentville Research Station, Cornwallis Room, 32 Main Street, Kentville

Thursday, February 1 –10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
Truro Lorraine Building, 74 Research Drive

Friday, February 2 –1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Cornwallis/Annapolis, 173 Haida St, Cornwallis Park

Tuesday, February 6 –1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Baddeck , Provincial building in Baddeck, 2 Campbell Street


There is also an online survey as part of the process and we would value your participation, please use the link below:



  1. Meet Your Farmer at the Mall

    August 24 @ 10:00 am - August 25 @ 6:00 pm
  2. Open Farm Day 2018

    September 16


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

Phone – 902-893-2293
Fax – 902-893-7063