Today, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food is at the Canadian Young Farmers Forum to speak with young leaders in the Canadian agriculture sector to discuss the challenges and opportunities they face and how the federal Government is committed to supporting them and giving them a voice at the decision-making table.
This follows Minister Bibeau’s roundtable discussion with students and faculty at Dalhousie’s Agricultural Campus in Truro, Nova Scotia, where she spoke to the young women and men from one of Eastern Canada’s leading agriculture skills-training colleges.
Minister Bibeau updated these groups with the soon to be announced membership of the first-ever Canadian Agricultural Youth Council. Over 800 youth applied and membership is being finalized with the first meeting tentatively scheduled for this spring. The Youth Council will provide invaluable advice on the concerns and aspirations of young people across the sector, looking at everything from business risk management programs, sustainable agriculture and market diversification, to science and innovation, intergenerational farm transfers and mental health. Those youth not selected will be invited to form a focus group for ad hoc consultations with the Minister and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
Minister Bibeau highlighted other ways in which the Government of Canada is working hard to support youth in pursuing rewarding careers in the Agriculture sector, including:
- the ongoing work done with the Minister of Finance and farmers on tax measures to facilitate the intergenerational transfer of farms.
- the hundreds of job opportunities that are opening as a result of last summer’s $3.75 million investment in the Youth Employment and Skills Program.
- the recently launched expanded suite of preferential-rate loan programs by Farm Credit Canada for young producers and food entrepreneurs.
- the work happening in close collaboration with the Provinces and Territories to improve Business Risk Management programs so they work better for producers, including youth.
“Canada’s young farmers are the future of farming and vital to the sector’s continued competitiveness. Our Government is creating opportunities for young Canadians from across the agriculture and agri-food sector so they can build rewarding careers. I look forward to working closely with young leaders through my youth council and hearing more from Canada’s young women and men in agriculture. After all, the future belongs to them.”
– The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
“Young people should be part of the decision making process and the Canadian Agricultural Youth Council is an innovative way to have these voices shared. The Council members’ insights will be integral in keeping an open and ongoing dialogue on the opportunities and challenges of the agricultural sector. The Government of Canada supports youth entrepreneurship and is committed to encouraging business development in the next generation.”
– The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth
More than 800 applications were received for the new Canadian Agricultural Youth Council during the application period (Jan 24-Feb 14).
The Government of Canada is investing $492 million through Employment and Social Development’s Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS) program for over 270 projects across Canada to help young people facing barriers to employment.
The Farm Credit Canada (FCC) Young Farmer Loan gives preferential rates of up to $1 million for young farmers up to 39 years old.
FCC’s Young Entrepreneur Loan gives special rates of up to $1 million for agri-food business owners up to 39 years old.
The FCC Starter Loan of up to $50,000 is offered at preferential rates, with no fees and is available to both primary producers and agri-businesses, for applicants 18-25 years old.