The Honourable Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Honourable Gerry Byrne, Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources, toured Cornerstone Farm in Cormack today to view how a local dairy farm is expanding its milking herd with help from a $400,000-investment from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (The Partnership). Combined with the Provincial Agrifoods Assistance Program (PAAP), more than $8 million has been invested to support the province’s agriculture sector.
Eric and Michelle Spears of Cornerstone Farm entered the dairy industry in 2005 with a herd of 40 milking cows and have been steadily increasing their herd ever since, recently upgrading their operation to include a free-stall milking barn partially funded by the Partnership. The new WOLF System barn, purchased through ThermoEnergy Structures Inc., incorporates innovative temperature, air and lighting controls, resulting in optimal comfort for animals and significant energy efficiencies. The new barn will help the Spears achieve their goal of expanding Cornerstone Farm’s milking herd to 175 animals, and will support food self-sufficiency and economic growth in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Partnership projects focus on new entrants, secondary processing, food self-sufficiency, climate change, and risk mitigation for the agriculture industry, and support innovation and environmental sustainability. Since April 1, 2019, the Partnership has committed $6.8 million to 100 projects in Newfoundland and Labrador, including 39 projects approved to assist 30 new entrants – people who intend to establish a new agri-business in the province or have operated an existing agri-business for less than six years.
A total of 121 projects were approved under the Partnership in the 2018-19 fiscal year, with total expenditures of $5.8 million. Twenty-nine new entrant projects received $958,458 in funding. The Partnership is a federal-provincial-territorial initiative that is providing $37 million over five years to the Newfoundland and Labrador agriculture and agri-food industry.
The Provincial Agrifoods Assistance Program (PAAP) has also committed approximately $1 million for 62 land development projects since April 1, 2019 and approximately $788,000 for 29 agriculture infrastructure projects. Recently supported infrastructure projects under this program have been used for beef, fruit and vegetable production.
“Canada’s dairy producers are vital to our rural communities, and work hard every day to provide us with high-quality and safe products. By investing in new technologies and innovative products such as these, the Government of Canada is supporting a more prosperous future for our farmers.”
– Gudie Hutchings, Member of Parliament for Long Range Mountains on behalf of the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
“Michelle and Eric Spears’ work at Cornerstone Farm is one of many stellar examples of how farmers and producers are collaborating with the Provincial and Federal Governments to continue strengthening Newfoundland and Labrador’s agriculture sector. This investment into the Spears’ dairy business will help achieve targets set out in The Way Forward and Agriculture Sector Work Plan to increase food self-sufficiency and secondary processing of food products – but more importantly, it’s an investment into a bright, prosperous future for a homegrown agriculture business.”
– Honourable Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador
“Behind every one of our agricultural programs are hard-working, innovative people like Michelle and Eric Spears supporting and advancing our province’s farming heritage. Cornerstone Farm’s dairy operation is building on years of experience and using innovation and technology to take this industry to the next level, and we’re pleased to provide opportunities for growth in this exciting and vibrant industry.”
– Honourable Gerry Byrne, Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources
“Funding from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership is helping to further expand our dairy operation so we can do our part to advance Newfoundland and Labrador’s dairy industry and the Provincial Government’s plan for food self-sufficiency. We are proud to offer high-quality, fresh milk to the marketplace and are pleased to be expanding our operation using new, cutting-edge technology in the dairy sector.”
– Michelle and Eric Spears, Cornerstone Farm