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Growing Forward

Home Grown Success Programs

Innovation and Commercialization of New Opportunities
for Agri-based Products

The goal of this program is to increase the competitiveness and profitability of the Nova Scotia agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector by supporting the innovation and commercialization of new opportunities. This program provides support to projects demonstrating readiness to advance a technology that is approaching market readiness, as well as pre-research activities to investigate and develop potential new innovations (e.g., products, processing), markets and business opportunities.

Technology Development Program
The Technology Development  program supports the development and adaptation of new and leading agricultural technologies and knowledge that will enhance the competitive position of Nova Scotia's agriculture and agri-food industry. Growing Forward supports Technology Development projects in the areas of production and product innovation as well as environmental research.

Supporting the Innovative Capacity of Farmers
This initiative will provide funds to farmers, groups of farmers and commodity associations to support investments in the development or adaptation of technical innovations in primary agriculture, which contribute to on-farm profitability and competitiveness. Critical to the effectiveness of this program will be the dissemination of knowledge gained through these projects. Under this initiative, emphasis will be placed on smaller-scale projects not funded through existing programming. Eligible activities include the assessment or adoption of a piece of specialized equipment, new technology or best management practice to primary agriculture as well as variety, cultivar and management trials.

Business Development Theme:
The Business Development theme supports the development of the agri-food sector by providing business information, programs and services. The programs and services in this theme area build awareness of the benefits and encourage the use of sound business management practices. They also enable businesses to be profitable and invest where needed to manage the natural resource base sustainably and to produce and market safe food and other products. Initiatives include human resource development and sound business management and planning to address marketing; human resource, production and financial issues; and promote growth in the broader agriculture and food industry. 

  • Business Development and Market Enhancement: Enables the agriculture sector to become proactive in business development, resulting in improved business management, knowledge and skills, thus increasing the adoption of best management practices. This initiative provides funding to assist in building business management capacity. Projects funded should help business managers improve management practices, identify and develop new markets and opportunities, and effectively manage risks and resources.

  • ThinkFarm: A committee has been established within the Department of Agriculture to develop and implement a strategy to attract and support new entrants to Nova Scotia's agriculture industry. This initiative includes assessing what is needed to attract new entrants. Programming will also target audiences outside the traditional agricultural sectors. For further information about this initiative, contact the chair, New Entrants Committee.

  • Agricultural Awareness: Agricultural Awareness activities will focus on promoting a positive image for agriculture by highlighting farm level practices that speak to the general public's interest in their food source and to raise the awareness and profile of agricultural career opportunities. For further information on this initiative, contact the department’s Agriculture Awareness Coordinator.
  • Single Window and Navigation Pathfinding Support for On-Farm Development Initiative: A committee within the department will investigate and implement projects designed to improve and expand the province’s front end advisory capacity to assist producers and agri-businesses in assessing their specific development needs, including business development. For further information on this initiative, contact the chair, Single Window Committee.

Graduate Research Training Initiative: This scholarship initiative encourages highly-qualified students to undertake graduate studies, thus building a professional capacity to meet the future needs of Nova Scotia's agri-food industry. The objective of this program is to provide financial support to graduate students at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College whose research is of benefit to Nova Scotia’s agriculture and agri-food industry in one of the three strategic priority areas: a competitive and innovative sector; a sector that contributes to society's priorities; a sector that is proactive in managing risks.

A Sector that Contributes to Society's Priorities

Environmental Farm Plan Program: The Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) is a voluntary program that helps farmers identify and assess environmental risk on their property. It allows farmers to be proactive on environmental issues and incorporate environmental considerations into their everyday business decisions. Farmers work with an EFP program coordinator to develop a confidential environmental farm plan for their operation. Farmers with completed EFPs are eligible to apply for federal and provincial cost-shared funding to implement beneficial management practices. The EFP program is delivered through the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture (NSFA).

Beneficial Management Practices (BMPs): Canada and Nova Scotia recognize that agriculture relies on healthy soil, water, and biodiversity profiles for its long term sustainable productivity. They also value the important role the industry plays in sustaining and replenishing our natural environment. A number of Beneficial Management Practices (BMPs) have been identified in four areas: water, soil, product and waste management, and energy conservation.

Farm Energy Specialist: The objective of this initiative is to protect the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through research and the adoption of energy conservation and alternate energy systems. A farm energy specialist will help farmers in assessing energy usage (i.e. electricity and heating fuel) on their farm and identify measures that can make their farm more energy efficient. Education, awareness and pilot projects will also be undertaken. Particular emphasis will be placed on the adoption of technologies which reduce energy requirements of the farm, as well as those which utilize waste produced through the production process. To arrange for an energy assessment, contact the department’s farm energy specialist.

Quality Assurance Theme: The Quality Assurance theme supports critical programs to facilitate early adoption of food safety systems, national traceability systems and national biosecurity systems. This theme focuses on enhancing the safety and security of Canada’s and Nova Scotia’s food safety systems. It also recognizes the need to minimize the occurrence and extent of risk incidents with programs that enable the sector to be proactive in managing risk.

Regulatory Compliance: Food and Farm Safety assists in providing a safe environment for farm employees. Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) activities support on-farm compliance issues based on OH&S regulations. It also assists in providing a safe food supply for the public. All projects that address internationally recognized food safety process control systems (e.g., Hazard Analysis at Critical Control Points (HACCP)) and other food safety measures must be supported by a qualified professional assessment based on licensing and legislated requirements. Eligible food safety activities are based on either federal/provincial regulations, food safety guidelines, or internationally recognized food safety process control systems.

Food Safety Implementation: Activities funded under the on-farm and post-farm food safety programs below must be based on food safety guidelines and/or federal/provincial regulations.

  • On-Farm Food Safety: This program helps farmers meet market demands and sell more products by supporting the adoption of practices that improve food safety on farms. This program, for both slaughter/meat processing operations and non-meat operations, provides financial support for activities such as HACCP development, implementation and first certification audits as well as for food contact surfaces, hand washing units, monitoring devices, etc.
  • Post-Farm Food Safety: Funding is available to assist agri-businesses, both slaughter/meat processing operations and non-meat operations, with direct costs of addressing food compliance issues, including HACCP related expenditures and capital costs required to meet HACCP standards (e.g., consultant fees, monitoring equipment to meet HACCP, non-contact hand washing units).

Food Safety Outreach Initiative: Nova Scotia's outreach program will involve projects designed to promote the adoption of food safety systems by industry (including non-registered facilities), educate stakeholders on food safety systems, and facilitate the communication and collaboration among the food safety coordinator, primary products food safety inspectors, and food safety specialists (certified public health inspectors) within the department. It will provide tools and information to stakeholders on food safety systems. The program will provide outreach and training for:

  • producers (on-farm food safety) to meet national commodity standards and, in the absence of national standards, it will provide outreach and training for producers in general food safety principles;
  • new entrants, both producers and agri-businesses;
  • producers and agri-businesses transitioning into a new area or to a novel area for their product or commodity; and
  • non-registered meat facilities to move toward implementation of national standards and, in the absence of approved national standards toward draft national standards, or CODEX.

For further information on this initiative, contact Food Protection and Enforcement.

A Sector that is Proactive in Managing Risk

Traceability: Growing Forward has a focus on assisting farmers respond to market demands and improve risk management by supporting the acquisition of infrastructure to track animals, plants and products. provide funding to farmers and agri-businesses, transporters, service industries, processors, distributors and retailers, community pasture groups, livestock exhibitions, sales barns, and others to assist in the purchase and installation of traceability infrastructure and the training of staff to implement traceability systems. Pilot projects will also be funded through Nova Scotia’s Traceability Infrastructure program.

Biosecurity: An initiative to provide and enhance biosecurity systems and processes to support the early adoption of biosecurity systems. Priority will be given to industry-developed and government-approved biosecurity systems. However, this initiative will also provide funding for industries that are in the process of having a biosecurity system developed and approved, or to any industry that is interested in increasing biosecurity on farm. Funding will be used to deliver biosecurity awareness seminars, workshops and training to industry; disseminate biosecurity kits; and conduct pilot projects on farm to be used as a model/demonstration of the implementation of industry-developed and government-approved biosecurity systems. Further information on Nova Scotia’s biosecurity implementation initiative can be obtained from the department’s program veterinarian.


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  Last Update: December 7, 2012