AGCanada.com – A support program for Quebec farmers to convert crop, livestock or maple syrup operations to organic production will get an extension.
Provincial Agriculture Minister Laurent Lessard on Feb. 20 announced the three-year, $4 million organic agriculture conversion support program set up in June 2015 will now run to the end of March 2022.
The program offers up to $20,000 per crop operation and $20,000 per livestock operation.
The program has provided support for over 250 farms since its launch, Lessard said, backing the conversion of almost 4,000 hectares and over 2.6 million maple syrup taps.
“Carrying forward the expiry date of this program will allow producers who are starting to convert or are converting to organic to continue the process, and we’ll be there to accompany them,” Lessard said.
Grain, oilseed and pulse growers can get $100 per hectare in each of the pre-certification and certification stages. Forage and pastures are similarly eligible for $25 per hectare; horticulture producers, $2,500 per hectare; greenhouse growers, 50 cents per square metre; and maple syrup growers, five cents per tap.
Livestock producers, meanwhile, can get support worth up to 50 per cent of admissible costs toward renovating their barns and operations to organic standards.
“While we have noted for some years an increasing demand from consumers for organic products, the majority of those offered in the Quebec market are still sourced from outside the province,” Lessard said.
The province’s organic strategy, he said, is meant to help entrepreneurs better respond to market demands and thus meet consumers’ expectations.