Support up for ranching loan guarantees
QUESNEL – The B.C government will increase the maximum guarantee limit to $15 million for two popular loan guarantee programs for the B.C. ranching industry, Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes announced today on behalf of Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick.
The loan guarantee programs have been so successful that several regional co-operative associations have reached their current maximum loan limits. The increase, from $9.75 million, will allow industry to finance additional cattle purchases to build inventories with the goal of benefiting from the current strong North America cattle prices. It is anticipated the increase will also support the expansion of planned co-operative associations for Vancouver Island and the Kootenays.
The Bred Heifer Association Loan Guarantee and Feeder Association Loan Guarantee programs support 12 regional producer-owned co-operative associations located throughout B.C. The program, now in its 26th year, strengthens the B.C. livestock sector by helping the local associations negotiate favourable loans for the purchase of feeder and breeder cattle on behalf of their members.
Call for tree fruit replant funding applications
British Columbia’s tree fruit growers looking to replant orchards with high-value, high-quality fruit varieties in 2017 can apply for B.C. government funding now.
The funding is part of the B.C. government’s seven-year, $9.4-millon tree fruit replant program to help B.C. growers plan and take advantage of local and international market opportunities for high-value B.C. apples and cherries.
The program received a million-dollar boost in June 2016, which will result in about 25 additional farmers replanting 120 hectares this year, and more in the years to come. At least 647 hectares (1,600 acres) will be replanted under the program by 2021, providing more than 2,600 jobs each year for the Okanagan.
Application packages are available at: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/programs/treefruit-replant-program
Local food support for low-incomers
KELOWNA – Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick announced $1 million towards the successful Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon program, which helps lower-income families, seniors and pregnant women continue to have easier access to healthy foods.
Each week, program participants receive $15 worth of coupons that can be used at one of the 63 participating B.C. markets, which doesn’t include Vanderhoof but does include Prince George markets.
The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon program runs for 16 weeks, from June through October, and is administered by the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets.