PRINCE WILLIAM (GNB) – The provincial government is helping a new owner add six acres of high-density apple trees in Prince William.

“Our government is committed to supporting innovation and growth in our province’s agriculture sector,” said Agriculture, Mines and Rural Affairs Minister Andrew Harvey, who made the announcement today at Hoyt Orchards. “Supporting the production of local foods and helping new entrants in the agriculture industry are key components of our government’s Economic Growth Plan.”

Hoyt Orchards, in Prince William, supports employment of up to 20 people by selling apples wholesale and direct to consumers.

“We are thankful for the support we have from the government as we work to continue to develop this sector thanks to innovative new practices,” said Michael O’Blenis, the new owner. “We are proud to carry on the legacy that the Hoyt family built through six generations of hard work and commitment to quality.”

O’Blenis purchased the farm last year. The Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries offers a variety of programs to support development opportunities for farmers, including the Perennial Crop Establishment Loan.

A repayable loan of $112,500 is being provided to help the farm add six acres of high-density orchard to its operation, the bulk of it Honeycrisps. The new trees are being planted using modern methods and tree varieties that increase the amount of crop produced per acre and begin providing crops within two years after planting.

The addition of the new acreage and varieties is expected to lead to increased hiring in the coming years.

“This is great news. This is an investment that will help the farm continue to grow for the long term, so it can continue to thrive and play a role in our community,” said Eugene Hoyt, the former owner who continues to manage the farm.

The New Brunswick Economic Growth Plan is the provincial government’s plan to grow the economy and create job opportunities. It outlines how the government will mobilize to ensure there is a co-ordinated, complementary effort to improve New Brunswick’s economy and realize maximum benefits.

The New Brunswick apple industry has a history of more than 100 years of commercial production. Apple production occurs on about 200 hectares (500 acres) of apples in two main areas: South East region (Cocagne / Memramcook area) and the Central region (St. John River Valley from Woodstock to Gagetown / Queenstown). The industry’s economic value is estimated at $3 million dollars annually. In addition to fresh fruit, growers offer a wide range of food, drinks and on-farm activities to the consumer.

Farming in New Brunswick… A Road Map for New Entrants, is a reference manual to assist those who are interested in a career in farming access services and information. It includes a list of the licences and permits required for various types of farming operations, with instructions on how to obtain them, as well as information about developing a business plan and identifying markets.