FREDERICTON (GNB) – The Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries is investing $102,250 in an initiative that will help increase food and feed production on the province’s farmland.

The project, led by LP Consulting, will identify and analyze local, high-quality and affordable industrial byproducts that could be used by farmers to improve soil fertility, soil health and productivity.

“We have heard from farmers and producers and they need more land, and more productive land, in order for New Brunswick agriculture to be sustainable and profitable,” said Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Margaret Johnson. “I am pleased that work will be done to identify waste materials that can improve the productivity of our soils at a potentially lower cost than some other products currently available.”

Industrial byproducts currently used for agricultural purposes include compost, wood ash, fish byproducts and lime mud. Many of these can be found throughout the province and, after testing and research, may be available for farmlands to help improve productivity.

The funding for this initiative is part of a $1.5 million increase in the department’s 2021-22 budget to help improve food self-sufficiency.

This project is in line with the department’s Local Food and Beverages Strategy 2021-2025. The four-year action plan aims to benefit the agriculture, agri-food and seafood sectors across the province and has three core pillars: Grow NB, Buy NB and Feed NB.