FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government says an abundance of natural resources and competitive land prices make New Brunswick the perfect place for new farmers to establish themselves in a growing, profitable industry.

Agriculture is part of the province’s history and a major contributor to its economy. New Brunswick is one of the world’s largest producers of blueberries, potatoes and frozen foods. In 2015, there were 13,000 people employed in agriculture and farming across New Brunswick, generating $570 million in food production.

“Our strong agricultural sector has traditionally been anchored in generations of family farmers. However, in recent years, that pipeline for new farmers has declined,” said Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Rick Doucet. “At the same time, the local GDP contribution for crop, animal and food production has increased, creating a need for new farmers in the province and opportunities for further economic growth.”

Attracting new farmers is part of the New Brunswick Economic Growth Plan. The aim is to recruit farmers from within the province, across the country and around the world to build on the momentum New Brunswick has established in agriculture and food production.

“As the value of New Brunswick agriculture exports continues to rise and the price of land in the province remains competitive, we have an opportunity to capitalize on the 21st century agricultural industry to create jobs and grow revenue,” said Doucet. “These are priorities for our government and they will contribute to a better quality of life for all New Brunswickers.”

The Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries will lead the government’s efforts in this area with support from other departments. External stakeholders, industry associations and rural communities will also be involved in developing agricultural opportunities based on local assets.

The economic growth plan, which sets out a framework intended to move New Brunswick forward, is available online. New Brunswick Growth Opportunity: Finding New Farmers can also be found online.