MONCTON (GNB) – A new website that will connect prospective farmers with a “one-stop shop” to help them investigate opportunities in the sector was officially launched today. AgriStartNB will also benefit existing farmers who are looking to expand their operations.

The website provides information on available government programs, equipment, labour and training, commodities and markets. It also has an on-line directory that will bring together people looking for farms and farmland and those leasing or selling it.

“Generations of hardworking farmers have made New Brunswick’s agriculture sector the success it is today,” said Agriculture, Mines and Rural Affairs Minister Wilfred Roussel. “Our province has everything a new farmer could want: welcoming communities, an abundant supply of clean water and good, fertile land at relatively affordable prices. We are pleased to be doing our part to help the next generation of farmers explore opportunities to establish themselves and thrive here in New Brunswick.”

Funding for the initiative was provided by the federal and provincial governments through Growing Forward 2.

“The Government of Canada understands the importance of agriculture in New Brunswick and we are committed to ensuring that the next generation of farmers have a successful transition into the sector,” said federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor. “This initiative will help provide New Brunswick’s young farmers and new entrants with the information they need to lead the future growth of the sector and will help create good, well-paying jobs.”

Petitpas Taylor spoke on behalf of federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay.

AgriStartNB complements the provincial government’s New Entrants Road Map for new farmers which provides links to important resources, contacts, and various programs currently available.

To develop the online directory, the Agricultural Alliance of New Brunswick surveyed producers and realtors to identify farmland for sale or lease.

“Whether you are starting out and want to learn more about the agricultural sector, or you are looking to find new opportunities within the industry such as succession or selling or renting farmland, AgriStartNB will be your go-to website for information and support,” said Agricultural Alliance president Christian Michaud. “It is an initiative that our organization is very proud of. What is great about this is that the website will be continuously updated as materials and programs become available.”

Producers now have the opportunity to add their listings directly into the website. Listing information can include land identification, acreage, soil type, area, commodity, price and whether the land is being sold or leased privately or through a realtor.

Growing Forward 2 was recently replaced by the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year program that will see the federal and provincial governments provide $37 million in investment for new, innovative agriculture programs.

Supporting the production of local foods and helping new entrants in the agriculture industry are key components of the New Brunswick Economic Growth Plan. It 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.