Progressive Conservative Agriculture Critic John Lohr is disappointed that the Liberal Minister for Agriculture, Keith Colwell, hasn’t released the programs that support farmers. The programs have been unnecessarily closed for over a month now.
Lohr is particularly concerned about small farms, those with a gross revenue of $30,000 or less which were completely abandoned by the minister.
“Ignoring small farms is a big mistake,” says Lohr. “These farms have been severely curtailed in their ability to access funding and family farms are a key part of our agriculture sector in Nova Scotia. I call on Minister Colwell to do the right thing and immediately release a provincial program for these farms.”
Last month, Lohr asked the minister to meet with the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture to address both the 30-day freeze on funding, as well as the limitations on small farms. The 30-day freeze has lapsed and no program has been announced.
Data released Monday from Statistics Canada shows Nova Scotia farms lost $25 million in 2017 and had the worst financial performance in the country.
“I’m concerned for the sector. By ignoring small farms and seemingly abandoning them all together, this situation is bound to get worse,” says Lohr. “The minister is sending the wrong message to farmers. Farmers deserve answers now.”
Lohr points out that planting season is well underway and these farmers are working sun up to sun down. It’s inexcusable that the minister is leading them on with false promises of help being on the way and then serving farmers radio silence.
The PC Caucus will continue to advocate and push for a strong, prosperous agriculture sector.