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Canada, B.C. supporting new and young farmers

Press Release

Oct. 31, 2023

VICTORIA – New and small-scale farmers will be able to grow their businesses and help strengthen food security in their communities with the launch of the New Entrant Farm Business Accelerator Program.

“Young farmers are the future of Canada’s agriculture and agrifood sectors, and it’s important that we support them,” said Lawrence MacAulay, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “Investments through this program will provide more farmers in British Columbia with the tools they need to succeed and contribute to a strong, local food supply.”

Farmers can apply for the first phase of the program, which provides support for business planning and a growth strategy. The second phase will support the implementation of that growth strategy and includes funding for on-farm infrastructure and equipment, such as greenhouses, tractors and irrigation systems.

“We recognize the barriers that new and young farmers face, which is why this program is so important for growing farm businesses and helping B.C. entrepreneurs flourish,” said Pam Alexis, B.C. Minister of Agriculture and Food. “By providing this support, farmers can map out their future and then purchase what they need to succeed as a business, while also strengthening the economy and food supply in their communities.”

The new program is an update to the Small Farm Business Acceleration Pilot Program launched in 2020 as part of the Province’s COVID-19 Stronger BC economic recovery plan. It supported more than 60 farmers. The updated program builds on the success of the pilot and provides support to farmers so they can grow diverse farm businesses throughout B.C.

The pilot program supported operations such as Puzzlegrass Farm in the Naramata region, owned and operated by first-generation farmers Erin Abercrombie and Madison Whale. The women operate a community-supported agriculture program from the farm. They received support to help buy materials to build a small farm-store outlet, a shed and a seedling greenhouse to increase vegetable production.

New orchardists Trent Mason and Emily Chambers, who own Blue Canoe Orchards in Creston, also received funding from the pilot program to purchase a tractor. This helped them increase sales and productivity from their orchard with almost 900 cherry trees.

Applications for the first phase of the program will be accepted Oct. 31 until Nov. 30, 2023, or until funds are fully allocated. Applicants who complete Phase 1 are eligible to apply for Phase 2 funding.

The program is receiving $600,000 through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year (April 1, 2023 until March 31, 2028), $3.5-billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen the competitiveness, innovation and resilience of the agriculture, agrifood and agriculture‐based products sector. This includes $1 billion in federal programs and activities and a $2.5-billion commitment that is cost-shared 60% federally and 40% provincially/territorially for programs that are designed and delivered by provinces and territories.


Madison Whale, owner/operator, Puzzlegrass Farm –

“The funding from the program allowed us to build infrastructure on our farm that was necessary to grow our business. Not only did it improve our farm, but we were able to hire a contractor who was able to start her own business as well. For that we are so grateful.”

Emily Chambers, owner/operator, Blue Canoe Orchards –

“We are extremely grateful for the support from the pilot program that helped us purchase a new tractor, which is essential to our day-to-day operations at Blue Canoe Orchards. This has helped us work towards our goals of production and value-added activities.”

Quick Facts:

  • The pilot program supported 64 applicants in 54 different communities: 36% were under the age of 35; 73% identified as women; 11% self-identified as Indigenous; 5% as having a disability; and 73% as having farmed for less than five years.
  • Other participants in the pilot program used the funding to invest in on-farm infrastructure such as greenhouses, tractors, irrigation systems, a flash freezer and cold storage, pens for smaller animals such as chickens and hogs, and a rainwater harvesting system.
  • A New Entrant Farm Business is defined as a farm that has not reported farm income for more than five years.
  • The B.C. Agri-Business Planning Program is also open to applications to support agricultural producers and food-and-beverage processors with agri-business skills, leadership development and specialized planning, such as disaster preparedness and recovery.

Learn More:

For application intake for the B.C. Agri-Business Planning Program, visit:

New Entrant Farm Business Accelerator program information:


Dave Townsend
Media Relations
Ministry of Agriculture and Food
250 356-7098
250 889-5945 (mobile)

Annie Cullinan
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Media Relations
613 773-7972
1 866 345-7972


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