On February 7, the NFU-NB was present at the 2017-18 provincial budget lock in. The NFU-NB had made a submission in December 2016 with our recommendations. They included:
- Financial backing to bring the Local Food and Beverages Strategy to life
- The importance of maintaining and expanding NB rural Infrastructure
- Climate change adaptation research and programs for farmers
- A focus on new farmers
- Increased operational budget to increase services offered by the Department of Agriculture staff
The budget does include a special allocation of $445,000 for the Local Food and Beverages Strategy, which is still a fairly small pot, but the most that NB has ever seen in this area before.
Our submission also included the chart below that outlines how much money our government allocates to our Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries. Compared to our Nova Scotia neighbours, our Department receives significantly less funds, all the while our farmers are still producing nearly the same amount in farm cash receipts. While our recommendation to increase the overall budget for Agriculture was ignored, the Department did maintain a comparable budget to previous years. What our farmers are already able to produce is significant but just imagine how much more our be-slimmer net could thrive if, as a province, we dedicated more budget to supporting our farmers and our food system?
Comparison of NB and NS Agriculture Budgets per capita
Sources: CANSIM Table 051-0001; CANSIM Table 002-0001; GNB Department of Finance: 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17 Main Estimates; NS Department of Finance: 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17 Budget Assumptions and Schedules.