Government will come through with funding: Bacon

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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AMHERST - The chair of the Atlantic Farmers Council remains cautiously optimistic that a solution will be found to save the Maritime Beef Testing Station in Nappan.

AMHERST - The chair of the Atlantic Farmers Council remains cautiously optimistic that a solution will be found to save the Maritime Beef Testing Station in Nappan.

Doug Bacon said he has been assurred there are programs that centre officials can apply to for funding.

"There are plans to make the funding available through some of the programs that will keep the station going," Bacon said. "I have a good feeling the government will come up with a workable plan to make this station viable. It just needs a little time. If it doesn't happen I'll be the first to be critical."

Earlier this week, supporters of the testing station suggested their future is in jeopardy because of Nova Scotia's unwillingness to provide its share of the funding. Both Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick have provided their annual funding for the facility.

Bacon said it's important to realize the station supports the industry on a regional basis and that Nova Scotia's decision will hurt the beef industry in all three Maritime provinces.

The station gives beef farmers the opportunity to buy the best of the best bulls available to improve their herds. At the same time, the bulls produced at Nappan also support the new kill plant on Prince Edward Island by ensuring it has access to the best meat.

"Agriculture is one of the most important rural resources we have and the beef industry is one of those. It's very important to the economy of this province and all of Atlantic Canada," Bacon said. "This government has committed to supporting local products and this is one way of doing that."

Agriculture Minister Brooke Taylor said several programs, including the new infrastructure investment fund, could be used by centre officials to offset Nova Scotia's portion of the funding.

"I'm hoping the station will make application to that program and we will give it every consideration," Taylor said. "There isn't money to make an outright grant. There is a very real funding issue there and we're hoping we'll be able to help them work through it. "

Taylor recognizes the value of the test station and has invested heavily in the beef industry, but said it's up to the farmers themselves and the beef test station to draw up a plan that leads to self-sufficiency.

dcole@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Maritime Beef Testing Station

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, AMHERST, Prince Edward Island New Brunswick Maritime Atlantic Canada

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