Grants issued this week from the province’s rural economic recovery program will fund a number of agriculture-related projects.
The BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development announced $20 million in funding for 38 projects. Of these, four with a value of $1.9 million will support farming and farm-related activities.
The smallest grant is one with significant impact for the province’s livestock producers, who say the province has been slow to support the expansion of slaughter capacity in the province. BC agriculture minister Lana Popham has said she can’t build slaughterhouses but Victoria is giving the Salt Spring Abattoir Society $222,525 for expansion of the local abattoir “to support farmers and meet demand for local meat.”
Another project that provides important infrastructure, a storage and processing facility in Lillooet, is receiving $267,500. The funds will support construction and operating costs, benefitting local farmers and ranchers.
The largest projects, together worth more $1.4 million, provide direct support to First Nations farming activities. The Nicomen Indian Band in Lytton will receive $455,000 to support band-owned agricultural development while Leq’a:mel Development Corp. in Deroche will develop and build a cannabis production facility with a grant of $999,000.
Funding for the projects – all deemed shovel-ready, meaning they can begin immediately – is part of a $100 million tranche of restart money administered through the provincially funded Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program (CERIP).