Ag in brief: USDA to invest in infrastructure, Ottawa to support Indigenous food security
January 3, 2023 By Drainage Contractor
USDA commits $285M to critical infrastructure
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced USDA will invest investing $285 million in critical infrastructure to lower energy costs, expand access to clean energy for people across rural America and combat climate change. “People in rural America are on the front lines of climate change, and our communities deserve investments that will strengthen our Country’s resilience,” said Vilsack in a statement. In total, USDA is making 844 investments through the Rural Energy for America Program in Pennsylvania, Alabama and Iowa.
Ottawa to support 79 projects for Indigenous food security
The Government of Canada will commit up to $19.5 million to support up to 79 new projects across Canada that promote food security for Indigenous, remote and Northern Communities. This is part of the fourth phase of the Local Food Infrastructure Fund (LFIF). Projects under the LFIF focus on improving processing, production and distribution capacity at the local level.
Projects will receive between $100,000 and $500,000. Of the 79 projects announced on Dec. 16, 56 are Indigenous-led, totalling up to $15.1 million.
Some of those projects include funding to purchase infrastructure for raising poultry, gardens and fishing, greenhouse purchases and more.
OFA hopes for ‘fair resolutions’ on fertilizer tariffs
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) says it looks forward to continuing to work with the federal government on a fair resolution to tariffs applied to fertilizer imported from Russia. Tariffs were first applied in February in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Earlier this week, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced that Canada will use $115 million, including revenue from the tariffs, to support the rebuilding of the Ukrainian power grid infrastructure damaged in the conflicts. Freeland also assured Ontario farmers she will continue to work with fellow ministers and others on a fair resolution to the tariffs.
“The OFA has and continues to stand with the people of Ukraine and strongly condemns the illegal invasion by Russia,” said Peggy Brekveld, OFA president, in a statement. “We are also supportive of the federal government’s efforts to provide support and aid to Ukraine to urgently rebuild Kyiv’s power grid. Regarding collected fertilizer tariff dollars, the conversations continue, and we hope that the government is in a position to announce its plan to support farmers in Ontario and Eastern Canada in the coming days and weeks ahead.”
According to the OFA, the tariff has driven up input costs for Ontario farmers. Urea prices have jumped by 97 per cent according to research from Ridgetown College, and mono-ammonium phosphate prices have increased 47 per cent. “These tariffs have hit Ontario farmers particularly hard due to imported fertilizer,” said Brekveld.
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