MANITOBA'S AGRI-PROCESSORS POISED TO BENEFIT FROM NEW GOVERNMENT FUNDING FRAMEWORK

Ag Action Manitoba launches as part of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership

Agri-processing companies are a vital component of the agricultural industry in Manitoba, transforming crops into food and beverage items as well as non-food products like biofuels and construction materials.
 
In the past 10 years, many Manitoban agri-processors have benefitted from government cost-sharing initiatives offered through the Growing Forward and Growing Forward 2 programs. Now, they can take advantage of a new government funding framework called the Canadian Agricultural Partnership— Ag Action Manitoba which is injecting $176 million into Manitoba’s agriculture sector over the next 5 years.

Launched on April 1, 2018, the Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a 5-year, $3 billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen and grow Canada’s agriculture industry. Ag Action Manitoba is the Manitoban component of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, which is replacing Growing Forward 2.
 

Client-focused funding framework

 
Jeff Fidyk is a business development specialist—commercialization, with the Food and Agri-Product Processing Branch of Manitoba Agriculture. He was part of a team that spent 18 months assessing Manitoba Growing Forward 2 programming and examining ways to build on its successes. This included surveying 142 agri-processing companies in the province to collect their thoughts on how a government cost-sharing program model for Manitoba could be improved.
 
“What we found was our clients were generally happy with the programming that Manitoba had offered under Growing Forward 2,” Fidyk said. “Where they saw some opportunities for improvement were largely in the execution of the program.”
 
Those observations were taken to heart, and the result is an invigorated program funding framework and delivery system that features simplified programs and services that are easier to investigate and access.
 

Streamlined application process

The Ag Action Manitoba program is segmented into four client groups: agri-processors, farmers, industry organizations, and researchers and industry service providers. When applying online for funding, agri-processors simply identify who they are, then select from clearly defined activities with targeted focus areas that are tailored for each group.
 
“Rather than having all the segmentation based on our internal government organization, we have flipped it around completely and have gone to a client-centric approach,” Fidyk said.
 
Agri-processors may be eligible to apply for the following program activities under Ag Action Manitoba: 
  • market development: pre-commercialization, commercialization and expansion activities that move innovation to market
  • assurance: adoption of targeted assurance systems and practices that reduce risk factors related to food safety, traceability, animal welfare and biosecurity
  • capital assets and equipment: investment in capital equipment that will expand and enhance the competitiveness and sustainability of Manitoba’s agriculture, agri-food and agri-product industry
  • research and innovation: evaluating new and innovative opportunities in basic and applied research, and capacity building
Fidyk anticipates that cost-sharing offered through the capital assets and equipment activity will garner the most interest within Manitoba’s agri-processing sector.
 
“That’s something our clients have identified as being really useful to them,” said Fidyk. “It’s often tough for agri-processors to access capital. A grant allows a company to complete their financial package towards moving their company forward.”
 
Fidyk points out that capital investment grants from Ag Action Manitoba will allow a company to displace capital funding and will free up funds for other business-building activities, allowing a company to move forward at a more aggressive rate than would otherwise be possible.
 

Get started with Ag Action Manitoba

Industry organizations wanting to learn more about the Canadian Agricultural Partnership and Ag Action Manitoba can email Manitoba Agriculture or call 1-844-769-6224 (toll free).
 
Visit this website often for notices on calls for letters of intent and application deadlines.
 
Ag Action Manitoba program information will also be shared in our newsletter. Subscribe today.