More farmers will have access to an important interest relief program as a result of changes made today, July 14.
Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell announced changes that will expand the eligibility criteria and how the FarmNEXT program provides assistance.
“By expanding the eligibility criteria for the program, we are making it easier for new farmers to get up and running,” said Mr.
Colwell. “Agriculture is important to the future of our province, and we want to make sure that we create an environment where anyone who is serious about commercial farming has the support they need to succeed.”
The two changes that have been made to expand eligibility are:
— more than one child in a family may apply provided each child operates his/her own farm entity as a separate and unique business
— new farmers may be eligible when they purchase farmland
As part of the changes being made, the approvals for FarmNEXT applications will move from the Nova Scotia Farm Loan Board to the Programs and Business Risk Management division of the department of Agriculture to separate lending from grant approvals.
The FarmNEXT program supports beginning farmers by reducing borrowing costs. Under the program, up to $30,000 in benefits is assigned to interest on a farmer’s loan from the Nova Scotia Farm Loan Board.
The program will make available $574,000 to applicants in 2015-16.
FarmNEXT clients also receive coaching in business planning and ongoing farm financial management advice from planning and development officers at the department.
For more information about submitting an application, visit http://www.novascotia.ca/farmloan .