Ranj Pillai, Yukon’s minister responsible for agriculture, signed a new five-year Canadian agricultural policy July 25. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News)

Yukon government signs on to new Canadian agriculture agreement

Community Agriculture Program, will bring in up to $4 million over five years, Pillai says

The Yukon signed on to a new five-year Canadian agricultural policy July 25 at a national conference held in St. John’s.

The agreement — called the Community Agriculture Program (CAP) —will replace the Growing Forward 2 program, which was put in place in 2013. CAP will come into effect in April 2018, with a commitment of $3 billion from the federal government over the next five years to be divided up between the provinces and territories.

Ranj Pillai, Yukon’s minister responsible for agriculture, said the exact amount the Yukon can expect from CAP is still unknown, because each province and territory must work out their agreements with the federal government individually. However, he said he is expecting about the same amount the Yukon received under GF2, which is between $3.5 million and $4 million over five years.

“That’s the ballpark we’re looking at now,” he said.

Growing Forward 2 funded about 400 programs, Pillai said, including programs in farm mentorship, livestock health and education. Where the CAP money will go has yet to be determined, but Pillai said it will, “really be driven by stakeholders.”

“We’ve been lucky…. Canada has been very flexible in how we spend these dollars.”

A recent Statistics Canada report on agriculture in the Yukon and Northwest Territories shows the Yukon had 142 reported farms in 2016. The number of people employed in agriculture in the Northwest Territories and the Yukon rose by 2.6 per cent in 2016. Farming in the Yukon is worth $108 million.

“It’s pretty shocking how many people are getting into farming,” Pillai said. “There’s definitely a renaissance in farming. People are really embracing it.”

Contact Lori Garrison at lori.garrison@yukon-news.com