N.S. moving ag department head office to Truro

The headquarters of Nova Scotia’s provincial agriculture department will move to the Truro-Bible Hill area from Halifax by the end of this year.

The move will see 34 head office positions moved to a community that’s already home to 141 provincial ag department staff, the provincially-operated Nova Scotia Agricultural College (NSAC) and a number of federal ag agencies and commodity groups.

"This move will allow the department to consolidate operations to provide better service to farmers and the agriculture industry, while bringing good jobs to grow the rural economy," provincial Agriculture Minister John MacDonell said in a release Monday.

Beth Densmore, president of the Truro-based Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture, said in the same release that the move "will improve accessibility for farmers and improve dialogue among industry stakeholders."

NSAC, which is operated and primarily funded by the agriculture department, is scheduled to be merged into Halifax’s Dalhousie University effective July 1, becoming Dalhousie’s Faculty of Agriculture on a separate campus at Truro.

The move for the ag department, which currently has 220 staff in 13 communities provincewide, is one of four relocation plans announced Monday.

The province said in a separate release that it will move its fisheries department headquarters from Halifax to the Digby-Clementsport area on the Bay of Fundy, and its aquaculture division to Shelburne County in the southern end of the province, all by year’s end.

The provincial justice department, meanwhile, plans to consolidate its Maintenance Enforcement Program offices in New Waterford, in Cape Breton, over the next year.

The fisheries, aquaculture and justice department moves combined will mean relocations for 59 provincial employees.

"This move makes sense for both the provincial government and for the communities that will now benefit from good jobs and valuable programs," Jimmy MacAlpine, president of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities said in both the agriculture and fisheries department releases.

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