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Young Farmers’ Conference In Ottawa

The National Future Farmers Network will hold its inaugural meeting here Nov. 15 and 16 to begin discussing ways to improve conditions for new producers.

“Agriculture is a sector of the future, which is one of the reasons why we’re going to have to help our young farmers access it,” says Jean-Pierre Blackburn, the minister of state for agriculture. He took a lead role in organizing discussions with young farmers in 2009 as part of a promise to keep beginning farmers in mind as government policies and programs are developed.

“The National Future Farmers Network will provide an ideal forum for Canada’s young farmers to discuss their concerns and the challenges facing them and to further explore the complexity of the issues of young farmers,” he added in a statement.

“Young farmers surely have a say in the way their future will be built, which is why we are offering them this chance at the National Future Farmers Network, where they will not only be passive observers, but fully active actors in their future,” he said. “Together, we can redesign the tools that we have to stimulate renewal in the agriculture sector.”

More than 45 young farmers from across Canada have been invited to the conference where they meet with representatives of national farm groups and federal and provincial Agriculture Departments.

Ian Richardson, president of the Canadian Young Farmers’ Forum, said the conference will provide young farmers with the opportunity to discuss the concerns, challenges and opportunities they face.

Agriculture Canada has a website for young farmers: www.agr.gc.ca/youngfarmers that offers information on farming as a career or accessing funding opportunities for developing a farm.

It notes that “Young and beginning farmers face specific challenges such as access to capital, access to farm assets, and high debt levels. Nevertheless, young people continue to enter the sector with an energetic, entrepreneurial spirit, respect for the environment, innovative ideas and new ways of doing business.”

The site contains a lot of nuts-and-bolts information that an aspiring farmer should consider before deciding whether running a farm is the most suitable career for him or her.

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