Federal program focuses on ag communication

The AgriCommunication Initiative is intended to help farmers share their stories with the public to increase awareness

The federal government last week announced funding for a new program to help connect consumers and farmers.

Agriculture minister Marie-Claude Bibeau launched the first stream of the AgriCommunication Initiative alongside members of the Canadian Agricultural Youth Council.

She said the council represents the sector’s next ambassadors.

“More than anyone else, you are facing the challenges and the opportunities of the future,” she said.

“You have the most to benefit from stronger awareness of agriculture among the general public.”

Ottawa will kick in $8 million over the next three years to fund up to 70 percent of a project’s cost.

Youth council co-chair Jerry Bos, a dairy farmer, said agricultural awareness and sustainability are top of mind for young farmers. He said farmers have to provide information to consumers or consumers will get their information from somewhere less credible.

“Every producer and organization needs the right tools to be able to tell their story to their consumers, whether that story is environmental stewardship or animal care or any other hot issue that’s trending on social media,” Bos said during the news conference. “As farmers we have a responsibility to make meaningful connections with Canadians.”

The funding is available to national industry-wide associations, regional and national indigenous groups and national agricultural fairs.

“This does not include commodity specific associations already engaged in their own promotion campaigns,” said Bibeau.

She added that there will be other efforts.

“This spring we will help the sector to showcase how our farmers are caring for the environment and adopting clean technology,” she said.

This could include practices such as cover cropping and precision agriculture. She also said the Canada Brand platform will be refreshed to include new digital tools to connect with international customers.

Applications are open until Sept. 30, 2023, or until all funds are committed. The program ends March 31, 2024.

More details on the second stream of the initiative are still to come. It will focus on increasing the agriculture sector’s understanding of consumer preferences and expectations.

Source: www.producer.com