By: Shankar Das, Regional Farm Business Management Specialist, Outlook
I believe most of you have heard about Growing Forward 2, the Federal-provincial-territorial agriculture policy framework initiative, to help farmers build their business by supporting innovation, commercialization, sustainability and profitability. It is a five-year initiative which was announced in 2013, and we have now entered the last year for applying for many of the programs under this initiative in Saskatchewan. The Farm Business Development Initiative (FBDI) is one of those programs to help improve farm business management skills. These skills include Business Strategy, Marketing, Production Economics, Human Resources, Financial Management, Business Structure, Succession Planning, and Environmental Strategy.
The application process for financial support starts with completion of a self-assessment tool called Taking Stock which assists farmers in examining the current status of their farm business management practices mentioned above. This process helps the farmer to identify areas that they wish to improve on. The next step is to complete a Farm Development Plan which helps in setting goals and determining actions for those areas. Once the plan is completed, a decision can be made to apply for funding to access information, training and/or consulting services. Applicants may be reimbursed up to a maximum of $10,000 per eligible applicant for training and/or consulting services provided by a third party, subject to eligible maximums for each management practice considered.
To make the application process more user-friendly, farmers can complete the Taking Stock online. The online portal also furnishes a list of third party service providers. Please consult the process at https://fbdi.gov.sk.ca/ for more information.
An eligible applicant is a Saskatchewan resident who is at least 18 years of age, is an established or a beginning farmer who is actively engaged in farming, and who completes an application for funding.
The deadline to apply for consulting services under the program is June 1, 2017. This deadline has been set to provide sufficient time for the completion of the consulting work and the submission and processing of reimbursement claims prior to the conclusion of the program. Clients are strongly encouraged to provide all documents required to receive reimbursement by December 31, 2017.
Training applications will be accepted until January 31, 2018, providing the intended training can be completed by February 28, 2018. Clients are strongly encouraged to provide all documents required to receive reimbursement immediately after training is completed. Request for payment received after March 31, 2018 may not be reimbursed.
For more information, please visit our website https://fbdi.gov.sk.ca/ or our Outlook Regional Services Office (306-867-5575) or the Agriculture Knowledge Centre (1-866-457-2377) of the Ministry of Agriculture.