By Jacqueline Johnson, AAg, Agriculture Programs Specialist, Prince Albert
Businesses are constantly evolving and farming operations are no different. It’s important to stay up-to-date on business practices and technologies to stay competitive. Producers are essential to ensuring the health and prosperity of our rural communities and their success contributes to the longevity of those communities.
The Agricultural Skills and Knowledge (ASK) program provides rebates to eligible producers, First Nations, and value-added businesses for training opportunities completed by themselves or their employees. The ASK program is offered through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP), and covers a number of courses that fall under various business management categories including human resources, transition or succession planning, financial management and more. Recently, the program was expanded to allow consideration for courses or learning activities that provide skill development for value-added processing.
For Sheena Keep and her husband Randy, ranchers from Punnichy, the ASK program is invaluable.
“We believe in education of all kinds,” said Keep. “The courses we’ve taken have helped us personally in business and have helped us connect with like-minded people.”
Keep received a rebate for a holistic management course.
“Sometimes you get set in your way of doing things and taking training is a good way to ensure you are keeping up-to-date on sound practices,” Keep explained.
“It shows us that the government believes in us and believes in some of the same things we do – healthy land, healthy cattle, healthy business, and healthy family,” Keep said when asked what it meant to her to have access to programs like ASK.
ASK Funding is available for eligible training, with a cost-share of 50 per cent to a maximum rebate of $2,500 per course and a maximum overall payment of $10,000 per eligible applicant over the life of program. Rebates are provided for tuition or registration costs, books and software required for the course. Application for the rebate must be submitted within 18 months of completing the course, or by Dec. 31, 2022.
For more information on the program, please contact your local agriculture programs specialist or the Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377.