By Karen Smith, Pag, Agriculture Programs Specialist, Tisdale
Winter has always been a good time to brush up on farm management skills and start planning for the next growing season. Farm management courses may help producers look at their operations and what opportunities there are to grow and advance.
The Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) began in 2018 and includes the Agriculture Skills and Knowledge (ASK) program, which assists producers by cost sharing in educational expenses for farm management courses and training activities. While CAP is set to end on March 31, 2023, it is not too late for producers to take advantage of the program and receive rebates for items such as tuition or registration costs, books and software required for eligible training and courses.
Courses within the ASK program range from grain marketing to accounting software training to holistic pasture management. All courses are pre-approved to ensure they meet program criteria. There is a wide variety of options available, and the courses vary from a few hours to multiple days or even months long. Sometimes these courses are also part of a larger agriculture certificate program.
Cumberland College has a program delivery agreement with Lakeland College to deliver an Agriculture Certificate Program. Currently, three courses within this program are registered and eligible under the ASK program: AE 100 – Economic Forces in Agriculture; AE 202 – Business Records and Reporting; and AE 300 – Grain Oilseeds and Pulse Crop Marketing.
Jeff Fisher, chair of post-secondary education at Cumberland College, worked with the ministry to ensure that their students were aware of the program and able to meet the program requirements. He says there are obvious benefits to have these courses registered.
“Post-secondary students are faced with many challenges and financial support is often one of them,” Fisher expressed. “This program allows our students to apply for up to $1,500 plus book costs. It’s always great to think win-win when we partner with any organization and the mutual exposure (for) both Cumberland College and the Ministry of Agriculture.”
Because we are nearing the end of CAP, the ASK program is not accepting applications from service providers for new courses. However, it’s not too late for producers to take advantage of the already approved course list and register for any courses that are on the list. Funding is available for eligible training with a cost-share of 50 per cent to a maximum rebate of $2,500 per course to a maximum overall payment of $10,000. Application for the rebate must be submitted within 18 months of completing the course or by March 15, 2023, to allow for processing time before CAP ends.
For more information, call the Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377 and ask to speak to your local agriculture program specialist.