The board of directors of Rural Alberta’s Development Fund has approved $970,000 in funding for a new project aimed at providing learning and networking opportunities to young farmers.
Farm Masters will provide a forum for young, emerging agri-entrepreneurs to access tools and resources to help them succeed. The program will be delivered in a new online platform created specifically to remove obstacles from learning that geographical locations and busy schedules present. The program will include business management, financial planning, hands-on skills training, marketing and peer-to-peer components.
“Having a strong economy is critical to the health of any community and in rural Alberta, agribusinesses, including farming, is by far the largest industry,” said Jack Hayden, minister of agriculture and rural development. “About one-third of Alberta’s producers are over the age of 55. Transferring decades of knowledge and experience on to the next generation is an important process to help set-up the future success of Alberta’s agriculture industry, and in turn, our rural communities.”
Farm Masters will be delivered by The International Farm-On Foundation, with support from the University of Alberta School of Business, Lakeland College, World Financial Group, Community Futures East Parkland, Bashaw Adult Learning Centre and the Alberta Rural Development Network. Partnerships with relevant producer associations and other leading edge agriculture-based organizations are also being explored. The $970,000 from RADF will be used to support staffing, forums and focus groups, development of video and audio training files and the online learning platform.
“This project is a great example of how funding from RADF supports partnership organizations in their quest to support strong, sustainable communities,” said Glenn Taylor, chair of the RADF board of directors. “This is also the first project that we have reviewed since we began to accept new applications this fall after a brief hiatus, and we are very much looking forward to reviewing innovative ideas from rural Alberta in order to commit our remaining $30 million.”