By Ry Clarke
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
An Alberta farm group says it is looking for more provincial funding, with the industry facing tighter budgets and losing out on advancements.
Ken Coles, executive director of Farming Smarter in Lethbridge, says the industry has been doing its best to leverage support locally but with growing supply-and-demand the need for secure, efficient funding is a key factor in developing more innovation.
“We currently have a $2 million grant, but that’s coming to an end in March. We’ve been working diligently through these funding agencies with the provincial government to develop a good harmonized message for all the groups, because we’re all independent groups, but we work together collectively on various things and putting forward our best effort to convince the government that they should invest in what we’re doing” said Coles.
Feeling stuck without support, many farming groups here in Alberta are looking to the leadership race for the UCP while hoping the outcome will anoint a leader who understands the importance of Alberta’s agriculture industry and secure many groups with stable funding to continue operations.
“It’s great that the oil prices are up, but I think what we’ve learned is when oil prices go down, we need to diversify our economy. The work that we do in agriculture helps improve farms and improves farm businesses. It helps develop the industry; it creates jobs. It’s a great time to invest in something that’ll help stabilize our economy for the future,” said Coles.
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