New Brunswick

Farmers meet to protect agriculture lands, attract younger generation

Farmers gathered in Fredericton this past week to brainstorm ways to attract young farmers, secure farmland and get more government support.

Gathering in Fredericton helps give farmers a single voice, president says

Farmers gathered in Fredericton this past week for an annual conference that focused on how to protect agricultural lands and attract the younger generation to the industry. (Nancy Russell/CBC)

Farmers gathered in Fredericton this past week to brainstorm ways to attract young farmers, secure farmland and get more government support.

It was part of the annual meeting and conference of the Agricultural Alliance of New Brunswick.

"We just want to see agriculture become an even more important cog in the provincial economic wheel and we're just trying to find for ways to improve our position to do that," said Bathurst-area dairy farmer and alliance president Michael Bouma.

"We've been trying for over 20 years to get something in place to protect the agricultural lands of New Brunswick against development and stripping and so on, and it's an ongoing concern," he told Shift New Brunswick on Thursday.

A lot of producers this year were feeling the effects of lower rainfall this year, he said, making it tough for some farmers to grow enough crops. Bouma said coming together is good for farmers to organize themselves and decide on common interests.

"It's important for us to get together and have one voice to be able to bring our concerns to government," he said.

The average age for farmers is about 56, he said, and getting the next generation involved is part of making a sustainable farming community in the province. 

"The potential for development of agriculture in New Brunswick is immense," he said. "We have some of the best land prices in all of Canada, we have ample water, we have good quality air, we're close to the States."

With files from Shift