Farms, Farming and Food

Food and Agriculture in the Maritimes, Canada and around the world

Attracting New Farmers to the Maritimes

  • October
  • 26

12:11 am farming, Programs

With the decline in the number of farm and farmers in the Maritimes, it is important to keep farms profitable and sustainable. In order to keep the sector vibrant, it is also important to attract new farmers to the profession including the next generation of current farmers as well as any others who might be interested in farming.

One approach that has not been targeted in the recent past has been attraction of immigrant farmers. Nova Scotia recently released a new program designed attract new farmers to Nova Scotia.

There isn’t a lot of details about the program but the aim is to attract and help people to immigrate in order to set up sustainable farms in the province.

This is a great idea in that there is a lot of great fertile land available to be cultivated but without the people willing to farm it, this prime agricultural land often lays fallow or underutilized. New immigrants bring with them ideas, innovations and expertise which can inject new vitality into the agricultural sector.

I hope that other Maritime provinces of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island develop their own similar programs to attract new farmers to the area.

See also: http://www.atlanticfarmfocus.ca/Agriculture/2010-10-21/article-1868230/NS-encouraging-immigrant-farmers/1

Update: Apparently the program has some detractors.


4 comments


The critics are right. Put more support in place for our own farmers to help them succeed and we won’t have to go looking to other countries for farmers. Our own children might want to farm if they see Mom and Dad can make a few dollars doing it!

Posted by Susan Linkletter, on February 19th, 2011, at 7:28 am. #.


Sorry Susan but I disagree. We need more not less farmers in the Maritimes.

Without a critical mass of farms and products being grown, agriculture will die out. For example a processing plant for apple juice or packaging operations need many farms to supply them. One reason why the majority of produce in the supermarkets is imported is that local farms cannot generate sufficient quantities to be able to supply them.

Whether these farms are owned and operated by existing farmers sons and daughters or immigrants from afar does not matter. Immigrants are increasingly supplying the seasonal labour (see Land and Sea – http://www.cbc.ca/landandsea/2010/12/farm-workers.html) on farms so why not attract them to stay longer and invest in the industry.

Immigrants can often also bring new ideas and products to the industry. For example, Belgian immigrants Patrick and Marina Henderson brought the first goat cheese farm to the area expanding the locally produced products but not remotely competing with existing farms. (http://www.recoltedecheznous.com/our_producers.cfm?prod_id=46)

Posted by admin, on February 20th, 2011, at 12:00 pm. #.


I am surprised that people are thinking that a comment “we need to keep the farmers we already have and not push for the need for more farmers”

we are a small intimate farm in Ontario.
Whether you are in Ontario or New Brunswick. Being a Farmer in Canada is a dying breed. Our Federal government and Ontario government are not pushing for more farmers. Their policy is broad or simple. They are not promoting small farms.

Do we need more small farms?
Or shall our farming infrastructure continue its path? (farm sizes growing larger, number of farmers decreases)

Local Food is only for the elite or those who are willing to part with their disposable incomes. How far are we willing to go?

Posted by Will, on January 24th, 2014, at 2:50 pm. #.


WOW, re-read the sustainable part.

Our farm was nominated “sustainable farm of the year” 2011
award organized by N.F.U.

The National Farmer’s Union sent three judges to evaluate our farm.

Two of the three judges were appalled by the lack of machinery at our Goat and artisian cheese farm had.

Our numbers made no sense to them.
Yet, some how, we had very few inputs and plenty of out puts.
no pesticides, no herbicides. we plant an average of 800 trees on farm (retiring acreage each year)
three employees and a great product that feeds 200+ families.
we have no debt.

sadly, the judges thought we did NOT deserve to win the award.
Their criticisms were.
We need more employees
We need more capital working for us.
we need newer tractors
etc etc

sad, but the Premier’s Award thinks the same thing.
We have not one one Premier’s award in 14 years. Yet small farms who have used our model(s) and applied for the same award have been granted funds and grants. (we are unsure of the reason, but can only assume it has to do with BIG DEBTS, employment and income taxes)

We lead innovation in our field.
We are minimalists at heart. Yet, people do not believe small farms can coexist with big farms and or compete with international products.

educate the people.
not deceive

Posted by Will, on January 24th, 2014, at 3:01 pm. #.

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