Glacier FarmMedia COVID-19 & the Farm

Clean ag tech adoption fund open for applications

Intake open and ongoing for Agricultural Clean Technology Program

neco grain dryer
(Flaman Group video screengrab via YouTube)

A federal program farmers can use to invest in “cleaner” on-farm equipment — including money specifically for more efficient grain dryers — is now taking applications.

Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau on Wednesday announced the $165.7 million Agricultural Clean Technology Program is “now open to applicants.”

First launched in 2018 and earmarked for expansion under the federal government’s climate plan in late 2020, the program was tapped in the 2021 federal budget to allocate $50 million specifically to help farmers purchase fuel-efficient grain dryers.

Another $10 million will go toward “powering farms with clean energy and moving off diesel,” the government said.

Those specific non-repayable contributions are to come from the program’s Adoption stream, which goes to “support the purchase and installation of proven clean technologies and solutions that show meaningful reductions in (greenhouse gas) emissions.”

The program’s separate Research and Innovation stream will fund “pre-market innovation” such as research, development, demonstration and commercialization work on agricultural clean tech.

Applications were to be accepted on a continuous basis starting Wednesday, until funding has either been fully committed or otherwise announced by the program, the government said.

Under the two-step intake process, farmers and other applicants first must submit a project summary form, to help “determine a project’s eligibility and alignment with program criteria and priorities.” Those deemed eligible at that step “will be invited to submit a full application.”

The program “will help our farmers and agricultural businesses adopt new technologies so they can continue to lead the way,” Winnipeg MP Jim Carr, the federal cabinet’s special representative for the Prairie region, said in a release.

“We also recognize that many farmers use natural gas and propane in their operations, which is why the government of Canada has made grain drying a priority focus under the program.”

The government on Wednesday also reiterated its plan from the 2021 federal budget to return a portion of the proceeds from its carbon pricing plan directly to farmers in “backstop” jurisdictions including Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario starting in 2021-22.

From that, farmers are estimated to receive $100 million in the first year, with future years’ returns to be based on proceeds from the price on pollution collected in the prior fiscal year — and rising in tandem with the price placed on carbon.

More details on that plan are to be announced “later in 2021,” the government said Wednesday. — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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