Support from THINKFARM

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The Department of Agriculture is here to help support you in the development of your farm or food business.

Staff in our five regional offices, located in Sydney, Antigonish, Truro, Kentville, and Cornwallis, are your first point of contact for all farm-related questions.

THINKFARM provides a number of workshops for beginning and transitioning farmers throughout the year. Below, please find information on the current workshops offered.


Growing Forward 2 - NS - Canada logos


For more information about any THINKFARM
workshops, contact

THINKFARM Coordinator
Email: THINKFARM@nova

THINKFARM Training Partnership Funding

THINKFARM is accepting proposals to support training initiatives for beginning and/or transitioning farmers in Nova Scotia. Proposals will be accepted throughout the year and those that meet the criteria will be approved as funds permit. Training initiatives will be supported up to 75% of the total costs or $1000, whichever is less.

Who can apply?

Eligible applicants:

  • Individuals and organizations that work with beginning and transitioning farmers in Nova Scotia

Ineligible applicants:

  • Businesses or organizations that provide training to farmers on a for-profit basis.

Past Workshops:

  • Water Management Conference
  • Free Range Swine Conference
  • Intro to Small-Scale Irrigation
  • Sheep Nutrition Management
  • Beefing up your Forage
  • Nova Scotia Free-Range Poultry Conference
  • Developing a Thirst for NS Agriculture
  • Intro to Berry Production
  • Energy Crops Workshop
  • Food Safety and Preservation for Direct Marketers
  • Tax Time on the Farm
  • Feeding Soil for Healthy Plants
  • Exploring the New Farm Dream
  • Hemp, Hops, and Haskap: The Next Big Thing?
  • Farm Financing 101
  • Embracing the Farm Labour Challenges of 2013
  • CSA Profitability
  • Introduction to Agri-Tourism
  • Four-Season Farming sessions
  • Mushroom Cultivation
  • Igniting Growth - Capturing Opportunities
  • Market Gardening Workshop Series 2015 - "How to market garden, Better"
  • Crop Planning for Vegetable Growers
  • Keeping Livestock Healthy

For a searchable directory of Programs and Services offered by the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, visit

Farm registration information

Farmers eligible to file a farm tax return with the Canada Revenue Agency may register their farms. Farm registration is voluntary, but it is required to access a number of services government provides to farmers. Registration fees range from $75-$975 per year, depending on gross farm income. Registration includes membership in the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture. (Note: To be considered a “New Entrant” for certain funding programs, the farm must not have been registered for more than five years. Therefore, the farm should not be registered until it is generating income in order to qualify for certain programs that may be of benefit)

PLEASE NOTE: The process of registering your farm online through Access Nova Scotia has changed. Click here to reach the Access Nova Scotia Business Portal and then follow these instructions PDF to register. If you are renewing your Farm Registration, you should have received a renewal PIN in the mail from Access Nova Scotia. If you have trouble with online renewal, please contact Access Nova Scotia at 424-5200 or 1-800-670-4357.

Credit at competitive interest rates

The Nova Scotia Farm Loan Board is a Crown Corporation that provides credit and counseling to farmers and rural agri-businesses throughout Nova Scotia. Loans can be for terms up to 30 years with either fixed interest rates or term rates. (More info)

Funding for farm projects

The Department of Agriculture supports sustainable growth in Nova Scotia farm businesses by providing matched funds to invest in innovation, environment, business development and quality assurance projects that help make our agriculture and agri-food industry more competitive. (More info)

The FarmNEXT Program, offered through Programs and Business Risk Management, encourages and supports new farmers to establish commercial farms in Nova Scotia. Program funds are intended to reduce the loan principal to provide a stronger equity position for the farm business in the first year of operation.

Soil, water, manure, compost, and feed testing

The Lab Services Division operates several laboratories in support of Department of Agriculture programs. These laboratories analyze soil, manure, compost, and feed for their nutrient content. Water samples can be analyzed for mineral content. Farmers with a valid farm registration number are eligible for a 50 per cent discount on most laboratory analyses.

Livestock health support

The Livestock Health Services program supports access to veterinary services by farmers in Nova Scotia. Under the program, assistance is provided for veterinarians to travel to farms, as well as for veterinary services provided on the farm or at veterinary clinics. Additional support is provided for veterinary fees related to herd health visits for cattle, pigs, sheep and mink. Claims are made by enrolled veterinary practices on behalf of clients. The Lab Services Division has a Animal Health Lab that tests livestock for the presence of certain diseases and also performs post-mortem analyses on livestock. Farmers with a valid farm registration number are eligible for a 50 per cent discount on most Animal Health Lab analyses.

Crop/livestock production information

The Government of Nova Scotia has contracted Perennia to provide production information to Nova Scotia farmers. Perennia has experts who specialize in the production of the full range of agricultural commodities produced in Nova Scotia.
(More info)

Food Safety

The Food Protection & Enforcement Division offers farmers and community groups training in safe food handling. Food safety specialists can provide advice on facility design and food handling in order to ensure the highest standards of food safety. The Division also issues Food Establishment Permits and Meat Slaughtering and Processing Licenses. (More info)

Environmental Farm Plans

The Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) is a voluntary program that helps farmers identify and assess environmental risk on their property. It allows farmers to be proactive on environmental issues and incorporate environmental considerations into everyday business decisions. Farmers work with an EFP program coordinator to develop a confidential environmental farm plan for the operation. Farmers who have completed EFPs may be eligible for federal and provincial cost-shared funding to implement beneficial management practices. The EFP program is delivered through the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture (NSFA). (More info)

Farm business development support

The Value Chain Development Unit business development specialists provide business coaching. (More info)

Crop/livestock insurance

Production insurance is available for 34 commercially grown crops, as well as dairy and poultry. In addition, a Wildlife Compensation Program is available to assist farmers who have experienced losses caused by specific wildlife species. (More info)


The Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture, located in Bible Hill, offers a wide variety of agriculture-related degree and diploma programs as well as short courses of interest to farmers and the general public through its Extended Learning Unit.

Local marketing opportunities

Select Nova Scotia is an initiative of the NSDA to promote local food products through promotional materials and events. Nova Scotia farmers can register their products to be included in Select Nova Scotia promotional materials.
(More info)

Farmers' Markets of Nova Scotia Cooperative Ltd. has contact information and producer lists for all member farmers' markets throughout the province.
(More info)

Support for innovation

The Perennia Innovation Centre in Bible Hill helps bio-resource companies at all levels of growth — from determining feasibilty to producing small product runs and full commercialization. All tenants can customize their leased space to fit their unique needs. In addition to leased space, tenants also have access to the facility’s pilot plant and analytical and product development labs.

Farm truck plates and fuel tax refund

Registered farms can apply for farm truck license plates for a truck that is used primarily for farm purposes, like hauling trailers or bringing produce to market. Farm license plates are cheaper than regular license plates. (More info)

In addition, farms can apply for a refund of the provincial tax on gasoline, propane or diesel fuel. (More info PDF )