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 also regularly communicates about news and training events that may be of interest to farmers through an email listserv and Facebook page. To join the listserv, email email@example.com and type Subscribe in the body of the email.
Small Farm Expo
Stay tuned for the 2016 date and location!
Click here for a look at last year's lineup
THINKFARM provides a number of workshops for beginning and transitioning farmers throughout the year. Below, please find information on the current workshops offered.
For more information about any THINKFARM
Tel: (902) 893-5649
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.
For a searchable directory of Programs and Services offered by the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, visit www.agpal.ca.
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 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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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)
The Value Chain Development Unit business development specialists provide business coaching. (More info)
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.
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.
Farmers' Markets of Nova Scotia Cooperative Ltd. has contact information and producer lists for all member farmers' markets throughout the province.
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.
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 )