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Alberta government commits $34.5M towards agricultural societies

The Alberta government announces new funding for agricultural societies across the province, Tuesday, March 20, 2018.
The Alberta government announces new funding for agricultural societies across the province, Tuesday, March 20, 2018. Alberta government, Credit

The Alberta government has announced additional funding for agricultural societies and rural programs.

The government said Alberta’s 283 agricultural societies will be receiving $11.5 million annually for the next three years to help plan ahead and create budgets for the facilities, events and education they provide in their communities.

“I’m pleased that we can continue to support the vital work that agricultural societies do in our province to encourage growth in the agriculture industry and rural Alberta, and educate the next generation of farmers and ranchers,” Agriculture and Forestry Minister Oneil Carlier said.

“Ag societies are our partners in delivering many community-centred initiatives, including Alberta Open Farm Days, farm safety education, trade shows, agricultural celebrations and much more.”

READ MORE: Alberta urged to compensate farmers to make up costs of health and safety rules

Agricultural societies often run curling and hockey rinks and community halls. Societies also host events such as rodeos, summer fairs and workshops.

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“We are very pleased at the Government of Alberta’s continued commitment to agricultural societies and the communities they serve,” Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies (AAAS) CEO Tim Carson said.

“These volunteer-driven organizations need stable funding to plan for the future, and continue to do the important work of promoting agriculture and enhancing the quality of life of Albertans.”

READ MORE: Alberta agriculture societies unsure of funding status with the province

It’s a significant turnaround for the AAAS, who expressed frustration over a lack of funding just a few months ago.

In September, agricultural societies spoke up after about they didn’t receive their annual $8.67 million funding grant, which was typically distributed in June.

A couple weeks later, the province provided societies with the annual funding.

According to the province, agricultural societies operate about 700 community facilities in Alberta.

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