Huge Turnout for Agriculture Discussion
A larger than expected crowd showed up at the Truemanville Fire Hall tonight to discuss concerns and opportunities in agriculture. Organizers had to add additional chairs as people kept filing in.
The public meeting was coordinated by Elizabeth Smith McCrossin, a registered nurse and business owner who grew up on a dairy farm in Linden. McCrossin is concerned about securing local food sources and sees huge potential for agricultural growth in Cumberland County.
She noted, “Right now in Nova Scotia, we could not feed ourselves if we had a problem with our food supply.”
The county’s community economic development coordinator agrees that the county has great potential through farming. Michelle Byers says, “Cumberland has the largest area of the highest rated soils in Nova Scotia.”
The county has 30% of Nova Scotia’s arable land, but Byers says, “Only 17% of the potential agricultural land is actually being used for agriculture.”
A more shocking statistic is that Cumberland has 30% of the quality land but only captures 7% of the province’s farming income.
A panel of speakers talked about supports that are in place for farmers, including financing, a county Food Action Network, and FarmWorks (an investors network).
McCrossin noted that if Cumberland could boost its share of provincial farm income to 30%, to match the 30% share of quality land, it would produce $100 million in new agricultural income.
The audience expressed great support during a question and answer session. A number if ideas were discussed and all agreed that tonight’s meeting was just a start.
The Cumberland County Federation of Agriculture, and the Cumberland Food Action Network will each hold additional meetings in coming months.
The subject will be discussed at length during “Morning Talk” tomorrow morning on Six Rivers Radio. McCrossin will be joined by agriculture federation president, Brian Dick, and local councillor Joe van Vulpen. Click HERE to listen between 8 and 10 am Tuesday.