FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Nearly $517,000 have been approved for 19 projects to benefit the agriculture industry through the BC Hydro Peace Agricultural Compensation Fund.

Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT) announced on Thursday the approved projects, including $100,000 for the BC Grain Producers Association to conduct a field research project in the Peace region.

The field research project hopes to improve the sustainability of farms in the region by assisting producers who take a risk on a new crop, new farm practice or new crop variety. The project will collect data and share information with others in the region with the long-term goal of creating a database for all producers to access.

“The BC Grain Producers Association is pleased to partner with the BC Hydro Peace Agricultural Compensation Fund on our new field research program to improve the sustainability of farms in the B.C. Peace. With the research being located on local Peace Region farms, mentorship opportunities and knowledge transfer will arise for new and young grain producers in the area,” reads a statement from the BC Grain Producers.

In Hudson’s Hope, Venator Ranches has been approved for $50,000 for a slaughter, cut and wrap facility for beef and bison. With two other packing plants in the Peace Region operating at full capacity, custom harvesting for small brands is limited. This new plant will add benefit by offering producers a way to turn live animals into high-value products, increasing farm gate sales.

The full list of recipients in the fifth intake of the $20 million fund, established in 2018, are as follows:

Since the fund was established, over $1.2 million has been awarded to 53 projects.

“We are very pleased to see such a significant number of projects approved for this intake totalling over half a million dollars,” said Joel McKay, CEO of Northern Development Initiative Trust.

“The Trust applauds the diversity and ingenuity shown from the Peace Region farmers and producers as they strive for sustainability and growth.”