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September 19, 2017

NDP government needs to end funding limbo for Agricultural Societies

Communities across Alberta are in a holding pattern as the NDP government continues to withhold funding for Alberta’s Agricultural Societies and are creating further uncertainty on whether the funding will continue, the United Conservative Party Official Opposition said today.

Agricultural societies are the hub of many rural communities and are a point of pride and volunteerism. The societies are funded on an annual basis based on anticipated operational grants that are typically released in July and calculated by expenses and volunteer hours. Now in late September, most if not all Agricultural Societies have yet to receive their 2017 operational grants.

“If the NDP took the time to actually listen to rural communities, they’d know that the delay in dispersing this grant money is negatively affecting these organizations that are the heart and hub of many communities in our province,” United Conservative Party Interim Leader Nathan Cooper said. “This funding doesn’t just go to Ag Societies – it ensures ball diamonds, curling rinks, summer festivals and more can operate.”

United Conservative Agriculture Critics Dave Schneider and Wayne Drysdale are urging the NDP to disperse 2017 funds, and continue the Agricultural Society funding going forward.

“Losing Agricultural Society funding would be devastating to the small town agricultural societies of Alberta, if not completely putting them out business,” Schneider said. “The NDP government needs to clarify immediately the status of 2017 funding, and ensure the funding will continue into the future.”

Drysdale concluded by saying the United Conservative Party will continue to be a voice for rural Albertans, and will continue to be hard at work defending their interests.