L’ARTERRE – “A true territorial revitalization service”

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Allyson Beauregard

CAMPBELL’S BAY – Over 50 people gathered at the MRC Pontiac building April 5 for the official launch of L’ARTERRE, a program aimed at pairing owners
of uncultivated farmland with skilled farmers, both emerging and established.

Allyson Beauregard

CAMPBELL’S BAY – Over 50 people gathered at the MRC Pontiac building April 5 for the official launch of L’ARTERRE, a program aimed at pairing owners
of uncultivated farmland with skilled farmers, both emerging and established.
Chakib Ahmimed, MRC Economic Development Officer and L’ARTERRE Networking Agent, welcomed those present and elaborated on the program that has three main targets: unused farmland, farmers without succession, and new farmers without farmland. Of the Pontiac’s total area of 1,282,408 hectares, 47,302 hectares is farmland, of which 30,375 hectares is cultivated. “There is a lot of farmland available,” said Ahmimed, who is responsible for recruiting, assessing and preparing candidates, identifying and connecting them, and directing them to professional resources.
Warden Jane Toller explained agriculture is one of the MRC’s 11 priorities for 2018 and the industry employs 31% of the Pontiac’s population. “We need to use our existing assets and build where there’s momentum … there’s huge momentum in agriculture,” she said, noting L’ARTERRE will help keep the maximum amount of farmland in use, create jobs, encourage farmland to remain as such, and attract aspiring farmers and new commerce to the region. 
According to Ahmimed, ten aspiring farmers and five farmland owners have already expressed interest in joining the program. To participate, both parties register on ARTERRE’s
central website (arterre.ca). Applications are then forwarded to Ahmimed, who examines the files, identifies possible matches, and connects candidates, while working closely with other partners such as MAPAQ, the UPA, CREDDO and the SADC.
After a landowner applies, an inventory of their land and available machinery is completed prior to making a match. The business plan will be validated with MAPAQ and eventually an agreement will be signed with a notary. The entire process is free aside from the approximate $350 notary fee, and takes between three and nine months to execute.
Many scenarios are possible: renting, total or partial transfers, co-exploitation, renting with the option to buy, mentoring, and business or investment partnerships.
After a representative from Financière Agricole spoke about available funding, the event concluded with networking.