Alberta’s agricultural societies have access to new funding for upgrades and repairs for their facilities.

The Government of Alberta has announced $2.5 million in grant funding annually for ag societies.

The Agricultural Societies Infrastructure Revitalization Program will award grants for upgrades to existing ag society facilities between $10,000 and $100,000.

Agriculture and Irrigation Minister RJ Sigurdson made the announcement at the Millarville Racing & Agricultural Society on Thursday.

He says these facilities often serve as community hubs.

“When you talk about our agricultural societies across Alberta, they truly are a rural hub. You talk about curling rinks, hockey arenas, right down to our farmers markets. How they support 4H, youth agriculture, it’s incredible to see the work they do across this province.”

Because of the diverse range of roles these facilities play, Sigurdson says a pretty wide range of projects will be eligible for funding.

“Of course, there’s the obvious; the ability to be able to do roof projects or any critical needs to protect the infrastructure and make sure it’s there for the future, but as well, when we look at some of the requests that have been made so far, accessibility ramps to curling rinks or hockey arenas to make sure grandparents have the ability to watch children play hockey or curl, those are important. We really haven’t put a limitation on what it is that they can apply for. It really is about allowing those ag societies to approach us.”

Vice-president of the Millarville Racing and Agricultural Society, Barb Parker, was quoted in a release from the province.

“More than 100,000 people pass through our society’s gates every year for events, programs and rentals. Our ag society has been around for more than a century, so this new grant will be a key support in making much-needed upgrades. We are extremely grateful to the Government of Alberta for this investment.”

According to the province, Alberta has 290 agricultural societies operating over 900 facilities across the province.

Applications are open now, with a deadline set for February 15, 2024.