4-H Canada has been forced to reorganize its operations after Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada cut their support to the national youth development program by 35 percent, resulting in the layoff of seven staff members last week.

Interim CEO Hugh Maynard says over the last ten years, 4-H Canada has received plus or minus $1,000,000 in funding from Agriculture Canada.

Some of that money (it varies from year to year) is considered flow-through money, 4-H Canada receives it and then distributes it to the provincial organizations for their programming.

He notes AAFC also changed the priorities on how they want that funding to be spent - with the programs being funded to be more specific to Agriculture.

"Some of the programs in 4-H are agriculturally based in terms of membership but some of the programs like Citizenship Congress focus on learning about the political system in Canada. Which makes a good leader, but it's not strictly agricultural."

Another program change tied to AAFC's funding is that it can only be used at the national level.

Maynard says while they have funding in place for the provinces this year,  they are looking at other funding sources and/or grants going forward to help the provinces continue their programming.

"We've made applications to Employment and Social Development Canada. They've got some programs that are related to youth and skills development that fit the 4-H mandate. So we put some applications in there and that includes money that would continue to flow to the provinces. "

He's optimistic that they'll get a good reception because they've received money from the Department of Canadian Heritage and ESDC in the past.