Christmas has come early for those who grow Christmas trees in Nova Scotia.

The province has announced $751,000 to strengthen the industry and explore new markets.

Minister of Agriculture Keith Colwell says the money will help with research and development, field trials, and marketing.

Producers will also have better access to smart trees. These are said to be healthier, and hold needles for up to three months, which will help with international sales.

“This support could not have come at a better time,” said Angus Bonnyman, executive director of the Christmas Tree Council of Nova Scotia. “We have strong demand around the world for our famous forest-grown balsam firs, and plan to quadruple the value of our exports by focusing on quality and innovation.”

The Christmas tree industry has over 319 producers that cultivate and harvest more than 15,000 acres. Approximately 90 per cent of the trees harvested are exported out of province.