How prepared are you when Navigating the Agricultural Economy?

The 10thannual Municipal Agriculture Economic Development and Planning Forum is being held October 3 and 4th, hosted by the County of Wellington and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

Explore Wellington County on a bus tour on October 3rd, with local food lunch and dinner included. Learn about different agriculture-related businesses and how you can support similar agriculture activities in your region.IMG_3683

Tour locations include: 

  • Angelstone International Show Jumping Tournaments
  • Rootham Gourmet Preserves
  • Strom’s Farm and Bakery
  • Mapleton’s Organic Dairy
  • Elora Brewing Company

On October 4th, take in a full day of local food, networking and learning. Join us for speakers and panel presentations highlighting best practices from practitioners in Wellington County and beyond.

Topics include:

  • Revitalizing Rural Economic DevelopmentIMG_3754.JPG
  • How Municipalities Are Supporting Agriculture and Local Food
  • Welcoming Newcomers to Rural Communities
  • Planning + Economic Development: Tips for a Successful Journey
  • Legalizing Cannabis and Emerging Opportunities

This is an opportunity for those involved in municipal and local economic development or planning that have agriculture and food in their portfolio to network, share success and collaborate within the sector.

Register today!  Please visit the event website at www.wellington.ca/agforum.

6 Reasons Why Your Community Should Undertake a BR+E Project

The most important thing a Business Retention & Expansion (BR+E) project does is build capacity. BR+E is strategically designed to take existing community resources and employ’s its community businesses to help them come together with a plan for the future. 1

Whether you are an economic developer, a chamber of commerce, a local government official, or an interested citizen who wants to improve and ensure economic growth in your area, a BR+E project may be right for you.2 Continue reading 6 Reasons Why Your Community Should Undertake a BR+E Project

Teeny Tiny Summit with a Great Big Reach

The 7th Teeny Tiny Summit attracted its largest audience ever when the Municipality of Tweed hosted the summit earlier this summer. The first Teeny Tiny Summit was held in 2015, as the OMAFRAs East Region Economic Development staff wanted to support their smallest communities. These communities had several features in common…they were typically small, rural, with limited staff and resources, and little or no perceived economic development capacity and activity.

This year’s theme was ‘Creating our Future, Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary’ and was supported by the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) and the North and Central Hastings Community Futures Development Corporation. This year’s event covered four key topics that aimed to inspire others. Speakers shared their real-life examples of community volunteer involvement, strategic planning, telling personal stories and the importance of municipal-volunteer relationships. Continue reading Teeny Tiny Summit with a Great Big Reach

Tips for Completing your Rural Economic Development (RED) Program Application

The Rural Economic Development (RED) program supports projects that stimulate economic growth in Ontario’s rural communities. RED supports activities that create jobs and help open doors to local economic development. The program helps communities:

  • identify their economic strengths
  • be more competitive
  • diversify and grow their local economies.

The program is open and will accept applications until September 28, 2018

Applicants are required to read the program guidelines before completing an application form. The program guidelines provide detailed information on eligible applicants, project types, and costs, as well as the process for submitting an application and the process that will be used to assess the application. Continue reading Tips for Completing your Rural Economic Development (RED) Program Application

Key takeaways from the Succession Planning Community of Practice

On August 16, 2018, participants had the opportunity to hear from four presenters about how communities can support the transition of farm businesses during the Agriculture Economic Development and Planning Community of Practice webinar.

Mark Ferguson of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ Business Development Branch began the session with a definition of succession planning. 

Succession planning as a process that occurs over time during which a family plans for the transfer of knowledge, skills, labour, management, control and ownership of the farm business between the founder (retiring) generation and the successor (next) generation.

He went on to share why some producers are not planning for succession  including: Continue reading Key takeaways from the Succession Planning Community of Practice

Building a Team for Downtown Revitalization

Continuing with our series of blogs on the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ Downtown Revitalization Program, this entry will take a look at building your downtown revitalization team.

The motivation, energy, and commitment required for successful revitalization should come primarily from the community. Those from outside of the community may provide interesting insights, but revitalization only works when members of the community, local government, and local businesses commit to ensuring the long-term success of revitalizing their downtown.

building a team chartA revitalized downtown has the potential to benefit the entire community, so the lead organization may identify potential partners from across the community, and not just within the downtown area. Organizations like Business Improvement Areas (BIAs), Chambers of Commerce, service clubs, and non-profit organizations can be key resources to engage and align with. The organizations and individuals to engage will depend on the specific characteristics of the community. Continue reading Building a Team for Downtown Revitalization

New long-term Research on business start-up and closures in Canada

A recent report from the Government of Canada studied the characteristics and performance of newly established businesses. On average, 96,000 new businesses entered the Canadian economy every year (2002-2014), representing about 9.4% (annual rate) of all Canadian firms.

This study is important for economic development officers (EDOs) undertaking business retention activities as it highlights how the Canadian economy functions, particularly the natural churn that occurs as businesses start, mature, and decline.  Based on this research, EDOs should be able to determine ways to help increase the survival rates of businesses in your communities.

Key findings from this study include: Continue reading New long-term Research on business start-up and closures in Canada

Expanded Digital Main Street Program to Support Ontario Small Businesses

The Digital Main Street program, funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and delivered by the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA), will soon be available across the province to help ‘main street’ businesses become more digital.  The program will be live on August 24, 2018, and as part of Ontario’s Main Street Enhancement Initiative, it will help small businesses improve how they use digital tools and provide them with techniques to become even more successful. Continue reading Expanded Digital Main Street Program to Support Ontario Small Businesses

Good Fencing Systems Make Livestock Farming Easier

A major limiting factor for beef production in Ontario is the lack of fencing.  With the spread of cash cropping across the province in recent years, perimeter fencing has been removed on many farms. Establishing, or re-establishing fencing is one of the first steps to getting into cattle farming.

Good perimeter fences are necessary for keeping cattle where you want them. Perimeter fencing maintains good neighbor relations and safe cattle, while interior fencing, subdividing fields, allows for increased pasture management.

There are many fencing options available: page wire, barb wire, and electric being three common types in Ontario. Continue reading Good Fencing Systems Make Livestock Farming Easier

Rural Ontario Leaders Award Winner: New Vision Unlimited

Leaders can impact their community and enhance regional economic development through innovative problem solving and creative solutions. The inaugural Rural Ontario Leaders Awards (ROLA) were given out in February 2018.  Among the winners was New Vision Unlimited. They won the Not-for-Profit category for their leadership and work towards strengthening rural Ontario.

hub1New Vision Unlimited won the Not-for-Profit category for their community HUB office space in Huntsville, Ontario. Continue reading Rural Ontario Leaders Award Winner: New Vision Unlimited

Regional Economic Development Branch blog focusing on agriculture and rural economic development for Ontario