The annual Eastern Ontario Local Foods Conference, taking place November 22-23 in Belleville, Ontario is fast approaching. This year’s theme of “Mission: Resilience” centers around the importance of forecasting climate trends to create sustainable local food systems. Local food systems are constantly altering due to climate change, shifting trade landscapes and social trends. This year’s conference will explore what we can do today to maintain and enhance the resilience of our local food system.  This event will feature award-winning journalist and best-selling author, Sarah Elton, who will discuss how Eastern Ontario local food systems can be part of a solution to serious global challenges.


Staff Profile: Richard Hamilton

What is your role in the Regional Economic Development Branch?

I am the Agriculture and Rural Economic Development Advisor for Oxford and Elgin Counties. I support communities with economic development activities. I partake in projects that assist rural communities with job growth, retention and improving quality of life.

I work with a variety of individuals and organizations including municipalities economic development groups, business organizations and business support organizations.

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Teeny Tiny Southwest Ontario Summit

Big Stories from Small Places! Community development that works in Ontario’s smallest places!


Modeled after very successful events in eastern Ontario, this “Teeny Tiny Summit” will discuss issues and explore inspiring stories that can help make small communities better places to live, work and play.

Keynote speakers Deb Thorn and Yvette Moore from Moose Jaw, will tell their story of how volunteers used creativity, resourcefulness, persistence, and hard-driving passion to turn their dying prairie town into a vibrant tourist destination! There will be lots of local success stories to learn from as well.

Helen Lomax, V.P. Enthusiasm

“I’m excited about this event because I want small places to realize just what great opportunities could be around the corner for them.” states Helen Lomax, V.P. Enthusiasm, one of the event planning team members. “Small towns and villages have shown over time that they can be resilient, can redefine themselves and really pull together to make exciting things happen.”

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Ontario Wildlife Damage Compensation Program – Claim Requirements

Generating more than $5.2 billion in direct sales annually (not including value added or further processing), the livestock industry is an important contributor to the strength of Ontario’s economy.

One of the challenges with raising livestock in rural and remote areas is predation by wildlife.

The Ontario Wildlife Damage Compensation Program compensates producers for livestock losses incurred as a result of predation. Municipalities appoint Livestock Valuers to inspect and prepare a report on any livestock losses from wildlife. In unincorporated areas of Ontario, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Agriculture Development Advisors do this.

In preparation for making a claim, producers are encouraged to: Continue reading Ontario Wildlife Damage Compensation Program – Claim Requirements

Want to learn about downtown revitalization?

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ Downtown Revitalization Program is a comprehensive program that supports the economic development efforts of rural communities across Ontario. An initial step in this program is the  intensive downtown revitalization coordinator training provided by OMAFRA staff. This training is focused on identifying the processes and tools required to successfully undertake a downtown revitalization project.

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Municipal Agriculture Economic Development Forum – Taking Registrations!

Registration is now open for the 8th annual Municipal Agriculture Economic Development Forum, taking place November 2 – 3, 2016. The forum will be hosted by the Town of Caledon and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Those with municipal and economic development portfolios, with specific focus on farming, food processing, agri-tourism, equine/agri-business sector, and agri-entrepreneurship, will have an opportunity to network, share successes, and experience the “tastes” and sites of Caledon. Register to learn more about programs and opportunities for the agricultural sector.   Continue reading Municipal Agriculture Economic Development Forum – Taking Registrations!

Fall Fairs: A lasting impression

It’s the season of fall fairs. These annual events provide an opportunity for farmers to showcase their work, interact with the general public, and evaluate their produce and livestock against other farmers.

Fall fairs are a celebration of  agriculture everywhere The local fall fair brings farmers and consumers together. A recent study indicated that three-quarters of fair attendees think that agricultural education is an important component of fair attendance. For many people, it is their once a year time to get up close and personal with a farm animal or product.

For farmers the opportunity to exhibit their farm product can be a major marketing opportunity. A great example is of this is showing livestock in competitions. Winning championships can be a major boost for farm promotion. More importantly, showing the rest of the farming community your breeding program can lead to sales, and further marketing opportunities. Commercial farmers may see an animal they like and invest in a bull. Embryos sold from show cattle can go to farms across the country and around the globe, or a leading bull can be identified for semen sales.

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Diversifying the Cash Crop Industry in Northern Ontario

Northern Ontario, with its cooler growing conditions, is known to grow good quality forages and spring grains. However, the past three decades has seen a diversification and expansion of the cash crop sector in the north.

With fewer livestock farms in the north, resulting in fewer acres of forages being grown (less livestock, less feed required) and the expansion of overall farm acreage, producers have been looking at different crop alternatives. Continue reading Diversifying the Cash Crop Industry in Northern Ontario

Be an Effective Leader

Anyone can become an effective leader with the willingness to learn and practice the necessary skills. Everyone has a unique set of competencies, life experiences, and values that they bring to any situation. These competencies are the building blocks for making a good leader. The role of a leader  is to inspire and guide people to reach solutions, not manage them.

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Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation annual Conference

The Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation (CRRF), annual conference will be held in Guelph, Ontario from October 12 – 15, 2016.

 The Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation (CRRF) was established in 1989 to contribute to the revitalization and sustainability of rural Canada through collaborative research for rural leaders in the community, private sector, and in all levels of government.

CRRF works to create credible insights and to improve an understanding of issues and opportunities that are of common interest to rural residents across Canada. Knowledge and better understanding are the fundamental pillars for the welfare of rural communities and environments. Continue reading Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation annual Conference