The Agriculture Economic Development and Planning Community of Practice held a webinar on April 15, 2020, to discuss issues in the agriculture and food sector due to COVID-19 and how to help communities during these difficult times.
One concern expressed is the lack of agriculture labourers. The agricultural community is worried that they will not get their full complement of temporary seasonal workers, and that would impact their ability to plant and harvest this season. The goal of the Community of Practice it to help find local and regional solutions to address these types of issues.
One solution would be to reach out to the target audience; laid-off workers from other sectors that have transferable skills and may be seeking short-term employment. This audience can be reached through radio ads, social media platforms and print ad campaigns. Keep the messaging simple and straight to the point, directing interested parties to local and regional agricultural job boards, including Employment Ontario agencies.
To help the industry , the province of Ontario has launched a web portal that connects workers with employers looking to fill positions in the agri-food sector, https://ontario.ca/AgFoodJobs
Another issue discussed is how to continue to support local businesses and provide them with resources and information so they can better monitor the situation as it unfolds. To address this, the Economic Strategy Team from York Region created a Resource Hub for Businesses which displays information in categories so the reader can easily find the information they are looking for. The resource hub provides links to support programs, webinars, general resources, business mobilization information, current business news and blogs. The links in the categories are updated on a frequent basis to consistently provide accurate and relevant information.
Grey County has developed a Community and Business Resiliency Map that displays businesses that are open, offering delivery, or offering services online during the COVID-19 outbreak. The map allows the reader to narrow down which essential service they are looking for and provides the address, business operation hours, social media platforms, and contact information.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture has also developed the following resources to provide farmers and food processors with information and resources to continue to foster growth during COVID-19.
- A Guide to Operating Your Essential Farm Business. This guide offers insight on how to manage risk and improve the safety and well-being of your farm business workplace, while doing your part to reduce the risk to public health and supply chain disruptions.
- A Guide to Direct Sales to Consumers during COVID-19 and Beyond. This guide provides support and guidance to help you continue to sell and market your agricultural products.
- A Summary of Government Financial Assistance for Ontario Farm Businesses. This document displays A list of existing programs and new financial assistance measures for Ontario farm businesses.
Everyone has a part to play during this time. Some ways to help are:
- Sharing information with all levels of government regarding the impacts on the agri-food sector
- Collaborating with people from different sectors in your area, you may be surprised at the resources they can offer
- Carrying on the conversation about what could be helpful to your community during this time
- Staying safe and following precautionary measures put in place by the government
The Agriculture Economic Development and Planning Community of Practice is now on Facebook! Join the group to connect with fellow members and be notified of future webinars, new programs, resources and more! Join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/972322349836394/
Alternatively, Join the Email List: We will notify you about upcoming Community of Practice webinars!