Category Archives: Agricultural Development

Updated Performance measurement resources for agriculture, agri-food and economic development organizations

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs has been delivering performance measurement resources and training to clients since 2011. Since that time, two guidebooks were published:

  • Measuring UP! Performance Measurement for Economic Development
  • Performance Measurement Resources for Agriculture and Agri-Food Organizations

We have combined these two resources into one updated guidebook, enhanced with specific examples where relevant.

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EXPANDING SUPPORT TO KEEP AGRI-FOOD WORKERS SAFE DURING COVID-19

The Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program has expanded support to help guard against the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace and to promote worker health and safety. The program application deadline runs until February 1, 2022, or until funding is fully allocated.  

The program provides funding in the following two categories:

  1. Workplace COVID-19 Prevention: eligible applicants can claim up to a maximum of $50,000 cost-share funding (60 per cent of eligible expenses) to support the adoption of prevention and mitigation measures. Examples include the purchase of: COVID-19 rapid antigen tests, personal protective equipment, and other safety supplies to reduce the spread of COVID-19 among agri-food workers/employees. Eligibility has been expanded to include food and beverage processors with three or more employees, agri-food industry organizations/associations, poultry catchers/vaccinators, and professional barn cleaners. 
  2. Responsive COVID-19 Outbreak Management: eligible applicants who have been impacted by outbreaks and faced extraordinary costs related to employee wages, isolation, and an extended quarantine period beyond 14 days can claim up to 100 per cent funding of eligible expenses. Expanded eligibility includes poultry catchers/vaccinators and professional barn cleaners. 

For more information about this program and eligibility, please visit the Guidelines for the Enhanced Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program.

Teeny Tiny Summit Recap – Series 1: Welcoming Newcomers

On October 13thOMAFRA partnered with the Rural Ontario Municipal Association to present the first of a series of 3 Teeny Tiny Summits.  This session featured fantastic speakers telling their experiences as newcomers in rural communities, and about tactics communities were using to welcome newcomers to their community. The speaker line up included: 

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Register today for the Agri-Food Forum 2021 – Innovation and Resiliency in the Agri-Food Sector

Join us virtually on November 3 & 4th, 2021 for the 13th annual Municipal Agriculture Economic Development & Planning Forum – Agri-Food Forum 2021– Innovation and Resiliency in the Agri-Food Sector, co-hosted by The Regional Municipality of York and OMAFRA.

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Growing Agri-Tourism Initiatives in Your Community

Join other professionals on Thursday, August 19, 2021 for the Agriculture Economic Development and Planning Community of Practice discussion on Agri-tourism.

Agri-tourism is a rural based industry in Ontario with growth potential. To help unlock that potential, Simcoe County recognized that prospective operators might need guidance to help navigate through the process of starting an agri-tourism component on the farm.  Simcoe County worked with TCI Management Consultants, and Wilton Consulting Group to develop a toolkit for farmers who would like to start or expand their agritourism operation in Simcoe County. The toolkit contains all the information people need to help decide whether agri-tourism is right for them.

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Knowing your Financial Statements: Balance Sheets

Knowing and analyzing how your farm is performing is one of the most important jobs you, as a farm business owner, should be doing on a regular basis. Most farmers will analyze how well their products have grown/performed on a regular basis, which is a great thing to do. However, how often do you look at your financial performance or year-end financial statements? There is important information contained in your financial statements that is used by your lender, your advisor, and by you, as the owner. In this article, we will look at the balance sheet.

The Purpose of the Balance Sheet

A balance sheet is a list all the farm business’ assets, liabilities and owner’s equity/net worth at a certain point in time (i.e., as of December XX, 202X).  The statement must “balance” (thus the name) because it tells the story of what is owned (assets) and how they were purchased (liabilities— debts; and owner’s equity— what the owner contributed).  The formula for a balance sheet is Assets = Liabilities + Net Worth.

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Labour Productivity Challenges in Ontario’s Agri-Food Industry

The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council has some resources and insights about labour productivity challenges in Ontario’s agri-food industry.

Some of the challenges include:

  • Over 45% of surveyed Ontario agricultural employers said they could not hire all the workers they needed
  • The labour gap in Ontario grew by over 10,000 people from 2007 to 2017
  • The survey of Ontario employers also found that reported over 80% experienced excessive owner stress, over 60% experienced production delays, nearly 60% lost sales, and over 40% delayed the expansion of their business.
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Indigenous Agri-Food Funder’s Forum Webinars

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is hosting a forum to provide information on programs that encourage economic development in the agriculture sector and addresses Indigenous food security by linking Indigenous agri-food interests with suitable funders.

Indigenous clients, communities, non-profits and private sectors are welcome to join.

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Agri-Tech Innovation Program Webinar

Monday, May 17th 2021 at 1:00-2:00 PM ET  or Thursday May 20th 2021 at 9am-10am ET

You are invited to join a webinar about the Agri-tech Innovation Program – a new $22 million cost-share program that will help farming operations and processor businesses adopt innovative and new technologies. This session will provide details on the Early Adopters intake to support the implementation of sector-specific, unique and innovative technologies in the workplace that enhance the protection of workers against COVID-19 by reducing COVID-19 transmission risk, lead to increased business efficiencies and productivity, and help build the sector’s resilience. The merit-based intake opens on May 17, 2021 and will close on June 21, 2021.

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Ontario Government Announces Agri-Food Labour Strategy

Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, has announced two initial projects as part of a long-term strategy to address labour challenges in the agri-food sector.

During a virtual roundtable with agri-food sector leaders, Minister Hardeman expanded on the government’s investment of $812,000 to two projects aimed at labour shortages.

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