Category Archives: Agricultural Development

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.

Two half-day sessions will kick off with a keynote presentation Facing our Futures by Nikolas Badminton, Chief Futurist for By 2050, the United Nations has stated that we will need to grow 60% more food than today. To do that we need to look to new innovative practices, exponential technologies, and diverse ways of thinking about food production to help us achieve that. Nikolas will take us from ‘what is’ to ‘what if…’ and help us imagine the potential for an incredible future for agriculture and agri-food sector. Other topics on day one: Accelerating & Incubating Agri-Food Businesses; Spotlight on Local Businesses; the Agriculture Systems Approach in Action and Event Barns as an On-Farm Diversification Use.

Day two will kick off with keynote presentation by Patti Thompson of King Cole Ducks.  Patti is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at King Cole Ducks. Patti has won the BMO “Celebrating Women in Agriculture Award” at the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference and is valued for her contributions and knowledge in the agricultural sector. King Cole is the only fully vertically integrated farm of its kind in North America, producing around 2.5 million ducks each year. Other topics throughout the second day: Creating a Regional Circular Economy in Guelph-Wellington; the Rise of Vertical Farming; Innovation & Resilience in Response to COVID-19; breakout sessions featuring 6 timely land use planning and agriculture economic development topics.

The forum will close with keynote Building Bridges to Public Trust in Food and Farming by Crystal Mackay of Loft 32 and Crystal Mackay is a recognized leader in earning public trust in food and agriculture in Canada. She will share her insights on what it takes for individuals, companies, and municipalities to engage in and create better conversations about food and farming.

Before October 15, there is an early bird registration rate of $99 for both days of the Agri-Food Forum 2021– Innovation and Resiliency in the Agri-Food Sector.  For more information and to register visit

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 a $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 implementation of sector-specific, unique and innovative technologies in the workplace that enhance 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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Greenhouse Production and Vertical Farming Webinars For Northern Ontario

As technology becomes available, new crops and production methods are expanding opportunities in Northern Ontario.

Register for the Greenhouse Production and Vertical Farming Webinars and learn from the experts about some of the key considerations when starting a project. Municipalities play a key role in determining how and where production activities occur. By attending these webinars, municipal staff, elected officials, businesses, and community organizers will gain an understanding of key aspects of growing under cover, including:

  • New technologies
  • Advantages and limitations
  • Lessons learned from people working in this sector
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Learn How Clients are Using ANALYST to Inform Their Planning Decisions

Analyst is an online tool that pulls data from a range of sources to provide information on regional economies and workforces. Clients can use Analyst to understand the demand for educational programs, identify the skills that employers need, communicate the value of higher education to parents and students, connect jobseekers to the labor market, find the right talent, and so much more. 

But, over time, a common pattern has emerged. No matter the use or application, almost every client uses Analyst to do the following: 

  1. Discover
  2. Strategize
  3. Lead
  4. Build relationships
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CAP Special Provisions and Farmer Mental Health Resources

Owning a farm is much more than a business; it is a way of life. As with most businesses, there are some very stressful times that can weigh you down. During busy seasons or critical production periods, it is normal to be faced with time constraints and pressures and facing major financial issues can multiply these pressures many times.  During these times, and with the added reality of COVID-19, these demands can put anyone involved in the business of agriculture under a great deal of stress, often impacting one’s mental health.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) cares about the well-being of farmers and farm families and recognizes the unique challenges that can lead to mental health issues. In an effort to support Ontario farmers and their families experiencing mental health issues, OMAFRA has made various resources available to anyone needing some help during a difficult time. These include:

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