Recap: Growing Agri-Tourism Initiatives in Your Community

On August 19, 2021, the Agriculture Economic Development and Planning Community of Practice hosted an online webinar where participants had a chance to learn more about recent agri-tourism research and initiatives across the province.

Two main initiatives discussed in the webinar were:

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Rural Economic Development (RED) Program Opens on August 30th

The Rural Economic Development (RED) program is open from August 30, 2021 to October 1, 2021. You can find all program information including how to apply on the program’s homepage on August 30, 2021.

Information Sessions

OMAFRA staff will be conducting two public webinars to provide an overview of the RED program, and discuss the process for applying to the program. Please bring your questions as there will be a Q&A period. The sessions will be on the following dates:

  • September 2, 11:00am-12:00pm EST
  • September 16, 1:00pm-2:00pm EST

Sign up on the session registration page

Ontario’s Rural Economic Development (RED) program provides cost-share funding to support activities that create strong rural communities in Ontario and open doors to rural economic development.

What are RED Outcomes?

RED applications are assessed on their ability to result in one or more of the following:

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Save the Date: Agri-Food Forum 2021 – Innovation and Resiliency in the Agri-Food Sector

On November 3-4, 2021, the 13th annual Municipal Agriculture Economic Development & Planning Forum is taking place! The forum is co-hosted by The Regional Municipality of York and OMAFRA. 

The forum theme is “Innovation and Resiliency in the Agri-Food Sector”. Two half-day sessions will be filled with speakers and panel presentations on enabling innovation and a resilient agri-food system within Ontario and at the local level. Virtual tours of York Region’s agri-food assets, the Holland Marsh growers and York Farm Fresh members will allow participants to explore York Region.

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Exhibit with the Ontario Pavilion at PLMA Chicago, January 30th – February 1st, 2022!

The Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA) is hosting an in-person event in January 2022 for experienced and export-ready food and beverage manufacturers who have an interest in starting or growing their private label products export to the US.

PLMA is a worldwide organization of more than 3,200 manufacturers and marketers of private label products, which includes food and non-food products. The annual PLMA trade show in Chicago is the cornerstone private label show in North America, and historically, more than 1,500 companies from 40 companies exhibit their products, including 25 international pavilions. With 80% of Ontario’s agri-food exports going to the United States in 2020, the US is the largest and most important export market for Ontario.

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New funding Intake for Ontario Food and Beverage Processors

Canada and Ontario are investing up to $6 million in projects to help Ontario food and beverage processors improve their operations, increase their competitive edge and adapt to challenges as the pandemic begins to subside.

Applications for this program will be accepted in two phases.

The first phase of this new intake under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to support projects that will enhance economic development and food safety in the sector will be accepted. Applications for phase one of the intake will be accepted starting on August 5, 2021 until September 2, 2021.

The second phase of the intake will open in September for targeted projects to improve labour productivity, efficiency and reduce waste.

Program materials including the application form and program guide are available on the OMAFRA website.

A webinar providing an overview of this food and beverage processor intake will be held on Monday August 16, at 9:30am. Sign up using the webinar registration form. This session will be recorded and available for those not able to attend.

For more information about the programming contact OMAFRA by emailing or calling 1-877-424-1300.

The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, $3 billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen the agriculture and agri-food sector, ensuring continued innovation, growth and prosperity. This commitment includes $2 billion for programs that are cost-shared by the federal and provincial and territorial governments and are designed and delivered by provinces and territories.

Grocery Innovations Canada Show 2021: Live Online

Grocery Innovations Canada’s (GIC) annual food service and hospitality trade event will take place virtually this year from October 26-28, 2021.

The GIC show is a leading industry event connecting the food and beverage retail sector. The event is attended by key decision makers – such as Presidents, Vice Presidents, General Managers, Directors and Buying/Purchasing Managers – that are keen on purchasing new products for their retail shelves.

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Webinar: Exporting Food and Beverages to The Philippines

On September 14, 2021, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) in cooperation with Canadian Trade Commissioners Services in the Philippines is hosting a webinar for Ontario’s food and beverage suppliers. The webinar will discuss opportunities to export food and beverage products to the Philippines.

Participating Ontario food and beverage suppliers will learn about pertinent information in exporting to importers and retailers in the Philippines and will also have an opportunity to be introduced to consolidators, importers, prominent retailers, and trade commissioners who are engaged in Southeast Asian markets.

Increasing exports and diversifying export markets is fundamental to the competitiveness and growth of Ontario Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), as well as the overall economic health and growth of the province.

Market opportunities for Ontario include:

  • Growing populations and ongoing urbanization in Southeast Asian markets
  • Increased consumption of higher value food & beverage products because of shared interests on trade agreements
  • The growth of the Philippines’ economy and their rising incomes amongst the growing middle class
  • Ontario’s previous success in exporting to the Philippines, including CAD $50.21 million worth of agri-food and beverage products in 2020
  • The Philippines being a net importer of agri-food products in 2018, with Canada being its thirteenth largest supplier

To learn more and capitalize on these opportunities, register on the event homepage.

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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12 Questions to Determine if Entrepreneurship is Right for You

Before diving into entrepreneurship in the food and beverage industry, it is recommended to do some self-reflection to determine whether it is a good fit for your personality, skills, resources, lifestyle, and preparedness. This 12-question self-assessment will help you understand how you may perform in an entrepreneurship scenario and how this change would affect your life. Take a few minutes to learn more about being your own boss and what it takes to succeed.

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