I had the opportunity to attend the 60th annual Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO) conference that took place in February. Delegates from across Ontario included economic development officers, municipal elected officials, staff from several Ontario ministries, and industry leaders representing manufacturing, business, planning, IT, and tourism.
On December 7, 2016, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced the winners of 10th annual Premier’s Awards for Agri-Innovation Excellence. These awards are presented to individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to innovation in the Ontario agri-food sector. The Premier’s award was given to Dairy Quality Inc., a company that created a mobile app that provides farmers with instant and accurate somatic cell counts. Using the tool, dairy farmers can identify problems and take action before a cow develops advanced mastitis. That’s good news for cows, consumers and for farmers.
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.
LaunchPad, a new Youth Activity and Technology Centre in Hanover, is a place where young people between the ages of 12 and 18 can explore the world through a wide range of activities – art, digital media, software, music, entrepreneurship, computer hardware, hands-on and just plain fun. Staff at the centre encourage the young people to see how their talents and innovative ideas can help them and their communities grow.
At LaunchPad, young people learn important skills that can improve their employability, and make new connections with employers and local leaders in their communities. The hope is that they’ll stay and work in the area after they graduate high school.
Ontario’s Business Retention + Expansion (BR+E) program received international recognition as an award winner for an innovative, effective and exemplary BR+E Program at the most recent Business Retention + Expansion International Conference (BREI), held in San Antonio, Texas on May 25th, 2016. This award recognizes Ontario’s achievements on a global scale. The provincial program was also a runner-up in the BR+E Project/Program Impact award category.
Succession planning is the process of passing important leadership roles to the next generation of members in an organization. Proper succession planning allows for the smooth transfer of responsibilities and tasks from existing members to the succeeding group. A succession plan is put in place to avoid scrambling before an annual meeting, trying to get a warm body in a seat at the board table. Different approaches as to how an organization can best transfer the required skills and knowledge to its upcoming members can be used; no single approach works for everyone.
Succession planning focuses on the jobs that are most crucial to the operations of the organization, and outlines how roles and responsibilities are to be handed down to the most qualified individuals. Often times, the individuals who take over lead roles do not have the same experience and knowledge that the current person in the position does, so succession planning helps to identify these gaps, and aid in the development of these successors. Continue reading Succession Planning Tips for Not-for-Profits→
Successful regional economic development planning achieved thanks to the “Train the Trainer” program developed by the Regional Economic Development Branch of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).
Gone are the days of planning in silos for the municipalities in Huron County. In 2014, the County began the challenging process of re-structuring their entire Economic Development department and also created an Economic Development Board comprised of leaders from across the business community. The first order of business was to develop a comprehensive strategic plan. Working together, all ten municipal partners and community representatives achieved economic development plans that are integrated county-wide.
In an age of patented crop varieties and technology use agreements, how does one put a value on the economic impact of a small, independent research station?
Driven by a belief that location specific research is important to the sustainability and advancement of the local and regional agricultural and agri related industries, the Thunder Bay Agricultural Research Association has been managing the Thunder Bay Agricultural Research Station (TBARS) since 2003.
With its small plot work, TBARS seeks to improve the economics of local agriculture through crop diversification and improved soil and crop management adapted to the local environment. Building on relationships with researchers and suppliers in western Canada, eastern Canada and internationally, TBARS takes the risks to demonstrate what the possibilities could be for producers in the region. The detailed Annual Reports that are produced are sought after in many other jurisdictions.
Long before soybeans became a major western crop, TBARS had shown local producers and the rest of Ontario that there were varieties that could thrive in the long daylight environment of northern latitudes. The dominant dairy industry was quick to capitalize on a homegrown protein source. More recently, chick peas, lentils and edible beans have been shown to produce economic yields at the station. Continue reading Thunder Bay Agricultural Research Station→
Regional Economic Development Branch blog focusing on agriculture and rural economic development for Ontario