ONTARIO — Today, Ernie Hardeman, Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, issued the following op-ed:
The Ontario government recognizes the tremendous growth opportunity in our agri-food sector and we are committed to making the province open for business and a place to grow.
As Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, my priority is to make life better for farmers and to help grow their businesses. I know how important it is for our farm and food businesses to plan for the upcoming year and be prepared for any challenges they may face.
That is why we are making it easier for our farmers and agribusinesses to apply for cost- share funding to support a range of projects under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, including plant health, food safety improvements and farm equipment upgrades.
We’re opening this application intake on January 8, 2020, well ahead of planting season. This cost-share programming to support farmers and other businesses is delivered by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA). OSCIA will post the guidelines on the eligible project categories soon, so farmers and businesses can get ready to take advantage of this programming that’s designed to help them succeed and grow. Applications to this intake will be reviewed on a continuous basis — as they are received — so eligible farmers and business owners can receive their funding faster.
Applicants will see a more streamlined and user-friendly application process that will save time and allow them to focus more on what they do best: growing and producing some of the highest quality food in the world. Based on the feedback we heard directly from farmers and industry leaders, we have made improvements to make the process easier and to encourage more investment in our farm and food businesses. When farmers invest in improving their operations, they not only help grow their own business, but also add to Ontario’s economy and create good jobs. Projects supported under this intake are expected to boost innovation, market development, productivity and the use of best management farming practices. Some examples of these projects might include planting overwintering cover crops to improve soil health and reduce soil erosion losses, actions that help prevent pest damage at greenhouse operations, or developing a product that will open new markets or expand sales for farm businesses.
Our government values our farmers, and we understand the importance of the agri-food sector to our province. I look forward to seeing how these projects will help strengthen our farm and food businesses. For more information on the upcoming application intake to support farmers and other businesses visit the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs website.