Growing Forward 2 In Ontario
Ontario has Canada's most diversified agricultural industry and its largest bio-products and food manufacturing industries. The province's agri-food sector contributes more than $34 billion to Ontario's economy and employs more than 700,000 people.
What is Growing Forward 2?
Growing Forward 2 is a comprehensive federal-provincial-territorial framework that encourages innovation, competitiveness and market development in Canada's agri-food and agri-products sector. In Ontario, farm, food and bioproducts businesses, collaborations and organizations can build their own plans and pursue opportunities to help grow their profits, expand their markets and manage risks.
With a focus on innovation, competitiveness, and market development, Growing Forward 2 programs are designed to help the industry capitalize on opportunities and contribute to the economy. A total of $417 million in federal and provincial funding will be available for this forward-looking programming over the next five years in Ontario.
The existing suite of business risk management programs -- AgriStability and Agri-Invest ---- are still available through Agricorp to help farmers manage risks resulting from adverse weather conditions, market volatility and increased input costs.
How does it work?
Growing Forward 2 offers Ontario farm, food and bio-products business owners -- as well as industry organizations and other industry collaborations -- a variety of tools and supports they need to succeed.
The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association will deliver programming for farmers and the Agricultural Adaptation Council will deliver programming for collaborations and organizations on behalf of government. The province will deliver programs for food and bioproducts processors.
Information sessions on these programs will be available in April and May, 2013 and education workshops will be available starting in May, 2013. Funding assistance for capacity building, including skills development and training, assessment, and planning, will be available starting in June, 2013. Funding assistance for implementing projects will be available in fall 2013.
Innovation is a key component of Growing Forward 2, which will continue to support innovation hubs such as the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre and business services through the Agri-Technology Commercialization Centre. The Farm Innovation Program will be continued for one year as the "Ontario Farm Innovation Program" and will be available through the Agricultural Adaptation Council.
Among the educational programs continued from the first Growing Forward are the Environmental Farm Plan and Growing Your Farm Profits workshops. Other workshops and e-learning activities will be phased in over the next year.
Through Growing Forward 2, Ontario and Canada are offering many opportunities to help farm, food and bioproducts businesses, organizations and industry collaborations grow their profits, expand their markets and manage risks, ensuring they are successful and sustainable for generations to come.