In This Issue ...
Let's meet the new members of our teams
The OMAFRA Field Crop Team is pleased to introduce its new members who bring youth, enthusiasm, broad backgrounds and
a passion to assist producers to attain their goals.
is the new Cereals Specialist with the Field Crop Unit of OMAFRA and has a strong passion for the agriculture industry
to assist producers to attain their goals. Joanna completed her M.Sc. in Weed Science from the University of Guelph with a focus on glyphosate resistant giant ragwee
d in soybeans. Through
her Masters research she
obtained experience in field and
greenhouse research and developed a strong understanding of research methods and practices to support Ontario crop
is the new Field Crop Soil Fertility Specialist for OMAFRA. Jake brings a combination of practical field experience, applied research and training to the role of Soil Fertility Specialist.
Jake has a Bachelor of
Science degree from Acadia University in Nova
Scotia and a Master's degree in Physical Geography from the University of Toronto. Jake will work out of the Stratford OMAFRA office and can be reached at 519-271-9269 or
Ben Rosser is the new Field Crop Corn Industry Program Lead
for OMAFRA. Prior to joining OMAFRA Ben was a Research Technician with the University of Guelph where
his primary focus has been on applied research projects investigating corn agronomic practices.
Ben has a BSc. in Agriculture and MSc. in Plan
t Agriculture from the University of Guelph. Ben is originally from Denfield, ON. Ben has a strong interest in applied agronomy
research, and would like to continue to apply it as new developments and challenges arise in Ontario corn
production. Ben will work out of the Crop Science Building at the University of Guelph Main Campus and can be reached at 519-824-4120 ext 54865 or
is the new Field Crop Canola and Edible Bean Specialist for OMAFRA. As the Research Coordinator for the Grain Farmers of Ontario Meghan has developed her
knowledge in field crop production and
research. Meghan has a MSc. in Plant Agriculture from the University of Guelph. Meghan will work out of the Stratford OMAFRA office and can be reached at 519-271-3495 or
Economic Developers Council of Ontario 59th Annual Conference and Showcase
The Economic Developers Council of Ontario Conference takes you out of the office and gives you the space to imagine, create and discuss key issues facing economic developers with some of the most imaginative and strategic minds in the industry. This year, the Conference covers a pivotal theme, Ontario's Transformation: Economy by Design.
Learn to transform your existing strategies for sustainable economic development and engage with innovative leaders and fellow learners. Be an active player of Ontario's transformation!
The program features keynote presentations by distinguished experts, relevant, highly practical and interactive workshops on hot topics.
For more information and to register please
Food Entrepreneurship Success in Central Ontario Expands to Provincial Conference
The week of October 25, 2015 was declared Food Entrepreneurship Week in Simcoe County to celebrate those gastronomic entrepreneurs who make a business out of growing, processing, and selling food-related products across the region. To celebrate the declaration (Oct. 26 and 28) Georgian College and community partners welcomed over 200 food entrepreneurs to the Orillia and Midland Food Entrepreneurship Seminars.
The seminars were part of a successful series led by Georgian College that have been sweeping across communities in Central Ontario.
To date, over 700 food-related entrepreneurs have come out to learn from experts, ranging from entrepreneurs, product developers, support organizations, food inspection, and government.
Panels ranged from regional food entrepreneurs sharing their story, to funding and resources experts, to considerations for requirements and regulations related to business growth.
The day also included interactive workshops that allowed attendees to connect with other entrepreneurs through a facilitated networking session, or perfect their product and investment pitch. Each event featured 20-25 food entrepreneur leaders from across the region who sampled their tasty products and provided information, advice, and potential business connections. While attendees loved the organized learning opportunities, it always seems like entrepreneurs get the most benefit from networking with their peers, and the follow up survey certainly indicated that they found the opportunity to spend the day learning and connecting with their fellow entrepreneurs very valuable. These events have created local networks that are now working together to continue to provide opportunities for food entrepreneurs to network, learn, and grow.
If this sounds like a great learning opportunity for you, a client you work with, or a friend or family member you may know, there is good news! Thanks to the success of the regional seminars, Georgian College, the Agri-Food Management Institute, the County of Simcoe, and OMAFRA have partnered together to host the all-Ontario Food Entrepreneurship Conference on March 3 and 4, 2016 at Georgian College in Barrie, Ontario.
For Muskoka and Near North partners, watch out for a future regional food entrepreneurship event coming up in Bracebridge in Spring of 2016.
Does Your Downtown Need a Refresh?
OMAFRA's Downtown Revitalization (DR) program provides training and support to implement comprehensive revitalization initiatives.
When it comes to revitalizing a downtown, people often think of structural and tangible improvements. However, frequently there is more to the picture than the appearance of the downtown. Each downtown has its own unique architecture, cultural traditions, heritage, human talents and other assets to build on. A successful DR project focuses not only on a community's buildings and structures but on many factors including: the demography of the area, overall attractiveness to investors, and the impression a community gives visitors. The "four point approach" to DR includes:
- Economic Development
- Leadership and Management
- Marketing and Promotion
- Physical Improvements
To see if your community's downtown can benefit from using the DR program contact the Regional Economic Development Branch Advisor for your area.
First Impressions Community Exchange - Three reasons why this program works!
The First Impressions Community Exchange program (FICE) facilitates an exchange between two communities who are looking for an unbiased "first impression" of a specific area of their community such as a downtown, tourism related infrastructure or an evaluation of their entire community.
Three reasons why FICE works:
- It builds volunteer capacity - FICE is a program that pulls together volunteers, typically made up of 6-8 local residents who visit the partnering community, to conduct a "first impressions" assessment. This team is reflective of the people who live in the community, which means the results come from a variety of perspectives.
- It provides objective "unbiased" feedback - The objective feedback received from the partnering team can help put plans in motion.
- The benefits can last for years - Communities that have participated in a FICE as far back as 2007 have reported that the recommendations they received from their partner community have resulted in positive change that continues to produce results and keep the community engaged.
Increased volunteer capacity, objective feedback and long term benefits are what make FICE attractive to so many communities, 150 have participated to-date.
Introduction to Organic Certification
Canadian Organic Growers is offering
Introduction to Organic Certification workshops in January and February 2016.
These workshops are designed for producers interested in transitioning to or learning more about organic certification and are meant to help producers overcome any barriers they may experience and to answer any questions.
Workshop dates and locations are as follows:
Uxbridge - Tuesday, January 26 at Sanford Hall
Ottawa - Monday, February 8 at the Bronson Centre
Brantford - Tuesday, February 16 at T.B. Costain/SC Johnson Community Centre
The workshops are 6 hours in length with time provided for lunch (provided).
Registration is FREE ($50 value) as funding is provided in part through Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of Growing Forward 2 in Ontario.
Please register in advance at
If you have any questions or require additional information please contact Canadian Organic Growers at
Andrew was first introduced to funding assistance from Growing Forward 2 through the company's current business advisors. They have successfully developed a number of successful projects that have focused on business and leadership development, and labour and productivity enhancements.
"Growing Forward 2 is a great program," he says. "If there are improvements you know you want to do, this is one way to get them done. The cost-share component helped us reach our goals; and through some of the improvements to our business process, we'll be able to shorten our payback period from five years to three years."
Growing Forward 2
offers workshops and a comprehensive guidebook to help businesses through the application process. "We are fortunate to have a staff member whose job it is to know all the funding programs available and help with the applications using the online portal," says Andrew. "We had staff attend the GF2 workshops and that really got them fired up about the possibilities for making changes to our business."
Andrew's advice to other businesses looking to improve and evolve, including accessing cost-share funding through Growing Forward 2, is simple. "Do your homework. That's part of a successful application. Do an analysis - whether it's internally at your company or through an outside firm. We hire professionals to do that and were able to use some of the funding to offset the costs of having an external review."
Growing Forward 2
helped the Hendriks' business continue to adapt and change. "If your competitors are assessing these funds, your business will be at a disadvantage if you are not participating."
"Growing Forward 2 is a great program that I really hope will continue. I don't think we'd be here today if we hadn't made changes to our business."