newsletter header
In This Issue ...                                                          March 16, 2016

Economic Development

OMAFRA's Regional Economic Development Branch Social Media Accounts
Follow us on Twitter

Visit our blog

Dateline : online calendar for events, workshops and conferences

OMAFRA Specialists on Twitter Lists

OMAFRA Contact Centre 1-877-424-1300
Calling All Innovative Producers, Processors and Agri-Food Organizations 
The Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Program is Taking Applications. You've got until April 15, 2016 to apply!
Now in its 10th year, the Premier's Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence Program is open. Past winners include innovations that found a better way of doing things, like:
  • getting product to market more efficiently
  • creating a closed-loop system that produces organic greens and tilapia year-round
  • developing a tracking system that makes food safety simpler
  • increasing production time for making great cheese
  • giving producers the tools an knowledge they need to expand their flocks and improve flock health
  • taking the bugs out of greenhouse production
Think you might have an innovation that deserves to be recognized? Have you developed and implemented a unique product or process that helps foster innovation in the agriculture and food sector?  If so, you could be eligible to receive one of the following awards from the Premier's Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence Program:
  • Premier's Award (one award valued at $75,000)
  • Minister's Award (one award valued at $50,000)
  • Leaders in Innovation Awards (three awards valued at $25,000 each)
  • Provincial Awards (45 awards valued at $5,000 each)
Primary producers / farmers, processors and agri-food organizations are invited to apply. 
Check out the Program Guidebook and Application Form, and information on previous award recipients online at or call 1-877-424-1300.
Economic Development
Why Attend the Economic Development Summit for Teeny Tiny Places on March 30, 2016?
Economic development is a broad field, and not all of it is relevant in small places. At this summit, everything you hear will be applicable to places dominated by rural geographies, with hamlets of under 1000 people, stable or declining populations, and no strong economic drivers.

2. You will hear an inspiring, topical keynote speaker. 

3. You want to talk to other people who are making things happen in Teeny Tiny Places.
You want to hear about how small communities stretch their economic development resources, how they create conditions for investment attraction, how they fund-raise, how they develop successful festivals and community revitalization initiatives. There will be examples of all of these and more discussed at the summit!
4. You love your Teeny Tiny Place, and you want to share it with others!
Ontario's Teeny Tiny Places are some of our best hidden gems. What is the best way to shine that gem, and show it to the world? Find out at the Teeny Tiny Summit. 

Hosted by The Township of Leeds and 1000 Islands in partnership with t he Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
March 30, 2016 from 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Seeley's Bay Community Hall, 151 Main St., Seeley's Bay, ON
Cost $30; lunch provided

StratStrategic Planning
Have you wondered where your organization is going? Do you think about where your group or community will be in five years? Is your association or council equipped to operate successfully in the future? And how will you be affected by:
  • Environmental trends?
  • Reduced resources?
  • New demands of members, clients or residents?
If your organization has pondered these questions, the strategic planning process may help guide you towards choosing your path into the future, versus having to deal with situations as they happen.  Strategic planning is a tool that any organization of people, such as a municipality, association, government body, business, agency, council or special interest group can use to proactively plan their future.
It is a process that:
  • examines where your organization or business is now, where you want it to be, and how you are going to get there
  • involves your community or group in visioning your preferred future
  • produces a flexible plan or road map of strategies derived from internal discussions and external sources of input
  • steers your county/region in a focused direction for future success
  • allows proactive thinking beyond your current activities and traditions
  • deals with change positively by responding to it effectively
  • involves making decisions that consider changes or anticipated changes in the environment
  • sets priorities for action that are reflective of all aspects of your association or municipality
Strategic planning is different from long-range planning. Long-range planning builds on current goals and practices and proposes modifications for the future. Strategic planning, however, considers changes or anticipated changes in the environment that suggest more radical moves.
Contact your OMAFRA advisor for more information.

GF2Growing Forward 2 (GF2) Funding: Next Round of Applications 
Processors:  Submit your application for Growing Forward 2 cost-share funding by March 24, 2016.
Producers:   Submit your application for Growing Forward 2 cost-share funding starting June 17 to July 7, 2016.
Organizations and Collaborations:  Applications are now being accepted until Thursday, April 21, 2016.

What Are We Looking For?
  • Good projects that align with one of the six areas of focus below
  • Well-written and well-documented projects
  • Required permits for the proposed project are in place
  • New projects that have yet to be started
Areas of Focus Eligible for Funding:
  1. Environment and climate change adaptation
  2. Animal and plant health
  3. Market development
  4. Labour productivity enhancement
  5. Assurance systems; food safety, traceability, animal welfare
  6. Business and leadership development
Growing Forward 2 (GF2) is a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.

Agriculture Development
ContinuousContinuous Improvement in Beef Production
Brian Pogue, Beef Cattle Program Lead, OMAFRA
"Sustainable Beef Production" is a term that is becoming much more common. As companies such as McDonalds and Walmart move towards marketing "sustainable beef", we will hear more about how to achieve it. There are essentially three things that need to be considered to be sustainable: 1) the economic viability, 2) the environmental response, and 3) the social acceptance. In some respects, it is pretty simple, in that it is continuous improvement in "balancing environmental responsibility, economic opportunity and social diligence" (National Cattlemen's Beef Association).

"Sustainable beef production can be defined as meeting current and future demand for safe, nutritious beef products while maintaining long-term business viability, stewardship of natural resources, and responsibilities to community, family, and animals. The optimum balance of the economic, environmental, and social aspects of sustainability will not be the same for each operation, due to differences across production systems including varying climates, available resources (financial capital, human capital, natural resources), and value judgments of both producers and consumers" (Sarah Place, Oklahoma State University).

Beef Production is very complex and diverse. There are a large number of links in the supply chain from conception to consumer and continuous improvement should be made in all of them. See figure 1. Because of the diversity of operations, there is not one solution for all, but everyone in the supply chain needs to do their part.
Figure 1. Everyone in the supply chain needs to do their part.

There is some good news, as studies have shown improvement for beef production.

By simulating data from the beef production system of the United States Department of Agrictulture (USDA) Meat Animal Research Centre (MARC), Rotz et al. (2013) found that the carbon footprint was reduced 6% from 1970 to 2011. Capper (2011) estimated that the U.S. beef carbon footprint was reduced by 16% from 1977 to 2007. Producing beef has reduced resources and thus, has become more sustainable. Jude Capper reported that in 2007 it took four animals to produce the same amount of beef as five animals in 1977. Raising beef has become more efficient. Optimizing efficiency across the entire beef chain will be vital in striving for sustainability.
Figure 2. Components of sustainability.
Figure 2 indicates what USA stakeholders listed when defining sustainability. Continuous improvement in all of these components is necessary.

DeadDeadstock- Planning and Management
The Ontario Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management estimates that barn fires cost Ontario farmers more than $25 million per year (2012-2014 average).
Do you know what to do in the event of a farm emergency? Do you know what to do if you have deadstock to manage?
Barn fires, natural disasters, equipment failures and diseases are devastating events for farmers, their families and workers, and the neighbouring community. Planning ahead to reduce risks, and preventing accidents with a safe operation will help to protect employees, family members and animals.
Emergency events can cause substantial loss to a farm operation and create unique challenges for farmers, including disposing of large volumes of deadstock. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has a regulation  that gives you options for deadstock management. These options help to protect water quality, reduce environmental impacts and minimize biosecurity hazards, such as scavenging.
Collection of deadstock by a licensed collector is recognized as the most effective and sustainable disposal method.
In emergency situations, you can apply to OMAFRA for an Emergency Authorization for the storage, disposal or transportation of deadstock. These authorizations can be used when emergency conditions exist that make it difficult for you to dispose of deadstock according to the regulation.
OMAFRA works with the province's farmers, commodity groups, insurance companies, municipalities and trucking companies to ensure that deadstock is disposed of as soon as possible. In granting an exemption, OMAFRA considers the various factors of the situation, such as:
  • the urgency of the situation
  • the number of animals to be disposed
  • biosecurity risks
  • time of year
  • the condition of the deadstock
  • site conditions, including proximity to tile drains, location of surface water and wells, and depth to groundwater 
Planning ahead can help alleviate some of the stress during an emergency. Our web page found at has useful resources for farm owners, including information on preventative maintenance for farm buildings and our book, "Reducing the Risk of Fire on Your Farm" . We encourage you to develop a contingency plan for emergency situations. Visit for information on contingency deadstock planning and the regulation.
For help with managing deadstock in an emergency situation, you can contact an OMAFRA environmental specialistor engineer in your region , or the Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300 or

CropCrop Production Systems in Northern Ontario - What About Canola?
One of the trends in Northern Ontario Agriculture has been the expansion of the cash crop sector in the last three decades. The north has been known to grow good quality forages and spring grains, which thrive under cooler growing conditions. Canola, another cool season crop, came to the north in the early 80's and gained popularity resulting in a tremendous acreage expansion. As much as 40% of the provincial canola acreage came from North Eastern Ontario a few years ago. Where are we now?

With fewer livestock farms across the north, less farm fed grains, fewer acres of forages and the expansion of the farm acreage, producers have been looking at crop alternatives.  Crop pricing and market demand for human consumption have led to more crop diversification on the northern farms. Producers have also been re-thinking their entire crop production system since many of them have been growing fewer acres of forage. Canola seems to fit in! Western Canada had 19.9M acres last year. A major crop out west! It is a cool season crop from the brassica family, great for the soil structure and does not require specialized planting or harvesting equipment.
Canola farmer in his fields

Canola acreage increased tremendously in many regions of the north, for example; in Temiskaming district in 2004 there was 11,100 acres and by 2011 it peaked at 25,405 acres.  Unfortunately, an insect called "Swede Midge", forced producers to abandon the crop in Temiskaming district in the last two years. The Ontario Canola Growers Association is working closely with researchers from the University of Guelph to find solutions to control this pest in order to allow producers to regain a profitable canola crop. The insect has been identified in other regions of the north; however, populations are low enough with no yield loss. As for growers in Temiskaming district, they are trying out other crops to extend their rotation. Soybeans have gained acreage and some of the minor crops i.e. flax, buckwheat, peas, and now faba beans, are gaining ground.

EmploymentEmployment Ontario Bulletin
This is to inform you that the Canada-Ontario Job Grant (COJG): UpSkill pilot call for proposal (CFP) has re-opened. A pplicants have until  April 18, 2016 to apply for COJG: UpSkill. The application is accessible  here .
COJG: UpSkill funds partnerships to develop and implement sector-specific, integrated essential and technical skills training for employees. The program will help employers meet their workforce development needs by providing employees with high quality, short-term skills training aligned with their shared business needs.
The total funding for the COJG: UpSkill pilot will be based on the number of employees who will be participating in the training. The government will cover two-thirds of the direct training costs, up to $10,000 per trainee. Employers must contribute at least one-third of eligible costs in cash.

The targeted sectors for the pilot are:
  • Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting;
  • Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction; and
  • Manufacturing including Food
You can find more information about the Call for Proposal (CFP) for COJG: UpSkill on the Canada-Ontario Job Grant Employer page .
For further assistance, employers can contact the Employment Ontario Contact Centre toll-free at: 1-800-387-5656, or through the TTY line: 1-866-533-6339.