For years, Growing Forward 2 (GF2) has provided agricultural producers and processors a critical source of business investment. The Canadian government funding program, administered by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), provides farms and food processors with small business grants to become more competitive and innovative.
When Growing Forward 2 launched in 2013, the federal contributed $2 billion in funding and encouraged the provincial governments across Canada to contribute funding of their own. As result, federal-provincial/territorial funds were created to better address the local needs of agriculture and agri-food companies.
Now over half-way through the governments’ 5-year funding commitment, program administrators are seeking feedback about Growing Forward 2 so that they can begin planning for their next wave of agricultural funds. Agriculture and agri-food companies across Canada have been invited to provide this program feedback, even if businesses have not applied for or successfully received GF2 funding.
Current Growing Forward 2 Program Structure
The Growing Forward 2 initiative provides a total of $3 billion in funding from federal, provincial, and territorial governments. Of this amount, $1 billion was allocated for three broad national programs. The remaining $2 billion was allocated for regional funding programs, such as Growing Forward 2 Ontario.
Federal Growing Forward 2 Funding Programs
The three broad federal initiatives supported by the federal Growing Forward 2 framework include:
- AgriInnovation: Supports research and development of new and innovative products/technologies related to the agriculture and agri-food sector.
- AgriCompetitiveness: Supports direct investment that enables businesses to respond to emerging trends and opportunities in the agricultural industry.
- AgriMarketing: Funding for small business export development through the adoption of quality and food safety assurance systems. Also supports the implementation of foreign market strategies.
Growing Forward 2 Ontario Business Grants
Each province and territory also has dedicated funds from the Growing Forward 2 program. For example, Ontario’s provincial variant, Growing Forward 2 Ontario, is comprised of three streams for each of the key stakeholders in the industry: agricultural producers, processors, and organizations/collaborations.
Producers and processors of agricultural products may receive up to 35-50% of eligible costs to a maximum $350,000 for projects including:
- Market Development;
- Leadership and Business Development;
- Productivity and Labour Enhancement;
- Plant and Animal Health;
- Assurance Systems; and
- Environment and Climate Change Adaptation.
2016 Application Intake for Growing Forward 2 Ontario Grants: Agricultural producers and processors can apply for government grants from October 14 to November 3, 2016.
How to Provide Feedback about Growing Forward 2
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), the federal department in charge of overseeing Growing Forward 2, has requested that Canadian businesses send their feedback about GF2 so that they can develop a framework for the new agricultural framework. If your agricultural or agri-food business applied for Growing Forward 2, wanted to apply but didn’t qualify, or didn’t find the value in applying for GF2 grants, you should contribute some feedback about the program.
The consultation process has now closed. Feedback was used to develop the next series of agri-food funding, the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP).