Ontario-based agri-food producers can take advantage of small business government grants for agriculture offered from the Growing Forward 2 (GF2) Ontario program to implement projects that expand and grow their Ontario-based farm or production businesses.
Growing Forward 2 Ontario Funding for Project Implementation
The Project Implementation stream of Growing Forward 2 Ontario provides funding of up to 35% of project costs. If the proposed project is considered to be particularly innovative, the program may fund up to 50% of project costs. There are additional steps to be completed for a project to be considered innovative. Project costs that can be part of the expenses that are funded include costs associated with the rental of building, equipment and machinery. It will support contract labour but not full time employees.
The funding will support a percentage of capital expenses to a maximum amount of $100,000. For capital equipment to receive funding support, a producer needs to contribute a minimum of 25% cash towards the costs. In-kind contributions must be documented and within program guidelines to a maximum of 15% of project costs.
Growing Forward 2 Ontario Small Business Grants Eligibility
In order to qualify for Growing Forward 2 Ontario funding, businesses must have a Premises Identification number and a Farm Business Registration number. Producers who apply, must have submitted income taxes in the last year associated with a farm or business.
Growing Forward 2 Ontario Business Grants for Producers: Focus Areas:
For projects to be eligible to receive funding from the Project Implementation stream, they must fit with one of the six focus areas of Growing Forward 2:
- Environment and climate change adaptation
- Animal and plant health
- Market development
- Labour productivity enhancements
- Assurance systems (food safety, traceability, animal welfare)
- Business and leadership development
For each focus area, there are specific criteria that must be met.
Growing Forward 2 Ontario Focus Area: Environment & Climate Change Adaptation
For Environment and Climate Change Adaptation, there are four priority areas considered:
- Nutrient Management
- Soil Protection
- Water Protection (4 focus areas)
Growing Forward 2 Ontario Focus Area: Animal & Plant Health
For the focus area of Animal and Plant Health, applications should focus on
- Improving the ability to identify and prevent the occurrence and spread of infectious diseases in animals and plants or pest problems.
- Priority – province-wide
Projects in the focus area of Animal and Plant health must address a risk determined in a planning exercise.
Growing Forward 2 Ontario Focus Area: Market Development
For the focus area of Market Development is on expanding and growing farm businesses through the adoption and use of business tools including market, customer, and competitor analysis and marketing resources. To qualify for this funding, the applicant must have the following:
- Detailed implementation plan backed by a marketing or business plan that supports this.
- Detailed plan that indicates how the current market will be retained and expanded, or expansion in to new markets or market a new product.
- Priority – Province-wide
Growing Forward 2 Ontario Focus Area: Labour Productivity Enhancement
For the area of Labour Productivity Enhancement, the project should focus on how the farm business will use recognized best labour and human resource management practices, systems and innovative technology, and site/facility re-design. An applicant must have the following prepared for their submission:
- Completed assessment that identifies the risks/areas of concern to focus on and a business or assessment plan to resolve the issue.
- Impact on KPIs must be included as part of the assessment
- If the project involves new equipment, it must include training opportunities for employees.
- Priority – province wide. Impact must be on improvements that demonstrate training for HQP, adoption of new technologies and facility/site improvements.
Growing Forward 2 Ontario Focus Area: Assurance Systems
For the focus area of Assurance Systems, there are three priority areas:
- Animal welfare
- Food Safety projects
- Food Traceability projects
Growing Forward 2 Ontario Focus Area: Business and Leadership Development
Projects in this focus area must include:
- Planning and assessment steps that lead to a plan to improve leadership skills and business management skills for the applicant
- Include a detailed business plan that outlines what the steps are to implement business management practices and skills training.
Projects Ineligible for Growing Forward 2 Ontario
Projects that are not eligible for funding under the Project Implementation stream of funding are:
- Purchase or lease of land or buildings;
- Livestock, feed and supplements;
- Harvested crop inputs;
- Land rental (unless for approved applied research efforts);
- New building construction;
- Normal production practices for the producer;
- Typical farm equipment;
- Tile drainage systems;
- Production quota;
- Crop storage facilities;
- Global Positioning Systems (GPS)
- Robotic milking systems
- MicroFIT green energy generation systems
- Costs not specifically required for the implementation of a project
- Normal operating costs associated with carrying out a business, such as salaries and benefits of non-contract staff, office space, utilities, phone, materials, labour, board, committee and annual meetings, etc.
- Normal costs of establishing or maintaining a farm business
- Any cost, including a tax that is eligible for a rebate, credit or refund
- Travel costs beyond those provided for in the Travel Cost Guideline
- Financing charges and loan interest payments
- Gifts and incentives
- Expenses incurred for other approved GF2 projects
- Multi-use items (e.g. items that can reach beyond the scope of the project such as computers, printers, etc, which are not specifically required for the project).
Find Out More Information on Growing Forward 2 Ontario Business Grants for Producers Project Implementation
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