Northern Ontario’s agriculture industry is experiencing rapid growth thanks to affordable real estate and a warming climate. New opportunities are becoming available to start or expand agricultural operations in the north; this is providing businesses with reasons to be optimistic.
Approximately 16 million acres of ideal farming land is ready for development in northern Ontario and can be purchased at an affordable price. Forested lands owned by the Government of Ontario are rapidly being cleared and tiled to make room for an increased agricultural presence in the region. In the past 2 years, approximately 4,600 acres of farm land has been cleared and tiled, providing the region with prime real estate for farmers.
Recent changes to the region’s climate have led to extended seasons, allowing farmers to produce larger yields. Warmer climate temperatures and ample rain fall allow farmers to increase their operations for major crops such as, soybeans and oats. Together, these two factors provide a unique opportunity for agricultural producers and processors to reap the rewards of new investment.
Northern Ontario’s Agriculture Industry to Experience Significant Growth
Affordable real estate and northern Ontario’s warming climate are two key factors that will contribute to the agriculture sector’s growth. This is a significant opportunity for farmers who are willing to invest in Ontario’s north, since there is nearly twice as much quality farmland as there is in the south.
Agricultural producers and processors can access inexpensive land along the “Big Clay Belt” in northern Ontario, which is considered prime real estate and is ready for development. Farmers can currently purchase this land for approximately $1,000 – $1,500 per acre.
Climate change, in this instance, stands to provide significant benefit to Ontarian farmers. Agricultural professionals have reported longer growing seasons thanks to warmer temperatures, more rainfall, and less frost during the summer seasons. The climate is conducive for major crops including, soybeans, canola, oats, and wheat. In addition, minor crops such as barley, corn, peas and flax are thriving in northern Ontario.
Ontario Government Grants Support Agricultural Growth and Development
Over the past two years, agriculture producers and processors in northern Ontario have received approximately $22 million in government funding through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation. These contributions have supported northern Ontario’s agricultural growth by offsetting business expansion project costs by up to 50%.
FedNor and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation provide small business funding to help growth oriented businesses in northern Ontario expand and develop agricultural operations within the region.
Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC)
The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation programs provide government funding to growth-oriented businesses to help execute strategic expansion projects. Eligible applicants can quickly establish their operations in northern Ontario by accessing government funding to accelerate their development projects.
Eligible business expansion projects may receive up to 50% of expenses to a maximum contribution of $1 million in Ontario small business grants and loans.
Northern Ontario Development Program (NODP)
FedNor’s Northern Ontario Development Program offers funding for projects that support economic diversification, business competitiveness, and innovation. Projects should lead to sustainable growth in northern Ontario, including large-scale business investment and job creation initiatives.
Eligible projects may receive up to 33% in repayable funding for a project’s eligible capital costs and up to 50% of non-capital costs.
Access Ontario Government Funding for Your Agricultural Expansion Projects
Agricultural producers and processors can access Ontario government funding to accelerate their business expansion initiatives. When used strategically, these programs can dramatically improve project outcomes and support a range of growth strategies.
Ontario small business owners and executives can remain up-to-date with funding news by subscribing to Mentor Works’ weekly Funding Newsletter.