More opportunities for farmers to improve their operations
The OSCIA has added another intake period for farm project funding applications
By Jennifer Jackson
This year marks the last chance that producers have to apply for government funding for farm projects under the Province’s Growing Forward 2 (GF2) initiative.
To encourage producers to apply, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), through the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA), is adding another application submission period for the GF2 Funding Assistance Program.
Both OMAFRA and OSCIA hope the extra intake period will provide producers with more time to review and select farm projects that they wish to submit for consideration for funding assistance, according to a Feb. 3 release.
The program offers government assistance for select farm projects that fit into the following categories:
- Climate change and environmental adaptation,
- Quality assurance projects (traceability, food safety, animal welfare),
- Plant and animal health,
- Labour productivity improvement,
- Market development, and
- Leadership and business development.
The program has been very successful with producers across the country, according to John Laidlaw, program manager for OSCIA.
“The program has resonated with producers in Ontario, starting with the workshops and moving through to cost-share,” he says. “There have been over 2,600 projects funded and over $26.6 million in cost-share paid to producers. (These figures do) not include over 900 projects worth over $7.5 million (which were part) of the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea special intake.”
Farmers must enroll their operations with the Province and attend the proper workshops prior to applying for government assistance, according to a GF2 brochure. The application process requires intensive planning and participation that includes a detailed work plan outlining the resources and costs needed to complete the project.
“OSCIA has always sent the message to assess, plan and implement,” says Laidlaw. “Producers should (first) assess their operations by attending one, or all, of the five different workshops that OSCIA offers: Environmental Farm Plan, Growing Your Farm Profits, Biosecurity, Food Safety, and Traceability.
“Once producers have taken the workshop, they can get funding to complete various plans, audits and/or assessments. From there, they can look to the program guide and see what cost-share funding may be available to help them achieve their goals.”
The enrolment dates in 2017 are now as follows:
- Feb. 3 to 23,
- April 4 to 18, and
- May 12 to June 1.
Chosen projects can receive up to 50 per cent government assistance depending on the type and category of the project. The project must also be completed by Dec. 15, 2017, followed by the cost details by Jan. 15, 2017.
More information on the program and application requirements are on the OSCIA website.