Growing Forward 2 for Producers

This page was published under a previous government and is available for archival and research purposes.

New: GF2 Results Spotlight

The GF2 Results Spotlight below shows some of the ways that producers across the province have improved their business with GF2 funding. The featured results will be updated regularly and each spotlight will focus on new results within one GF2 area of focus.

Spotlight: Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED)

GF2's PED Biosecurity Special Intake helped address biosecurity concerns for Ontario's swine industry. Animal disease outbreaks can affect profitability, resulting in serious economic hardship to the industry and the rural communities they support. GF2 helped protect Ontario's animal resource base from the PED virus and strengthen the sustainability of the industry.

Over $8.4 million was committed to help industry manage and prevent the spread of PED.

  • There was strong industry uptake with over 960 projects completed.
  • Projects with greatest impact on biosecurity were funded, including over 1,400 best management practices such as cleaning/disinfection, anterooms, and mortality management.1

GF2 helped Ontario businesses reduce key risks2 (note: results below represent only a subset of the total completed projects):

Three donut charts showing 87% reduced risk of disease transmission onto the operation, 74% reduced risk of disease transmission within the operation, 61% reduced risk of disease transmission off the operation.

Pie chart showing 91% moved closer to national biosecurity standards. Line graph showing number of diagnosed PED cases in Ontario. Time is along the x-axis (horizontal), starting at January 2014 on the left and ending May 2016 on the right. The number of diagnosed PED cases is shown on the y-axis (vertical) starting at 0 on the bottom and going to 20 at the top. The graph shows the number of diagnosed PED cases drastically dropping from the highest point of 19 in March 2014 to 1 in July 2014, then maintaining a somewhat steadier number of 4 or below for the remaining years.

Expanding Markets, Increasing Productivity, Managing Risks
How Growing Forward 2 Has Helped Ontario Producers Reach Their Goals

Over the last five years, Growing Forward 2 (GF2) has driven positive change and fostered the growth of Ontario's agricultural and agri-food sector. Producers have used GF2 funding to complete assessments, audits, plans, and training, and to innovate and modernize their practices, equipment, and operations.

Farmers across Ontario have improved their business in various areas with GF2 funding. These include enhancements in: research and innovation, assurance systems, environment and climate change adaptation, business and leadership development, and animal and plant health. These GF2 projects have helped producers and the sector expand markets, increase productivity, and manage risks.

Research and Innovation

GF2 has helped to accelerate the pace of innovation and to commercialize these innovations, moving them into markets. This was achieved by building collaborations and networks, conducting applied research and knowledge transfer, providing commercialization assistance, and targeting support to industry innovations and early adopters. These activities have fostered a more competitive agricultural and agri-food sector.

Taking a Bite Out of the Apple Market

To help the sector address increasing competition from imports, Niagara's Vineland Research and Innovation Centre used GF2 funding to help Ontario apple growers diversify and upgrade their variety selection. The centre identified Smitten™ - a New Zealand apple with full flavour, storability, and resistance to bruising. After testing the apple with Ontario growers, Vineland brokered a deal to grow and commercialize the new variety here.

Three Canadian growers have licensed Smitten™ apples and will be planting 200,000 trees, or about 200 acres, by 2020. Recognized as a premium variety, the apple will generate $1.10 to $1.58 per pound on average for local growers (compared to about $0.90 for more standard varieties grown here). That means these 200 acres will translate into $10.2 million in gross sales per year for apple growers.

"Vineland's scouting program jumpstarts the introduction of new and preferred fruit varieties from around the world. The Smitten™ apple is expected to be a winner in the Canadian marketplace based on Vineland's consumer insights-developed apple preference map."

- Jim Brandle, CEO, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre

Assurance Systems

Effective assurance systems help strengthen and keep Ontario's agri-sector competitive. GF2 has helped ensure the industry uses recognized standards and puts modernized systems in place. These improvements have helped organizations and collaborations meet market requirements, access new market opportunities, ensure buyer confidence in products, and protect their business and customers.

Connecting Chicken Farmers to Success

GF2 helped jumpstart a digital transformation of Ontario's chicken industry. The Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO) created CFO Connects, a data management system that digitally tracks and manages operations throughout the industry.

This online platform is evolving the industry from a paper-based one by providing new access to real-time data and end-to-end digitalization throughout the supply chain. Ontario chicken farmers now have the ability to process business transactions with supply chain partners any time they want. CFO Connects also facilitates consistent recordkeeping and an improved forecasting and business planning model.

The system has created efficiencies, improved traceability, and enabled new management tools and analytics for chicken farmers. CFO Connects is enhancing quality and productivity, improving customer service to farmers, managing on-farm costs, stimulating innovation, and supporting risk management.

"The new CFO-designed technology platform called CFO Connects has revolutionized the way the Ontario chicken industry does business. CFO Connects leverages best-in-class SAP technology. Implementation has simplified, streamlined and standardized many processes, which has resulted in greater efficiency and effectiveness for the industry."

- John Um, Director, Information echnology, Chicken Farmers of Ontario

Connecting Chicken Farmers to Success

Environment and Climate Change Adaptation

GF2 helped producers plan for and implement best practices, technologies, and innovations to address environmental risks. Businesses are now able to use water, energy, and other inputs more efficiently. With GF2 funding, producers improved their overall environmental performance related to air and soil quality, water quality and quantity, and biodiversity.

Great Water Quality Improvements in the Great Lakes

GF2's Great Lakes Agricultural Stewardship Initiative (GLASI) has helped improve the water quality in our Great Lakes.

Under GLASI, producers worked with a Certified Crop Advisor, free of charge, to review their farm's soil, natural features, and land management practices. Over 850 assessments were completed to identify best management practices (BMPs) such as cover crops, amendments to improve soil organic matter, and crop nutrient plans, to reduce risks and improve overall farm productivity. Supported by approximately $3.4 million in cost-share funding, producers completed 650 BMP projects, representing a total investment of $8.8 million in on-farm environmental improvements. GLASI also provided funding to help farmers implement targeted BMPs in selected sub-watersheds, which enabled edge-of-field phosphorus reductions to be measured.

These initiatives resulted in additional benefits, including improved soil and pollinator health, reduced nutrient loss, and improved resiliency to extreme weather within targeted areas of the Great Lakes.

"We were considering trying cover crops but having the funding gave the nudge needed to pull the trigger. There are risks with trying something new and changing the way you do things, and it's nice to have some help when you're trying new things.

- Jeremy O'Shea, farmer

Mapping Ontario's Agricultural Soil

GF2 provided initial funding to undertake soil mapping activities in Ontario. This initiative has helped ensure producers have access to up-to-date information on agricultural soils that support modern day needs.

GF2 funding for this project involved updating and renewing legacy soil maps, collecting new soil characteristics data, and revising information on soil capability classes. Field efforts to update soil maps in the Ottawa and Peterborough areas saw the completion of more than 1,600 site investigations in 2016. Over 30 legacy soil maps in the Cochrane-Hearst corridor were updated and released, and 33 maps covering Timmins to Temiskaming Shores are also being updated.

Foundational, detailed landscape data has been generated through the collection of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR). In support of soil mapping efforts, LiDAR was flown in three targeted areas, covering approximately 25,000 square kilometres to date. All these efforts are improving the sector's ability to manage the different types and characteristics of agricultural soil in Ontario.

"The Peterborough Planning Department is very excited about this project. Given that soil mapping for the County is over 40 years old and now shows inconsistencies. We updated soil mapping will We are about to embark upon the update of our County Official Plan and the availability of updated soil mapping will allow for more accurate land use analyses, farmland protection measures."

-Bryan Weir, Director of Planning, County of Peterborough

"As grain producers from our province work toward increased productivity and environmentally sustainable production through variable rate application of seed and fertilizers, these updated maps will form a key layer for producing precision planting prescriptions on our farms."

- Steven Brackenridge, Director, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

Mapping Ontario's Agricultural Soil

Calculating to Combat Climate Change

GF2's Greenhouse Gas Ontario Covered Agriculture Calculator (GO-CALC) has helped producers manage climate change. GO-CALC has been used to calculate reductions in greenhouse gases for upgrade projects funded under GF2, such as using energy curtains or upgrading boiler or heating systems. This tool has helped producers make good decisions about technology adoption that reduce greenhouse gases.

Since GO-CALC was released, producers have run more than 160 calculations and estimated a total savings of over 15,153 tonnes of greenhouse gases.

Business and Leadership Development

GF2 has helped producers increase their productivity, sustainability, and profitability. Farmers completed GF2 projects that increased their knowledge and skills and adoption of businesses best practices. As a result, more producers are making informed business decisions related to financial and risk management, business growth, leadership, governance, and production efficiencies.

Hatching a Better Future on the Farm

Ferme Avicole Laviolette, a family-owned poultry farm in St. Isidore, has reported increased efficiencies, reduced costs, and increased profitability as a result of GF2 funding. The farm installed a new, innovative, and integrated production recordkeeping and financial management system. This upgrade transformed the farm's day-to-day activities. The farm's flock management no longer generates unmanageable amounts of paperwork, as it is now tracked electronically. Instead of using pens, calculators, and paper invoices, Laviolette can now efficiently manage operations on a tablet.

As a result of this project, Laviolette has better access to and understanding of his production costs and financial results. He can now make better, data-informed, and real-time financial business decisions. The new technological capabilities have improved his ability to manage cash flows, adapt to operational changes, and identify and respond to financial and production risks.

"The challenges that we addressed with Growing Forward 2 cost-share funding were related to the use of technology in our day-to-day operations. In order to become more efficient, we decided to simplify [the paper-based system] by incorporating technology into our day-to-day operations. Computerization benefits our business because we can now get the reports we need and it reduces risks."

- Marcel Laviolette, Owner, Ferme Avicole Laviolette

Hatching a Better Future on the Farm

The farm installed a new, innovative, and integrated production recordkeeping and financial management system.

Animal and Plant Health

Disease and pest outbreaks can reduce profitability and potentially close markets to trade. GF2 has helped producers prepare for, detect, and prevent outbreaks to reduce risks to animal and plant health and avoid economic losses. GF2 projects helped reduce these risks by increasing awareness and adoption of best management practices, technologies, and innovations.

Managing Pests One App at a Time

Grain Farmers of Ontario leveraged GF2 funding to produce educational resources and plant health apps for the agricultural sector. These materials, such as manuals and guides on field crop pests, pesticide applications, problem weeds, and crop diseases, were developed for Ontario farming conditions. More than 12,000 users have accessed these resources.

Grain Farmers of Ontario also developed various apps that support integrated pest management practices for farmers. For example, the Pest Manager app provides producers with all the information they need for weed, insect, and disease management in Ontario field crops. Farmers use the app to identify, map, and find integrated management options for common weeds, insects, and diseases in crops. Pest Manager was named best mobile app at the 2015 Canadian Agri-Marketing Association Best of CAMA awards and has thousands of subscribers on Apple, Android, and Blackberry devices.

"The pest manager app allows Ontario Farmers to identify pests in the moment. Farmers say it's a must-have app for their business".

- Mike Cowborough, OMAFRA staff

Managing Pests One App at a Time

Adapting and Responding to Risks

The arrival of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) virus in 2014 was a serious concern for Ontario's pork industry. With $8.4 million in GF2 funding, businesses completed more than 960 projects to help control and reduce the spread of the PED virus. These focused on best management practices such as cleaning/disinfection, anterooms (transition areas), and mortality management.

As a result of these GF2 projects and other industry efforts, the number of PED cases in Ontario dropped and the industry has continued to move forward in terms of biosecurity. Producers significantly reduced the risks of disease transmission onto, off of, and within their operations. The sustainability of the industry was strengthened with 91 per cent of respondents moving closer to national biosecurity standards.

"We always had clean barns, but didn't do a full biosecurity plan until the scare. Our herd health is better now than ever before."

- John Van Engelen, Hog Farmer

1 Funds committed and projects approved as of September 2016; includes $205,222 for 13 processor projects. Recipients were eligible to complete more than one BMP per project.

2 Risk reduction figures represent respondents that reported decreased risk levels (medium/high to low risk and high to medium risk) as a percentage of the number of respondents for each respective question. The number of respondents for each respective question is as follows: 689 for onto operation, 692 for within operation, and 666 for off operation.

3 Biosecurity standards figure represents respondents that reported they had moved closer to industry standards for biosecurity, as a percentage of the number of respondents (708).

4 Graph represents number of lab-confirmed reports of the initial case(s) on each of the case farms in Ontario.

Note: While the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs ('Ontario') endeavors to isolate and remove invalid data elements from the data, Ontario makes no representations or warranties about the completeness, accuracy or reliability of the data or its suitability for any given purpose. Reliance on the data is strictly at the user's own risk. Ontario will not accept liability for any loss or damage arising out of the use of this data. The information expressed on this webpage is solely that of the respective contributors and does not necessarily represent the views of the Government of Canada.