Beyond Production Agriculture Business Information Bundle
Table of Contents
Rules and regulations will need to be researched when exploring a value-added venture involving people, food and processing. Visit the following sites to learn more about what will be required for your new business venture.
Moving beyond primary production agriculture to secondary activities or uses on the farm may include a different tax assessment by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC). Examples include retail, commercial or industrial uses. You may also wish to speak with your accountant about how value-added activities fit with Canada Revenue Agency's definitions of farming activities and income.
Municipal planning department administers official plans and zoning by-laws local zoning regulations and bylaws. Be sure to contact and work with your local planning department to have a clear understanding of what uses are permitted in your area. A list of municipalities in Ontario may be found at:
OMAFRA has developmed Guidelines on Permitted Uses in Ontario Prime Agricultural Areas see our website for more details:
Farms engaged in value-added activities and agri-tourism are exposed to a variety of risks that may be of lesser concern for farms engaged solely in production agriculture. OMAFRA's Managing Risk on Farms Open to the Public factsheet provides an overview of these risks and strategies to mitigate them.
Directional and other types of signs advertising your business are important. Be sure to explore sign bylaws within your local municipality. In addition, permits and regulations regarding signs and other commercial-related activities along provincial highways also need to be explored. The Tourism-Oriented Directional Signing (TODS) Program enables and allows qualifying tourism operations to place their business signs along provincial roadways.
If the public visits, purchases a product or takes part in an activity on your property, you should be aware of local public health requirements. These may include:
Good food safety practices require attention to detail at every level of a farm or food processing operation. OMAFRA's Advantage Good Agricultural Practices program takes a whole farm approach to food safety for both crop and livestock producers. The following OMAFRA resources provide information about food safety, manufacturing, inspection, and traceability for farmers and food processors:
Ontario Regulation (O. Reg.) 119/11 Produce, Honey and Maple Products under the Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001 regulates the grading (only applicable to potatoes), packaging, labelling, transporting, advertising and sale of produce in Ontario. O. Reg. 119/11 defines produce as fruit and vegetables, sprouts, culinary herbs, nuts and edible fungi.
Value-added minimally processed (cut, sliced, diced) produce or processed product such as apple cider, baking, jams, etc. fall under Regulation 562, Premises of the Health Protection and Promotion Act which is administered by local public health units. More information can be obtained by contacting the local health unit or the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Local health units also deliver training and certification in proper food handling.
All food sold in Canada falls under the federal Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and the Food and Drugs Act and their respective regulations. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) administers federal legislation. More information on federal legislation can be found on the CFIA website.
Once you step into the area of food service or food processing, such as on-farm snack areas, selling baked goods and / or preserves, compliance to ensure food safety and quality is vital.
If you plan to value-add through the sale of meat produced on your farm, a list of approved provincial abattoirs can be found at:
You will want to protect the products or services you develop to ensure its success in the marketplace and keep competitors at bay. This can be achieved by exploring intellectual property options such as registering your product, and exploring what option is most suitable for your product or service including trademark, patent, and/or copyright. Visit the following sites for information on safeguarding your product or service.
Depending on the scale of your business it may be necessary to employ staff. The links below provide useful guidelines to ensure that you comply with provincial and national employment regulations and standards. OMAFRA's Human Resources page includes information on paying wages to family members, creating a human resources management plan and understanding the Occupational Health and Safety Act for farming.
Marketing regulations need to be adhered to when marketing agricultural and food products in Ontario both domestically and for export purposes.
The following OMAFRA resources provide information for selling produce through various marketing channels:
For more information:
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