Agricultural System for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH)


Overview of the Agricultural System

  • The Agricultural System approach, unique in North America, addresses both the protection of farmland and the viability of the agri-food sector. Protecting farmland is essential; but so too is access to a robust supply chain including agri-food infrastructure, services and assets.
  • An Agricultural System is comprised of two components:
    • The agricultural land base - consisting of prime agricultural areas, including specialty crop areas, and rural lands that together create a continuous productive land base for agriculture. The Province has identified the agricultural land base for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) which can be refined when municipalities update their official plans.
    • The agri-food network - which includes elements important to the viability of the agri-food sector such as regional infrastructure and transportation networks, on-farm buildings and structures, agricultural services, farm markets, cold storage facilities, distributers, primary food and beverage processors, grain dryers, and strong, agriculture-supportive communities.
    • Mapping of both components is available in the Agricultural System portal.
  • Communities outside the GGH may consider taking an Agricultural System approach in their area as a best practice.

Resources to help implement the Agricultural System

  1. Implementation Procedures for the Agricultural System in Ontario's Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2020 (New)
  2. Agricultural System portal
  3. Agricultural land base map
  4. Download GIS data of the agricultural land base (Google Chrome)
  5. Provincial Plans: A Place to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2019; Greenbelt Plan, 2017, Niagara Escarpment Plan, 2017 and Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, 2017
  6. Agriculture Economic Development: A Resource Guide for Communities

Agricultural land base map

Agricultural land base map

Agricultural land base mapping helps municipalities make informed land use planning and economic development decisions that implement provincial land use plan policies and strengthen the agri-food sector.

OMAFRA is working with municipalities in the GGH to complete Agricultural System mapping refinements.

Municipalities are required to bring official plans into conformity with the A Place to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and the Greenbelt Plan by July 1, 2022. OMAFRA is inviting municipalities to come forward with refinements to their Agricultural System mapping as soon as they can.

Implementation Procedures

OMAFRA's methodology for mapping the agricultural land base is described in the implementation procedures document. Additional technical detail is available in the Agricultural System Mapping Method report, available on request from the Agricultural Information Contact Centre.

Economic development resources

As an additional resource to implement the Agricultural System, OMAFRA's Agriculture Economic Development: A Resource Guide for Communities publication helps economic development and land use planning practitioners, municipal councils and community leaders foster the economic prosperity and viability of the agri-food sector.

Agricultural System portal

  • More than 60 maps on agricultural production, land use, infrastructure, agri-food assets and services.
  • Identifies clusters of agri-food activity to promote economic growth of the sector such as transportation infrastructure and drainage. The portal also displays crop and livestock production areas as well as agri-food services such as meat processors and refrigerated storage.
  • Can be used in Agricultural Impact Assessments.
  • Is updated as new information becomes available.
  • Additional agricultural information is available in the Agricultural Information Atlas.

Quick Tips for Using the Agricultural System Portal

Tips to explore the portal

  • The Google Chrome internet browser is recommended for viewing the portal.
  • After you click on the link, the portal and layers may take several minutes to load so please be patient.
  • Once the portal has opened, start exploring the information shown in the user tips on the left side of the portal screen.
  • To print a map from the portal, take a screen shot or use the snip function that captures the preferred map area. Then paste the image into a document. The document can then be printed.
  • High resolution maps and file saving are not currently available through the portal.

How to obtain data from the portal

  • Participating municipalities may obtain detailed asset mapping data from ConnectON.
  • Some of the data used in the portal is open data and can be accessed from Ontario GeoHub (Google Chrome) or the Ontario Government Open Data page.
  • Other requests for data may be made to the owner of the data, such as Statistics Canada, OMAFRA or Agriculture and Agri-food Canada.
  • The origin of the data for each mapping layer is stated in parentheses in the legend on the left side of the portal screen. The main sources of data used in the portal are: the Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance (GHFFA), Statistics Canada (Census of Agriculture), OMAFRA, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca