In 2017, the Growing Forward 2 (GF2) Funding Assistance Program for producers moves into its final year of the funding framework. GF2 is a five-year federal-provincial-territorial initiative designed to encourage innovation, competitiveness and market development in Canada’s agri-food and agri-products sector through cost-share funding opportunities.
The funding assistance producer stream of GF2 is administered by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA). OSCIA wants to encourage producers to continue to explore the over 40 different project categories available for cost-share funding under the program, as well as some new opportunities.
Since GF2 launched in 2013, over 4,100 projects have been approved across six different focus areas under the producer stream, with over $46 million dollars in approved funding. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has remained committed to continually improving the program in order to meet the changing needs of Ontario’s farmers.
As part of the continuous improvements, changes were made to the program back in 2015. These allowed the cost-share dollars to be more focused in helping producers address gaps and risks on their farms, while focusing on productivity and profitability.
In order to position Ontario producers to be responsive to the threats posed by diseases and pests, OMAFRA has expanded the program for 2017 with the addition of a new project category under the Animal and Plant Health focus area – preventing access from wildlife, pests and rodents. The new category will provide cost-share funding assistance to help eligible producers focus on modifications to production areas and facilities to prevent the introduction and spread of diseases and pests.
Under the new project category, some of the eligible activities producers can undertake include: installing screening or plastic curtains to keep pests out of production facilities, installing pest control devices, or purchasing equipment for freezing honey bee equipment.
In order to apply, producers must participate in an applicable Biosecurity Workshop and complete an assessment of their operation against the National Biosecurity Standards or a commodity-specific health or pest-risk management program. Producers should the Growing Forward 2 section of our website for full program details.
While the new project category is focused particularly on preventing access, the Animal and Plant Health focus area offers producers many opportunities to help protect their business from biosecurity risks.
GF2 is a merit-based program. Applicants must be specific about the results they plan to achieve and demonstrate the knowledge and planning that will lead to a successful project. GF2 is intended to drive positive change, therefore, only the most impactful projects will be funded. Applications are only accepted during intakes and all projects must be completed by December 15, 2017. There are two intakes in 2017:
- February 3 to 23, 2017
- May 12 to June 1, 2017
“The Government of Canada is working closely with the province of Ontario to ensure producers have access to the tools and resources they need to continue to innovate, mitigate risks and capitalize on opportunities. By delivering Growing Forward 2 to farmers, the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association plays a key role in helping producers effectively control and prevent risks and increase profitability.”
- Lawrence MacAulay, Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
“Through the producer stream of Growing Forward 2, our government is supporting Ontario farmers to make necessary improvements to their operations. I’m pleased that the program continues to evolve to meet the needs of our producers, in turn strengthening their businesses and boosting our economy. Creating good jobs for Ontarians is helping us get closer to meeting the goal of our Agri-Food Growth Challenge, to double our sector’s growth rate and create 120,000 new jobs by 2020.”
- Jeff Leal, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs