There are programs and services offered by the Ontario Government to help farmers grow a healthy and profitable business.
Various challenges are identified with farming, and OMAFRA is partnering with the agricultural community to help build their businesses.
To stay competitive, compliant and profitable, farmers need to overcome various challenges including adapting to and managing risks involved with climate and environmental changes; as well as, the need to manage health risks for people, livestock, and crops. There is also the rapidly changing economy and technological developments that make it difficult to stay current, competitive, and meet the regulation demands of their business. Human resource challenges include finding skilled labour, keeping current with training, and managing payroll. Business planning, leadership, and marketing are other factors that are not unique to farmers, but an important part of establishing a healthy bottom line.
Overcoming these difficult tasks takes time, education, and money, which is why farmers need to make it a priority to seek out programs and services available that can offer assistance.
Speaking out about the Growing Forward 2 program, these Ontario business owners offer some valuable advice.
"When you are a small company, and trying to do everything, you just don't have the manpower to investigate funding options," says Brent. "But after successfully accessing three cost-sharing projects through Growing Forward 2, I would encourage other small business to find the time. It's a well-run program and worth the effort." - Brent Davies - VP and co-owner of Wellington Brewery
"If your competitors are assessing these funds, your business will be at a disadvantage if you are not participating.” - Andrew Hendricks Jr. - Hendriks & Sons Greenhouses in Niagara, Ontario
Programs and services for Ontario Farmers offers support in the area of:
- human resources, education, and skills training
- business development, leadership training, marketing support, and planning
- tax-related programs
- environmental and conservation programs
- health monitoring and inspection.
Services come in the form of workshops, audits, business advice, insurance, and funding.
Finding time as a small business owner to research and apply for funding is a challenge, and it often gets shifted to the bottom of the priority pile. To help prioritize, seek first the advice of your accountant and other business / financial advisors. They will be able to help evaluate your current situation, recommend a plan, and support you in the efforts to find available programs and your eligibility.