Federal and provincial funding boosts Algoma agriculture sectorFriday, October 12, 2012 by: Jordan Allard
Provincial and federal funding to help cultivate new jobs and increase production for the local farming industry was announced on Friday afternoon.
The Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC) and NORDIK Institute’s Rural Agriculture Innovation Network (RAIN) was established in 2011 and has been working with related businesses, municipalities and consumers to develop a three-year pilot project.
Goals of the project are to stimulate sector profits and increase farming jobs in the Algoma region.
Errol Caldwell, research director at the SSMIC, said 35,000 acres of land with agricultural potential is located in Algoma and only 25 percent is currently being used for high value crops.
If successful, RAIN will enhance social capital development between producers, consumers and retailers.
It could also help increase the availability of local land with agricultural ability to over 150,000 acres.
Government funding for the project totals over $600,000, including $262,750 from FedNor and the Northern Ontario Heritage Funding Corporation along with $81,000 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, to support RAIN and help fill key positions.
The funding will facilitate the hiring of a research project manager with agriculture background to head up the project, manager of the crop trail facility in Thessalon and market development specialist.
Hayes said the government must support the farming sector by creating modern regulatory environment promoting competition, business investment and economic growth in municipalities across the country.
"This region specific research will address a need and in doing so will help grow Northern Ontario's economic sector," Hayes said.
Orazietti added if every Ontario family dedicated $10 per week towards provincially grown food it would create $2.4 billion in sales and $1.2 billion indirect economic activity that would create 10,000 jobs for the province.
"Choosing locally grown food cuts down on transportation costs and lowers environmental impacts while fostering a stronger regional community," he said.
Caldwell said the farming community needs someone to help facilitate further development and make the case for infrastructure investment.
"There's a lot of more for production of cash crops in this area," said Caldwell, who added the Algoma region needs to be marketing as a prime farming destination.
He said Southern Ontario farming land values are around $10,000 per acre, while in the north land value is much cheaper at approximately $1,000 per acre.
High value crops like silage corn, seed oil, oats, barley, cereal and canola have been recently planted by local farmers and could help increase the area's farm based economy.
News releases issued today from FedNor and the office of MPP David Orazietti follow.
Harper government invests to support agriculture business growth in Algoma region
SAULT STE. MARIE - Bryan Hayes, the Member of Parliament for Sault Ste. Marie, on behalf of the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister for FedNor, today announced a Government of Canada investment to help create jobs and support agricultural business growth in Algoma region.
“Today’s announcement will help area agricultural businesses undertake cool climate-specific crop research to enhance their operations, develop diversification strategies and foster collaboration among industry, small and medium-sized enterprises, and agricultural support organizations,” said MP Hayes. “By addressing this identified need, our Government is helping to strengthen and expand Northern Ontario’s agricultural sector and create new jobs in agri-food production, processing and distribution.”
“The Harper Government is proud to support projects that improve business sustainability and competitiveness through innovative practices,” added Minister Clement. “This research will assist the farming community in Algoma District increase their productivity, while helping diversify the regional economy.”
The Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre will use $262,750 in FedNor funding to support regional applied crop and production testing, market feasibility and investment readiness projects through the Rural Agricultural Innovation Network.
The three-year initiative will also raise awareness of available technological innovations to help businesses increase their productivity.
“There are significant opportunities to develop new value-added export products from Northern Ontario and thanks to this FedNor investment, local producers will have the information they need to determine which crops would be the most fruitful,” said Tom Vair, executive director, Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre.
The funding announced today is provided through FedNor’s Northern Ontario Development Program, which supports projects that strengthen community economic development, enhance business growth, and facilitate innovation throughout the region.
To learn more about FedNor and its programs, visit: fednor.gc.ca.
Orazietti announces $343,750 to boost agricultural innovation in Algoma region
Province invests in collaborative project led by Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre
SAULT STE. MARIE - The province is supporting the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre and local partners with $343,750 for the development of the Algoma Rural Agricultural Innovation Network (RAIN), which is a new project that aims to develop agricultural opportunities and innovations in the Algoma District, David Orazietti, MPP announced today.
“Our government is supporting the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre and its partners in the establishment of a Rural Agricultural Innovation Network (RAIN), which will enhance our regional agricultural sector through improved communications and information-sharing and by identifying key areas for future growth,” said Orazietti. “The RAIN project will support innovation in our rural and agricultural sector, which will help to further diversify our local economy and support job growth.”
Provincial funding of $262,750 is being provided through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) and $81,000 is being provided through the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) to help create a three-year RAIN pilot project in the Algoma region.
The Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre is the project lead and has partnered with the Community Development Corporation of Sault Ste. Marie and Area, the East Algoma Community Futures Development Corporation, the NORDIK Institute at Algoma University, Algoma Soil and Crop Improvement Association, the Algoma Federation of Agriculture and Innovation Initiatives Ontario North.
“Supporting innovation and helping rural food and fibre producers, industry and consumers is important to the future of our region,” said Tom Vair, executive director, Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre. “We greatly appreciate the funding support from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation and the Ontario Trillium Foundation which will help the establishment of a three year pilot Rural Agri-Innovation Network (RAIN) and foster a collaborative approach to growing our agricultural sector.”