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New Farm Resources
This resource list includes organizations, publications and websites to help plan, start and manage a new farm business. Only a few workshops and courses are included, so make sure to “Connect with your Community” (see below) to find out what’s happening locally!
Business Structure *
Information on farm business structures. Other relevant resources can also be found under the “Comprehensive Business Planning Resources” section above.
Business Structure Resources – OMAF Agricultural Business Management This site provides links to all of OMAFRA’s information on Business Arrangements (Partnerships, Cooperatives, Joint Ventures) and Business Agreements (lease, crop share), including blank templates for different kinds of lease agreements.
Canada Business Network A page from the Government of Canada on the pros and cons of various business structures.
Farm Management Canada Webinars A number of webinars on Business Structures and Agreements are archived and available online.
The Ontario Co-operative Association provides a variety of resources and supports for new and established co-operatives.
The Starting a Food or Farm Co-op booklet from the Local Organic Food Co-Ops network,offers information to help you start your co-op, including helpful how-to’s, lists of regional resources, and specific information according to ownership structure and the co-op’s main activity.
Comprehensive Business Planning Resources *
In this section organizations, publications and websites that provide comprehensive business planning information or support are listed.
Organizations Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF) You will find an incredible amount of useful information on OMAFRA’s website, some of which is listed under the topics on this page. To explore the website on your own, we recommend entering through the following pages:
Agricultural Business Management AGPAL a web-based discovery tool to help producers and others in the agriculture and agri-business sector find the federal, provincial and territorial programs and services that specifically apply to them.
Beyond Production Agriculture Business Information Bundle Business Information Bundle for New Farmers Urban Agriculture Business Information Bundle Also noteworthy is their Agricultural Information Contact Centre where agents are available to answer agriculture related questions. Call 1-877-424-1300 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. OMAFRA also has a number of topic-specific online newsletters that you can subscribe to at http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/subscribe/index.html
Community Futures Development Corporations work across the province to offer a wide variety of programs and services supporting community economic development and small business growth.
Everdale Organic Farm and Environmental Learning Centre is an organic farm and learning center offering farming internships as well as their Farmers Growing Farmers (FGF) programs that include practical on-farm learning opportunities as well as business planning workshops.
Farm Management Canada is a national organization that develops farm management resources. Their website has a wide range of publications, a farm budget database, an online conference webinar series, and a section specifically for new farmers.
FarmStart is an organization dedicated to supporting new farmers in Ontario, through their Start-Up Farms, a variety of courses and workshops, and their Seed Capital program. They offer business planning training opportunities including the Exploring Your New Farm Dream and Digging into Farming courses.
Service Ontario’s ONe Source for Business Small Business Enterprise Centres are located across the province and provide entrepreneurs with all the tools they need to start and grow their businesses, including free consultations with business consultants, business planning workshops and seminars, funding and mentoring opportunities.
Publications and Websites
Building a Sustainable Business: A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses A business planning guidebook that includes explanatory text, templates and sample worksheets completed by farmers.
(A free PDF) Business Plan: Beekeeper Example (Farm Management Canada) The purpose of this publication is to provide farmers with business planning information and a format for developing a business plan, using a beekeeper example.
Crop Planning for Organic Vegetable Growers written by Canadian Organic Growers (COG), this book provides a field-tested eleven step planning approach that includes setting realistic financial goals, figuring out how to meet them through your marketing outlets, developing and implementing a crop plan, and record keeping and analysis. The book is interspersed with real world examples of vegetable operations across the country and also contains a wealth of information in the form of vegetable reference charts. These can be modified for use in your own crop planning.
Farm Business Planning: Understanding, Preparing & Using (Farm Management Canada) All the elements of a business plan are described in this guide including the business profile, the operational plan, the marketing plan, the human resources plan and the financial plan. Includes a CD-ROM.
Farm Organizer provides a wide range of worksheets to help capture and organize all of the information required for running a farm business. Worksheets can also be used to create an up-to-date business plan.
Moss Brook Growers: Sample business plan, well organized example.
Northeast Beginning Farmer Project is a project of Cornell University’s Small Farm Program and has great worksheets, online courses and videos for new farmers on their website.
Preparing a Business Plan, Guide for Agricultural Producers: Direct Marketing Example Developed by the BC Ministry of Agriculture, this is a sample business plan for direct-marketed vegetables with blank worksheets. Many other sample business plans are also on the website.
Starting a Farm in Ontario – OMAF Publication 61 This book provides a good overview for new farmers in Ontario, introducing considerations for resource management, farm business planning, and crop and livestock production. To obtain a copy of this or any other ministry publication Phone 1-800-668-9938 or Online www.serviceontario.ca/publicationsThe Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook: A Complete Guide to Managing Finances, Crops and Staff – and Making a Profit. A great book with all sorts of practical business advice, and includes some sample crop budgets and electronic templates to create enterprise budgets.
Organic Farm Business Plan (Fast Business Plans) A sample that you can download
Connect with your Community *
Some starting points for finding out what’s happening in your farm community!
Ecological Farmers of Ontario offer numerous ways to connect with the ecological farming community through it’s bi-monthly newsletter, advisory services, training, tours, and active regional committees.
FarmON Alliance This alliance of organizations working to support new farmers is a good way to learn about organizations that are offering new farmer training opportunities in your area.
Ontario Farmer is the most widely read farming magazines that is distributed across the province, and is a good way to keep in touch with what is happening in the farming world. Producer Associations There is likely a producer association for whatever enterprise you’re considering! They can help you find out more about their industry and may even provide you with connections to relevant training opportunities, events and lists of farmers and suppliers. Many are listed here: http://www.adaptcouncil.org/memberorg.php
General Farm Organizations All farms in Ontario are registered with one of the province’s four farm organizations: the National Farmer’s Union (NFO-O), the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario (CFFO), and the l’Union des cutivateurs franco-ontariens (UCFO)
Enterprise Selection *
Information to help evaluate and choose products and services for your farm. Other relevant resources can also be found under the “Comprehensive Business Planning Resources” and “Production Planning” sections.
Information can also be found on the specialty crops blog, in the Factsheet 09-043 Growing Non-traditional Crops in Ontario, and in the 2009 research paper New Crops, Old Challenges: Tips and tricks for managing new crops!
Alternative Crops & Enterprises for Small Farm Diversification (USDA) lists all sorts of alternative crop and livestock options as well as additional resources.
Evaluating a Rural Enterprise (ATTRA) Self Assessment and enterprise selection for established farmers.
Evaluating the Feasibility of Business Opportunities – OMAF Fact-sheet 09-007 Farming Alternatives: A Guide to Evaluating the Feasibility of New Farm-Based Enterprises User-friendly overview of enterprise selection and business planning. Written for established farms that are considering adding a new enterprise, but of use to beginning farmers as well.
Grower to Grower: Creating a livelihood on a Fresh Market Vegetable Farm A 2005 Report from the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS) at the University of Wisconsin that looks at profitability of small farms ranging from 1/2 acre to more than 70 acres.
Guide for Beginning Farmers in Nova Scotia This guide provides an overview of the steps needed to take to start a farm in Nova Scotia. It also lists the minimum requirements for each of the major farm commodities so that readers can assess their own potential to produce those commodities.
Keys to Success in Value-Added Agriculture (ATTRA) Summary of considerations in value-added enterprise selection based on interviews with successful producers.
List of Alternative Crops and Enterprises for Small Farm Diversification the Alternative Farming Systems Information Centre provides this list of hundreds of non-traditional products and services. You can also find research and information on their website on alternative crops and livestock.
Pathways to Farming is a course offered by Everdale Organic Farm and Environmental Learning Centre to help new farmer participants narrow their farm vision and evaluate what resources they have available to them.
In this section organizations, publications and websites that provide comprehensive business planning information or support are listed. We are connecting new farmers with reviews of farming equipment, information and resources field tested by more established, experienced, and successful ecological farmers. We are putting together useful knowledge from a variety of informed sources to save time, money, and provide a supportive community where farmers can find recommendations, share ideas, wisdom and insight. We are hoping to answer questions like there are many options out there, but what specific books do new farmers with limited time need to read to gain the most reliable knowledge or what piece of equipment will one get the most ‘bang for their limited buck’? Finally, where do new farmers purchase all this.
Farmer Stories *
Reading about other farmers can be inspiring and help give you new ideas!
FarmStart Farmer Profiles Find a number of case studies of both new and established farmers.
Voices of Experience Videos: Good Advice for New Farmers From Cornell Cooperative Extension, this video series of interviews with 12 New York state farmers covers a variety of topics of interest to new farmers. The farmers interviewed represent a wide range of enterprises.
1000 Stories of Regenerative Agriculture The New Farm has set a goal of gathering together 1000 or more stories about organic, regenerative agriculture that illustrate holistic, values-based ways to farm satisfyingly and successfully. Stories are sorted by region.
Financial Management *
Information to help you access financing and manage farm finances. Other relevant resources can also be found under the “Comprehensive Business Planning Resources” section above.
Financial Management Resources – OMAF Agricultural Business Management A good starting point for information on financial management in Ontario.
Sources of Financing
Canada Small Business Financing Program A financial loan guarantee program that gives small businesses access to credit.
Canadian Agricultural Loans Act (CALA) A financial loan guarantee program that gives farmers access to credit.
Canadian Youth Business Foundation CYBF supports young entrepreneurs (18-34) throughout the life-cycle of their businesses by providing pre and post-launch coaching, financing, mentoring and business resources.
Community Futures Development Corporations work across the province to offer a wide variety of programs and services supporting community economic development and small business growth, including financing.
Demystify your Banker A guide developed by the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDBC) for entrepreneurs seeking a loan from their bank: what your loan proposal should contain, what your banker looks for, common bank terms, and tips to increase your chances of success.
Farm Credit Canada is Canada’s largest provider of loans and other financial services to farms and agribusiness, though they are accustomed to dealing with conventional farm businesses. They also have a new Young Farmer Loan.
Federal Financing Measures Targeting Young & Beginning Farmers Financing Small-Scale and Part-Time Farms Overview from Penn State Agriculture Alternatives.
Growing Forward Programs The Growing Forward Framework Agreement is the most recent federal-provincial cost-share agreement. The agreement makes funding available to farmers through a number of programs including the Environmental Farm Plan and (EFP) and Growing your Farm Profits (GYFP). The EFP program involves preparing an assessment of your farm through a workshop process, highlighting your farm’s environmental strengths, identifying areas of environmental concern, and setting action plans with time tables to improve environmental conditions. If eligible, the program can provide financial support for implementing certain projects such as upgrading a well, fencing off a stream and even buying certain kinds of equipment. The GYFP involves a similar process that assesses your farm business management practices and, if eligible, can provide cost-shared funding for training, professional advisors, and certain business development costs. The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) delivers both programs.
Northern Ontario Young Entrepreneur – Supporting Business Skills Development and Start-Up for Northern Youth.
Ontario Self-Employment Benefit is a program that provides unemployed people who are or have recently been eligible for Employment Insurance with income and entrepreneurial support while they develop and start their business. This program is often offered through the Small Business Enterprise Centres.
Programs and Services for Ontario Farmers – OMAF Factsheet 11–041 is a summary of programs and services currently available to Ontario farmers that are funded by the Ontario and/or Canadian governments.
Provincial Measures Targeting Young and Beginning Farmers Sources of Business Start-Up Money
An overview of different sources of business start-up, from family and friends to government programs!
Types of Loans An introduction to three different types of loans: Small Business loans, Low/No Interest Loans and Government Guaranteed Loans.
Your Guide to Small Business Developed by the Ministry of Small Business and Consumer Services, this guide is an information resource to help identify the things one needs to do before, during and after launching a business. The guide includes comprehensive lists of resources, government programs and financing options.
Canadian Association of Farm Advisors (CAFA) is a non-profit, self-regulating organization for Canadian farm advisors. Its mission is to continually improve the quality of advice being given to farm producers and their families. A farm advisor listing is available online. CAFA members include accountants, lawyers, financial planners, bankers, insurance brokers, family therapists and other professionals.
The CSA Benchmark Project: How Well Is My Operation REALLY Doing? Farm Credit East has aggregated and analyzed the data from a sample of their CSA borrowers, and has established some preliminary financial benchmarks and performance standards. The data will help CSA farmers identify where they can improve business practices to increase profitability.
Farm Business Insurance – OMAF Factsheet 00-041 Farm Financial Records: A Guide to Managing for Success (Farm Management Canada) An introductory understanding of farm financial records, no matter what type of crop or livestock enterprise you operate.
Farm Tax and Business Seminar Offered by OMAFRA, this one day workshop is an opportunity to update your knowledge of tax, business and legal matters related to agriculture and farm business activities.
Guide to Cost of Production Budgeting – OMAF Fact-sheet 08-055 Managing Farm Business Risk This free PDF resource is a practical tool for farm managers to plan for and respond to the risks that they find in managing their business.
Ontario Farm Accounting Workbook (OMAF) OMAF Farm Business Advisor List The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF) maintains a list of qualified farm business advisors to assist Ontario producers to undertake the Farm Financial Assessment as part of Growing Forward Business Development for Farm Businesses.
Goal Setting *
Guidance for establishing farm goals and strategies for decision-making. Other relevant resources can also be found under the “Comprehensive Business Planning Resources” section above.
Exploring Your New Farm Dream is a course to help aspiring farmers learn what it would take to start and manage their own “farm dream” and decide whether this the right path for them. Courses are offered in across the province. Holistic Management: A New Framework for Decision Making Savory, Allan. 2nd edition, Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1999. Goal setting for quality of life, ecological sustainability and profitability.
Holistic Management courses in Ontario A Whole-Farm Decision-Making Framework that has been steadily growing in popularity in the prairies as a way of helping farm families harmonize Environmental, Social and Financial goals and make progress towards them. Tony and Fran McQuail from Meeting Place Organic Farm are now offering Holistic Management courses in Ontario.
Human Resources *
Resources to help you gather information about human resources for farm businesses and develop a human resources plan. Other relevant resources can also be found under the “Comprehensive Business Planning Resources” section above.
Human Resources – OMAF Agricultural Business Management A good starting point for information on human resources in Ontario.
Canada Pension Plan – OMAF Factsheet 10-075 Creating and Implementing a Human Resource Plan – OMAF Factsheet 07-005 This overview provides a good starting point for developing an HR plan and learning about the different regulations.
Farm Labour and Safety Issues Presented by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), this site has a “Regulatory Compliance Checklist for Employing Farm Workers”
HR Toolkit developed by the Ontario Pork Council, this is an example of a very useful HR manual created by a producer association.
Managing People on Your Farm (Farm Management Canada) A guide for owners, managers and supervisors in agricultural operations.
Nurturing New Farmers: A Practical Guide to hosting interns and mentoring the next generation of farmers. This handbook is for farmers interested in hosting interns on their farms and covers basics including advice about recruitment and labour laws, a discussion of living arrangements and suggestions for enhancing the an internship program. Ontario Ministry of Labour Provides information on:
- Employment Standards (including the Employment Standards Act; Your Guide to the Employment Standards Act and a great Q&A section that includes information on Volunteer Rights and Responsibilities)
- Health and Safety (including the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act)
Information about land tenure, evaluating land resources and more. Other relevant resources can also be found under the “Comprehensive Business Planning Resources” section above.
Accessing Land for Farming in Ontario is a practical guidebook designed to facilitate preliminary discussion between a farm seeker and a farmland owner. The guidebook helps both parties think through the many choices they have and questions they should address, in order to arrive at the best possible arrangement (available as a free PDF).
FarmLINK.net At the heart of this website is a Matchmaker tool, which brings together new farmers who are looking for land and/or mentorship and farm owners who have land available and/or expertise to share. FarmLINK also has an on-line resource collection for land owners: http://www.farmlink.net/en/farm-owners/resources.html Farm Property Class Tax Program This program allows eligible properties to be taxed at the Farm Property Class tax rate of 25% of the municipal residential tax rate. To be eligible for the program participants must be part of a farm business with $7,000, or more, gross farm income and have a valid Farm Business Registration (FBR) number. There is a Start-Up Exemption for those just starting and without an FBR number. Contact Agricorp to find out more about getting an FBR number.
Is Farm Leasing Right for You? A module online tutorial from Land for Good that provides basic information, lease example and linked resources.
Ontario Farmland Trust A non-government, non-profit, charitable organization that has been established to work with farmers, rural communities and other interested parties to promote the protection of farmland in the province of Ontario.
Soil surveys of Ontario (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada) provides soil surveys for the different counties in Ontario to download. Printed maps can also be ordered (approx: $40 black and white, $50 colour, price is reduced to $10 and $20 for additional purchases).
Information to conduct market research and about the many ways you can sell farm products with an emphasis on marketing directly to customers. Other relevant resources can also be found under the “Comprehensive Business Planning Resources” section above.
Marketing Resources – OMAF Agricultural Business Management A good starting point for information on marketing in Ontario.
Beyond Production Agriculture Business Information Bundle (OMAF) Lots of information on developing an added-value agricultural business, as well as direct marketing, including information on regulations.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) This website contains information about economic forecasts and statistics, policies and acts, as well as information for producers on organic production, with industry and census information. Buy Local! Buy Fresh! Maps These maps locate farms that are selling locally, and are often organized by regional health authorities in many Ontario counties.
Developing a Marketing Plan – OMAF Factsheet 10-029 Direct Marketing (ATTRA) An overview of direct marketing with a section on market research and developing a marketing plan.
Farmers’ Market Ontario (FMO) offers support for starting up new farmers’ markets, as well as providing a list of existing Ontario farmers’ markets on their website.
Guelph Food Technology Centre offer a variety of services for businesses in the food and beverage industry including nutritional labelling. Local Food Organizations are involved in many ventures including training, farm tours, culinary maps, feast events, and farm markets.
Find your local organization to learn out about local marketing opportunities.
New Farmers and Alternative Markets Within the Supply-Managed System An introduction to the realities facing new farmers wanting to produce supply managed commodities.
OMAF Economic Development Branch Office Contacts Contact your local OMAF Regional Economic Development Officer to find out about resources and economic data for your region.
Ontario CSA Farm Directory If you’re interested in running a CSA, this is a great website to connect with other CSA farms to see how they market and run their operation.
Organic Council of Ontario (OCO) is a non-profit association representing the organic sector in Ontario. On their website you’ll find lots of information pertaining to the organic sector – statistics, information on certification, and a Directory where you can search for a wide range of products and services.
Organic: From Niche to Mainstream Article from Statistics Canada about organic farming in Canada, and consumer trends.
Slow Food Canada An international organization dedicated to good food, heritage varieties and local farmers. Through their different Ontario Convivias they host events that bring together farmers, eaters, chefs and others! This is a great organization to learn about food trends, specialty breeds and varieties.
Small Farm Regulations A comprehensive overview of the different federal, provincial and municipal regulations relevant to small and mid-scale farming in Ontario, including supply management.
Statistics Canada You can search for census information by region through the site’s Community Profiles. These can help you find all sorts of valuable market research information, from population numbers to education and income levels.
Considerations for Different Marketing Options lists things to consider about different marketing options (CSA, farmers markets, restaurants, etc.)
Community Shared Agriculture Primer: The ins and outs of running a CSA farm in Ontario Published for the “CSA mini school” at the Great Lakes Community Shared Agriculture Conference that was held in 2008.
Cultivating Agritourism: Tools & Techniques for Building Success (Farm Management Canada) A publication designed to help farmers evaluate, plan and manage successful agrotourism business opportunities.
Developing an Agri-Tourism Operation in Ontario – OMAF Factsheet 10-027 Direct Farm Marketing in Ontario – A Primer – OMAF Factsheet 11-011 Direct Marketing is a course offered by the Ecological Farmers of Ontario (EFO) that reviews all aspects of selling at farmers markets, from promotion, packaging and displays to pricing. Selling through CSAs, roadside stands, pick-your-own operations and co-ops, stores and restaurants is also reviewed.
Exploring Value-Added (OMAF) Find links to videos, webinars and information about upcoming workshops.
Marketing on the Edge: A Marketing Guide for Progressive Farmers (Farm Management Canada) A publication that introduces direct marketing and on-farm processing.
Managing Risk on Farms Open to the Public – OMAF Factsheet 06-087 is written for all farm businesses that invite customers onto the farm for activities such as direct farm marketing, pick-your-own (PYO), group functions, food service, and sales of value-added or retail products.
MyPick is a verification program through Farmers’ Market Ontario (FMO) that provides a logo to farms that are “local” and that are selling products that were produced on their farm.
Organic Standards and Regulations Information from the Organic Council of Ontario.
Other Start-Up Farms *
Intervale Farms Program, Burlington, Vermont, USA
Greens Creek, managed by Just Food, Ottawa.
Production Skills Training *
Below are listed opportunities for developing your production skills, including internships, mentoring and trainings. Only a few provincially delivered workshops and courses are included, so make sure to “Connect with your Community” (see section above) to find out what’s happening locally! AgriTalent.ca is a great place to start! This database of training and learning programs in agriculture offered across Canada was developed for producers, farm managers and other workers in the agriculture sector, as well as those without any experience seeking learning opportunities.
Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT) Ontario is a network of farms across Ontario that host on-farm internships for individuals to gain hands-on experience in farming. Interns also participate in field trips to different farms during the season.
Ecological Farmers of Ontario (EFAO) The EFO offers a series of practical farmer led courses and workshops on ecological farming topics including: Introduction to Ecological Agriculture, Transition to Organic Farming, Field Crop Rotation, Market Garden Crop Rotation, Interpreting Soil Tests for Organic Farmers, Composting and Pastured Poultry. They also coordinate farm tours, kitchen table meetings, a free phone advisory service, publish a bimonthly newsletter titled Ecological Farming, and provide an on-farm advisory service. The EFAO is a great resource for any new farmer pursuing ecological agriculture.
FarmStart offers production oriented workshops (e.g. Pastured Pigs, Pastured Poultry, Dirt on Soil) as well as Skill Building Farm Tours across southern Ontario.
GoodWork Canada is a good resource for finding out about farm internships and other on-farm learning opportunities.
Guelph Organic Conference This annual four-day conference features a full schedule of seminars on organic production, marketing, business management and training. And great place to network! Producer Associations There is likely a producer association for whatever enterprise you’re considering! They can help you find out more about their industry and may offer training opportunities. Many are listed here: Adapt Council Step Up Program offered by Farm Management Canada, this mentoring program provides on-farm paid work placements that match experienced farm managers with young people just starting their farming careers across Canada.
Sustainable Agriculture Co-op Program offered at Fleming College, this three-semester Sustainable Agriculture program is designed for new and beginner farmers seeking an intensive, applied learning experience in sustainable, ecological or natural farming methods.
Sustainable Farming Certificate offered by Everdale Organic Farm and Environmental Learning Centre, this is an on-farm introductory course and mentored training in the practice and theory of sustainable local agriculture. Curriculum includes seed to market farm experience, seminars, field trips, and project work.
World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WOOF Canada) is a program for people to stay and work on organic farms across Canada. This is a great way to get some hands-on experience on different farms.
Production Planning *
Resources to help you gather production related information. Other relevant resources can also be found under the “Comprehensive Business Planning Resources” section above. Production Resources – OMAF A good starting point for production information in Ontario are OMAF’s Crops and Livestock sections of their website where you’ll find relevant production information, budgets, resources and newsletters you can subscribe to.
Accredited Soil Testing Laboratories in Ontario The following labs are accredited to perform soil tests on Ontario soils.
ATTRA (The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service) has an incredible number of production guides for different crop and livestock enterprises as well as lots of other useful information (most publications are free).
Best Management Practices Series (OMAF) Practical books on a variety of topics (e.g. irrigation, soil management, manure management) to help farmers implement affordable approaches to conserving a farm’s soil and water resources without sacrificing productivity.
British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Their Planning for Profit Series features enterprise budgets on a variety of crops and livestock. Also other valuable business related information such as templates for business plans and lease agreements.
Building Added Value Through Farm Diversification (Farm Management Canada) provides examples of successful farm business ventures across Canada and draws on the experience of entrepreneurs who have diversified their farm operations.
Canadian Organic Growers (COG) is a national organization with chapters across Canada. COG has published several great production handbooks (ex: Organic Livestock Handbook, Crop Rotation on Organic Farms, etc.), distributes a quarterly magazine The Canadian Organic Grower, and has a public lending library you can access over mail! Environmental Farm Plan
Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association delivers free Environmental Farm Plan Workshops across the province. At these workshops, you will learn about risks to your wells, manure management, your soil types and a host of other topics. They are open to any farm or farm business owner. If you have a Farm Business Registration Number, are a beginning farmer or have a farming tenant, you may also be eligible for funding to do projects such as upgrading a well, fencing off a stream and even buying certain kinds of equipment.
Farm Budget Database (Farm Management Canada) This database includes over 1,500 crop and livestock budgets from across Canada.
Food Safety, Quality and Inspection (OMAF) includes information on regulations, traceability and available funding.
Johnny’s Selected Seeds Interactive Tools – Access all sorts of crop calculators (for starting seed, planting and harvesting), plant guides and a Grower’s Library full of useful market gardening information.
Market Gardening: A Start-Up Guide (ATTRA) Business planning and start-up issues for aspiring market gardeners.
OMAF Agriculture Development Branch Directory – To contact OMAFRA field specialists in crops, livestock, soil, specialty crops, etc.
Ontario Enterprise Budgets (OMAF) you’ll find a large number of crop and livestock specific budgets
Ontario FarmSafe Workshops Half-day workshops on how to build your own farm safety plan, offered through Industrial Accident Prevention Association (IAPA).
Ontario Production Fact-sheets and Information (OMAF) a number of fact-sheets are available on different crops and livestock, including a whole section on organic agriculture. Start by picking a topic from this list (ex, Crops or Livestock)
Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada (OACC) conducts organic farming research and provides knowledge transfer and extension services for organic farmers. They publish technical research bulletins and offer web based courses in organic agriculture.
OrganicPriceTracker.ca developed by the Canadian Organic Growers (COG) this website provides certified organic produce prices from all across Ontario. Search by crop and by region to find farmers’ markets and wholesale/bulk prices.
Penn State Agriculture Alternatives Series provides an incredible number of fact-sheets for different crop and livestock enterprises, with information on revenues and yields. Producer Associations There is likely a producer association for whatever enterprise you’re considering! They can help you find out more about their industry (e.g. regulations, benchmarking, market opportunities). Many are listed here: http://www.adaptcouncil.org/memberorg.php Record Keeping for Organic Growers Developed by the Canadian Organic Growers (COG), this handbook takes you step by step through the process of setting up a field-to-table audit trail.
Small Farm Regulations a comprehensive overview of the different federal, provincial and municipal regulations relevant to small and mid-scale farming in Ontario, including supply management.
Statistical Summary of Ontario Agriculture (OMAF) provides a snap shot of agriculture in Ontario, including stats on yield and price averages for different products. Stewardship Councils Visit
Ontario Stewardship to find your local Stewardship Council. You can contact them directly for information on local programs. On the website you will also find valuable information and technical assistance on a wide variety of topics including woodlot management, tree planting, pond construction, and invasive species. Also see the Landowner Resource Centre.