Northern Livestock Pilot Project Seeks Diversification

Cattle Dairy
Cows can't graze on pasture all year, and the limited season has an impact on products' prices. Credit: iStock/Naumoid
Cattle Dairy
Cows can’t graze on pasture all year, and the limited season has an impact on products’ prices. Credit: iStock/Naumoid

TIMMINS – Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Jeff Leal met with Indigenous partners, local municipalities, livestock organizations and industry on May 12th in Timmins to discuss the Northern Livestock Pilot project and kick off consultations with stakeholders and communities on supporting viable agriculture in the North.

“This pilot reaffirms our government’s commitment to Northern Ontario. We understand that job creation, economic diversification and access to local food are important to Northern Ontario residents. I look forward to working with our partners and Indigenous communities to develop meaningful and tangible solutions that will improve economic outcomes and expand food choices for Ontario’s Northern residents,” states Jeff Leal,  Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

The Northern Livestock Pilot project will:

  • Invest in new research to understand the social, environmental and economic aspects of Northern livestock expansion
  • Work to provide a parcel of Crown land to help kick start livestock farming in the region
  • Develop educational and other resources to help those starting a farm in the North.

“This investment in the North’s agri-food sector will help grow the economy and create good jobs for people here in Northern Ontario. Supporting growth through economic diversification in the North is an essential step toward making life more affordable and providing greater opportunities and choices in the everyday lives of Northerners,” says Bill Mauro, Minister of Northern Development and Mines.

Quick Facts

  • As of the 2011 census, there were approximately 1 million acres of farmland in Northern Ontario, with about 703,000 acres in production. This was made up of about 2,600 farms, which generated close to $192 million in revenue.
  • Ontario is in the process of releasing updated soil mapping in the Cochrane District to help inform farmers’ business and production decisions.
  • The province has invested $12.7 million through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation since 2013 to improve 25,500 acres of Northern Ontario agricultural land to strengthen and grow agricultural production.
  • Ontario also supports applied research, information resources, and training programs by the Beef Farmers of Ontario through Growing Forward 2, a five-year commitment by Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments to support Canada’s agri-food and agri-based products sector.
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