Ontario Agriculture

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Top Funding for Agriculture and Agri-Food in Ontario

Originally posted on Mentor Works

The agriculture and food processing sectors are among the most heavily funded in Canada as regular recipients of 10’s of billions in funding annually. In fact, hardly a week goes by without the announcement of a food processor receiving a substantial contri... through the form of government business grants and or loans for agriculture.

Get Ready to Grow in 2014 with Ontario Business Grants and Loans


In 2014, the sectors prominence in the government funding arena will continue with several popular and accessible programs being offered on both the provincial and federal levels of government.

Top Business Loans & Small Business Grants Ontario for Agriculture and Food Processors


Mentor Works, a top provider in government funding support services, has outlined a list of the best business grants and loans programs for agriculture and food processing businesses.

1. The Local Food Fund Business Grants Ontario Help Increase Demand and Awareness of Local Food in Ontario


The Local Food Fund is an Ontario government funding program that offers support to innovative projects that result in the improved access to, demand for, and awareness of local food in Ontario.  This Ontario business grants program is available to for-profit, not-for-profit, as well as public organizations.

Local Food Fund Small Business Grants Ontario –Details

  • Amount: $10 million per year available. No set maximum project amount. Provides funding of up to 50% with the ability to stack federal funds up to 75%,
  • Timeline: Open. Deadlines for application occur every 60 days: December 31, 2013, February 28, 2014, April 31, 2014, June 30, 2014, etc,
  • Eligibility: Ontario based for-profit, not-for-profit and public organization.  Universities are not eligible for funding through this program but can be can be co-applicants.

Project Categories Eligible for Funding Through the Local Food Fund:


Innovative projects eligible for funding will aim to improve/increase the awareness, access to, demand for local food in the following categories:

1) Regional and local Food Networks,
2) Enhanced Technology, Capacity or Minor Capital,
3) Research and Best Practices,
4) Marketing, Promotion and Education

2. Growing Forward 2 Ontario Government Grants


Growing Forward 2 Ontario (GF2)  is a $417 million joint funding program through the Canadian federal and provincial government of Ontario. GF2’s aim is to support the growth and development of agriculture and agriculture industries through the dispersal of business grants to eligible Ontario firms.   Read Mentor Works’ press release featuring an overview of Growing F... (includes video).

Growing Forward 2 Organizations and Collaborations Capacity Building Project Implementation Funding


Growing Forward 2 funding for Organizations and Collaborations offers Ontario business grants to cover up to 75% of project expenses under two streams: Capacity Building and Project Implementation (visit these links for an overview of each stream of funding).

Growing Forward 2 Ontario Capacity Building –Eligible Projects:


Projects eligible for funding through GF2 Ontario’s capacity building stream can include strategic planning, audits, assessments, and/or training.

Funding for these projects will range from 50-75% depending on the innovativeness of the project.  Acceptance of project applications under $20,000 is ongoing. Submission of projects over $20,000 is subject to the following deadlines:

  • December 16, 2013 to January 30, 2014
  • April 1, 2014 to May 1, 2014
  • August 4, 2014 to August 28, 2014
  • November 10, 2014 to December 11, 2014

Growing Forward 2 Ontario Project Implementation –Eligible Projects:


Projects eligible for funding through the project implementation stream for processors must fit into one of the following GF2 Ontario priority areas:

  1. Environment and climate change adaptation
  2. Animal and plant health
  3. Market development
  4. Labour productivity enhancements
  5. Assurance systems (food safety, traceability, animal welfare)
  6. Business and leadership development


Ontario small business grants offered through this program supports up to 35% of project costs; innovative projects may receive up to 50% of project costs.   Processors involved in Growing Forward 2 funding programs can receive up to $350,000 in grant funding toward their projects in both the capacity building and project implementation streams.

3. AgriMarketing Canadian Business Grants for Agriculture and Agri-Food


Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada created the AgriMarketing Program to enhance the marketing capacity and competitiveness of the Canadian agriculture, agri-food, fish and seafood sectors. It will provide support to industries by allowing them to identify market priorities and increase their chance of global success. The AgriMarketing Program provides funding to SMEs through the AgriMarketing Market Development Stream and for other not-for-profit entities through the AgriMarketing Assurance Systems Stream.

AgriMarketing Market Development Stream:


This stream of Canadian government grants funding aims to help SMEs expand and develop new markets both domestically and internationally, supporting SMEs to identify market priorities and thus increasing their chances of global success.

  • Amount: Max of $50,000/year or 50% of project costs; stacking of up to 85% permitted; applicants expected to provide a minimum of 15% of the budgeted project costs.
  • Timeline: From April 1, 2013 - September 2017. Projects must be completed by March 31, 2018.
  • Eligibility Factors: Organizations promoting exports of Canadian agriculture, agri-food, fish and seafood products.
  • Eligible activities:   Advertising costs, costs of attending trade shows and seminars, outgoing and incoming missions.

AgriMarketing Assurance Systems Stream:


The Assurance Systems Stream focuses on the development of national assurances systems and standards that contribute to priorities such as food safety and security.

  • Amount: Max funding of $1,000,000 per project. Min of 25% cost sharing; In-kind max of 10%.
  • Timeline: From April 1, 2013 - September 2017. Projects must be completed by March 31, 2018.
  • Projects: Current priorities include market relevance, livestock traceability and projects related to food for human consumption have been identified as priorities. Preference will be given to project proposals with higher levels of contributions from industry.

4. AgriInnovation Interest-Free Canadian Business Loans


The AgriInnovation Program is a five-year initiative beginning April 1, 2013 through March 31, 2018, with a project completion date of January 31, 2018. The focus of ArgiInnovation’s Commercialization and Adoption Stream is helping small to mid-sized businesses with innovative agri-products, technologies, or services through the phases of product demonstration and commercialization.

  • Amount: Interest-free loans of up to $2-$10 million (dependent on project type).
  • Timeframe: Project completion date of March 31, 2018.
  • Projects: Pre-commercial and commercialization projects.
  • Eligibility Factors: For profit companies or cooperatives in the agricultural industry.


For more information regarding funding programs specific to agriculture and agri-food please join us for a free workshop or webinar.

5. Canada Summer Jobs & Other Small Business Grants for Hiring Programs


Canada Summer Jobs Program is one of the latest small business grants for hiring programs highlighted by Mentor Works. This particular program will accept application for the summer of 2014 until January 31, 2014. Stay connected with Mentor Works to learn about additional funding for hiring programs by signing up for our Canadian government funding weekly e-newsletter.

Canada Summer Jobs Program -Details


Supports funding for supervised career-related work experience for young workers in order to develop their skills and knowledge.

  • Amount For-Profit SMEs: 50% of employee min. hourly rate for summer hire from 15-30 years old students that are returning to school in the fall.
  • Amount Non-profit: 100% of Min Wage + MERCs.
  • Timeline: Now Receiving Applications (December 2nd to January 31st, 2014).
  • Eligibility Factors: Less than 50 employees.


Note: Can apply for multiple roles. First start date is April 21, 2014. Approval notification April 2014. For those who are unable to meet the application deadline, Summer Jobs Services offers a $2 per hour wage subsidy with a more flexible application deadline –learn more about Summer Jobs Services -Ontario.

Attend a Free Workshop or Webinar to Learn More about Canadian Government Funding for Agriculture and Agri-Food Business


Mentor Works offers free workshops and webinars to eligible Canadian small to mid-sized businesses.  View a list of our upcoming Business Grants and Loans Info-sessions.

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