Rural Economic Development

Overview

Rural Ontario feeds our cities. Farm families provide the raw materials that supply food processors, restaurants and retail businesses that drive our urban centres. Ontario needs both its urban and rural economies to prosper and realize its full potential.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) encourages vibrant and resilient rural communities through its commitment to rural economic development. Policies that support the economic well-being of rural Ontario will benefit farm families and the broader agri-food sector provincially and nationwide. In 2015, Ontario’s agri-food sector contributed $36.4 billion in GDP to the provincial economy; approximately 12% of all goods-producing industries. The Ontario agriculture industry is essential to the economic growth and stability of rural communities, supporting 164,000 jobs and distributing $7 billion in wages and salaries.

OFA encourages rural economic development policies and programs that support:

  • attraction, retention and expansion of rural businesses, particularly for the agri-food sector;
  • the expansion of agricultural operations into value-added agriculture, such as on-farm processing, direct farm marketing and agri-tourism;
  • youth retention and attraction initiatives to encourage a skilled rural workforce of tomorrow;
  • agricultural research stations and innovation hubs in rural areas, providing high-skilled jobs, technological advancements and enhanced productivity;
  • rural small business support services to encourage entrepreneurship and business incubation;
  • initiatives and opportunities to utilize crop residue feedstocks and purpose-grown crops to fuel the bioeconomy;
  • access to reliable broadband internet for business development and utilization of precision agriculture technology;
  • affordable natural gas access as a competitive necessity to attract and retain businesses in rural Ontario; and
  • social infrastructure such as rural schools, health care, child care and community centres for the health and well-being of all rural residents.

 

Our Vision for Rural Ontario

Rural Ontario’s economy is booming. A diverse range of industrial, commercial and farm businesses have established and are thriving. These growing employers have access to a pool of skilled citizens that obtained their educational achievements at local rural schools. A modern transportation system with sufficient road and bridge infrastructure supports the movement of goods and services across communities, to urban markets, and beyond. Residents and business owners have access to robust and reliable broadband internet, affordable natural gas and ample community and social services. Residents are contributing to the Ontario economy by working in meaningful and stable employment, purchasing from local businesses, and raising their families in a safe, healthy, natural environment.

The next generation should see their future in rural Ontario.

 

Submissions & Correspondence

OFA submission to OMAFRA's Farms Forever Consultation
(June 29, 2017)

OFA comments on Recruiting Ontario's First Chief Science Officer
(March 27, 2017)

OFA Pre-budget Submission 2017
(January 20, 2017)

OFA submission regarding Horse Racing Licence Act
(August 26, 2016)

OFA letter regarding the next APF Phase 1 Consultations
(July 29, 2016)


Additional Information

Programs and Services for Ontario Farmers
(August 1, 2016)

Priorities for Growing Agriculture in Ontario
(May 10, 2016)

Supporting Agricultural Growth in your Municipality
(March 9, 2016)

OMAFRA Rural Economic Development Program
(June 22, 2012)

OMAFRA Strengthening Rural Communities
(June 22, 2012)


News

A Long Term Plan for Ethanol Benefits Rural Communities, Farmers and the Environment
(June 17, 2005 - Rural Economic Development)

Rising food costs won’t be as steep as feared
(August 17, 2012 - Rural Economic Development)

Province invests $100 million to reduce bumps in the road
(May 2, 2013 - Municipal Government, Rural Economic Development, Drainage)

Here’s why rural Ontario matters
(March 1, 2013 - Rural Economic Development)

Setting an agenda for farming and food in Ontario
(April 26, 2013 - Farm Animal Care, Rural Economic Development, Nutrient Management, Agri-Food Research, Energy, Taxation, Drainage)

Natural gas infrastructure a priority for rural Ontarians, survey says
(May 10, 2013 - Rural Economic Development, Energy, Natural Gas Infrastructure)

Give government something to chew on this summer
(June 28, 2013 - Rural Economic Development, Energy, Drainage, Local Food)

Heinz harms Ontario agriculture with plant closure announcement
(November 15, 2013 - Rural Economic Development, Local Food)

Study shows value of Ontario’s agri-food economy
(November 15, 2013 - Rural Economic Development, Agri-Food Research, Health Care, Education, Transportation)

Provincial budget holds promise for Ontario agriculture
(May 3, 2013 - Municipal Government, Rural Economic Development, Health Care, Education, Business Risk Management)

Infrastructure tops OFA focus in provincial budget
(July 18, 2014 - Rural Economic Development, Drainage, Natural Gas Infrastructure)

Keeping key ag issues hot with government
(February 21, 2014 - Rural Economic Development, Open for Business , Natural Gas Infrastructure)

OFA partners with municipal representatives to improve rural infrastructure
(July 25, 2014 - Rural Economic Development, Drainage, Natural Gas Infrastructure)

Vote for agriculture on October 19
(October 2, 2015 - Rural Economic Development, Agri-Food Research, Energy, Business Risk Management, Natural Gas Infrastructure)

OFA crunches the numbers on issues for provincial budget
(January 16, 2015 - Rural Economic Development, Health Care, Education, Bioeconomy, Natural Gas Infrastructure, Provincial Funding Transfers to Municipalities )

Building stronger communities through infrastructure investments
(February 13, 2015 - Rural Economic Development, Natural Gas Infrastructure, Natural Gas Savings Calculator)

Grassroots OFA effort brings back local infrastructure funding
(May 8, 2015 - Rural Economic Development)

OFA: It’s time to celebrate Ontario Ag Week
(September 30, 2016 - Rural Economic Development, Energy, Local Food, Natural Gas Infrastructure)

OFA: Talking about agriculture with federal candidates
(August 7, 2015 - Rural Economic Development, Agri-Food Research, Business Risk Management, Telecommunications, Natural Gas Infrastructure)

OFA: Three things we want to see in the provincial budget
(January 22, 2016 - Water, Land Use Policy & Farmland Preservation, Municipal Government, Rural Economic Development, Nutrient Management, Farm Property, Health Care, Farm Labour & Safety, Farm Finance, Taxation, Farm Income, Transportation, Open for Business , Local Food, Natural Gas Infrastructure, Food Literacy, Provincial Funding Transfers to Municipalities )

OFA takes top member concerns to politicians
(April 2, 2015 - Rural Economic Development, Agri-Food Research, Business Risk Management, Natural Gas Infrastructure)

Provincial budget promises “Jobs for Today and Tomorrow”
(February 26, 2016 - Municipal Government, Rural Economic Development, Energy, Property Assessment and Taxation, Natural Gas Infrastructure, Climate Change)

Federal budget delivers for Ontario farmers
(March 24, 2016 - Rural Economic Development, Agri-Food Research, Telecommunications, Climate Change)

Diversified agri-food sector to drive northern growth
(July 14, 2016 - Land Use Policy & Farmland Preservation, Rural Economic Development, Agri-Food Research, Environmental, Farm Labour & Safety, Farm Finance, Beginning Farmer Programming, Transportation, Local Food, Climate Change, Agri-Skills Training)

OFA advocacy update at the halfway point of the Liberal mandate
(June 17, 2016 - Water, Land Use Policy & Farmland Preservation, Municipal Government, Rural Economic Development, Farm Property, Environmental, Energy, Waste Management, Wildlife & Wildlife Damage, Business Risk Management, Natural Gas Infrastructure, Climate Change)

What’s on your wish list for community investments?
(July 10, 2015 - Rural Economic Development)

How would you spend $15 billion?
(September 17, 2015 - Rural Economic Development, Energy, Natural Gas Infrastructure)

OFA’s 2017 priorities line up with latest government mandate letters
(January 5, 2017 - Rural Economic Development, Weed & Pest Management, Energy, Waste Management, Open for Business , Natural Gas Infrastructure, Provincial Funding Transfers to Municipalities , Climate Change)

What agriculture needs in Ontario’s 2017 budget
(January 20, 2017 - Rural Economic Development, Energy, Business Risk Management, Natural Gas Infrastructure)

Working with ROMA for improved infrastructure in rural Ontario
(February 3, 2017 - Municipal Government, Rural Economic Development, Telecommunications, Property Assessment and Taxation, Drainage, Natural Gas Infrastructure, Provincial Funding Transfers to Municipalities )

New investments announced for rural Ontario
(February 2, 2017 - Rural Economic Development, Natural Gas Infrastructure)

Solution to urban housing crunch lies outside the city
(April 20, 2017 - Rural Economic Development, Health Care, Energy, Education, Natural Gas Infrastructure)

The real cost of closing rural schools
(October 28, 2016 - Rural Economic Development, Education)

Schools, communities, and businesses as co-dependents
(April 6, 2017 - Municipal Government, Rural Economic Development, Education)

Speak up for ag this summer
(July 6, 2017 - Water, Rural Economic Development, Environmental, Farm Labour & Safety, Minimum Wage)

OFA disappointed provincial budget does not grow agriculture
(April 28, 2017 - Rural Economic Development, Agri-Food Research, Environmental, Energy, Education, Business Risk Management, Transportation, Telecommunications, Income Tax, Property Assessment and Taxation, Drainage, Natural Gas Infrastructure, Provincial Funding Transfers to Municipalities , Climate Change)


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