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                                                         June 23, 2016


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Economic Development
BRE1Ontario's BR+E Program Receives International Award

At the Business Retention + Expansion International Association (BREI) Conference held in San Antonio, Texas on May 25, 2016, Ontario's BR+E program received international recognition as an award winner  for innovative, effective and exemplary BR+E programming. 
BREI is the leading professional association for BR+E, a fundamental strategy for economic sustainability and growth.  It  represents professionals in the economic development field from across the globe who educate, train, and promote best practices to increase economic activity and growth in both urban and rural areas.
In 1998, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs introduced the BR+E program (survey, database, manual, promotion and training resources) for use by rural communities. Since then, more than 230 BR+E projects that surveyed over 8,000 businesses have taken place across Ontario. 
Ontario's BR+E program is a structured, action-oriented and community-based approach to business and economic development.  The program includes a main retention survey designed to be applicable to all businesses.   
The program is one of a suite of Economic Development programs delivered by OMAFRA's Regional Economic Development Branch. For more information on Ontario's BR+E program, please contact your local advisor here.

haveyoursayHave Your Say: Positively Impact the Economic Viability of Agriculture in Northern Ontario
Author: Pierrette Desrochers, OMAFRA, Agriculture Development Advisor

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) is leading the development of the Northern Ontario Agriculture, Aquaculture and Food Processing sector strategy.
Agriculture, Aquaculture and Food Processing is a priority sector named under the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario, that can help grow and diversify Northern Ontario's economy.
OMAFRA  needs input from a broad array of producers, organizations and communities to create an effective strategy which will guide long term decision-making and investment planning in Northern Ontario.
The  discussion paper  is a first step in the development of this strategy. We look forward to having a dialogue on the questions presented in the discussion paper and other comments and ideas that may arise.
How to Comment on the Discussion Paper
Interested parties may provide input into the development of the Strategy in a number of ways.
Provide comments in writing through one of the following:
1.    Ontario's Environmental Registry - EBR Registry Number 012-7458 .: the EBR comment              period closes July 3, 2016.
2.    By email to
3.    By delivery  to any OMAFRA  office
4.    By mail/courier to:
Economic Development Policy Branch
1 Stone Road West
2nd Floor NE
Guelph, Ontario
N1G 4Y2
5.     By Fax: (510) 826-4328
attention: Economic Development Policy Branch
To obtain an electronic version of this discussion paper, please go to OMAFRA's  website.
OMAFRA will provide participants with summaries of consultations and submitted written comments by the public. Your input towards the Northern Ontario Agriculture, Aquaculture and Food Processing sector strategy will positively impact the economic viability and advancement of Northern Ontario and the province as a whole.

business Write a Better Business Case
Preparing a business case is an integral part of the planning and fundraising process for any municipal or community project. It becomes more important as the cost and complexity of the project increases.

A business case is similar to a business plan prepared for private business. Its purpose is to outline the business rationale for undertaking the project and to define the parameters and management factors involved in the project itself. It provides the project manager with a tool to guide the design, management and evaluation of the project.

The business case provides evidence that the project is a good investment for both the funding partner and the community. Funding partners and government funding programs usually require a business case before committing to the project.

The business case serves four purposes:
  • It helps the applicant think through the project in a systematic, step-by-step manner.
  • It explains to program administrators, funding partners and other interested parties why the project should be undertaken.
  • It helps potential funding partners understand the economic value of the project.
  • It provides a framework for completion of the project on time and on budget.
Read more ... 
Agriculture Development
yeilds Do You Want to Increase Crop Yields and Reduce Soil Erosion?
Windbreaks can increase crop yields up to 15 per cent, more than making up for the amount of land they use. How? Windbreaks improve a field's microclimate by reducing wind speeds, increasing temperatures and reducing the amount of moisture loss.
Have you considered planting a windbreak? Windbreaks can also:
  • reduce soil erosion
  • decrease odour and spray drift
  • offer alternative income options
  • save you up to 30 per cent in heating and energy costs
  • shelter livestock from the wind and sun
Each bar represents yield average, as studied by the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus. Yields increased on the downwind side of the windbreak over distances of up to 12 times the height of the windbreak.  Crop yield increases vary by crop type. 

mycotoxins Reducing Mycotoxins in Corn Silage with Application of Fungicides
Author: Scott Banks, Emerging Crops Specialist/OMAFRA

Fungi that infect crop plants and produce mycotoxins can reduce grain quality and profits, but they can also affect the performance of livestock who consume infected feed. There are a number of mycotoxins that can be found in Ontario crops, and the one we discuss most often goes by a few names: deoxynivalenol, vomitoxin or DON. We typically have greater levels of DON when there are cool, wet conditions during pollination and grain fill.

fence Electric Fencing Helps Manage Cattle on Pasture 
Author: Barry Potter, Agriculture Development Advisor, OMAFRA

A major limiting factor for beef production in Ontario is lack of fencing. With the spread of cash cropping across the province in recent years, perimeter fencing has been removed on many farms. Establishing, or re-establishing fencing is one of the first steps in getting into cattle farming.

Good perimeter fences are necessary for keeping cattle where you want them. Interior fencing allows for increased pasture management. Perimeter fencing maintains good neighbours and safe cattle.

There are many fencing options available: page wire, barb wire, and electric being three common types in Ontario . We also have a fact sheet that compares 5 types of fence and their costs,  Farm Fencing Systems . Comparisons indicate that electric fencing is the least expensive and most effective fencing system on the market. It is quicker to build, using less labour and materials. Once properly trained, cattle show respect for the fence, and will usually not bother to challenge it.

Some things to consider when building a fence include:
  • What distance will you be fencing
  • What type of livestock
    • Cow calf
    • backgrounders
  • Is it perimeter or internal fencing