Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program Accepting Applications for On-Farm Changes Made in March

Enhaced Worker Protection ProgramOn May 14, 2020 the ministry announced the launch of the Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program for ProducersHowever, many in the greenhouse sector had already made pro-active improvements to workplace safety in light of Covid-19.

If you fall into that category, the program is now accepting applications for changes made as far back as March 15 2020.   Applications are being accepted until funding runs out.

The program has also been simplified to provide faster assistance by eliminating pre-approval. Growers can now submit eligible expenses up to the farm maximum ($7500).  This now includes accommodation and/or transport costs related to outbreak prevention. More program details can be found below and on the OMAFRA website. Continue reading “Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program Accepting Applications for On-Farm Changes Made in March”

Is Your Water a Source of Plant Disease? How to Sample and Find Out.

Old rustic water pipe with running drinking water and plastic bottle being filled up, aid concept.

After reading the previous posts in this series, you’re now aware of WHICH pathogens can be spread through your irrigation water, WHERE they can accumulate, and WHY that’s important.  We’re now moving on to posts covering WHAT you can do about it!

This post will walk you through how to sample water sources on your farm, and which tests you can run to determine if your water is helping – or hurting – your crop.

Continue reading “Is Your Water a Source of Plant Disease? How to Sample and Find Out.”

Garden Mums – 2020 Production and Protection Tips

praying mantis on garden mumsThis post was contributed to by Drs. Sarah Jandricic and Chevonne Dayboll.

Summer is in full swing, and so too are garden mums!  Although generally an easy crop, there several tweaks you can make to help save headaches AND money.

This post has information to help you optimize your irrigation, fertilizer and pest management programs in garden mums.

Continue reading “Garden Mums – 2020 Production and Protection Tips”

PROGRAM EXPANSION: Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program

On May 14, 2020 the ministry announced the launch of the Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program for Producers. The intake is open to interested applicants and program materials have been posted online.  As of June 12, the program has been expanded, in terms of available funding. Applications are being accepted until funding runs out. More details on this program can be found below. Continue reading “PROGRAM EXPANSION: Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program”

New Chemical Control Option for Thrips and Whitefly

Thrips-tabaci-female-1-1024x683A new pesticide is available  for greenhouse ornamental production in Canada that has shown potential for effective suppression of difficult-to-control thrips and whitefly species.

But to keep this new tool effective, growers will have to use this chemical wisely. Keep reading for  efficacy data on ornamental crops and best management practices for incorporating this chemical into your IPM toolbox.

Continue reading “New Chemical Control Option for Thrips and Whitefly”

Updates 2020: Japanese Beetle Control

japanese beetle_daveIt will soon be that time of year again, when Japanese beetle adults begin to fly. However, the cooler spring means pupation may take longer. So what does that mean for timing of control products?

This post answers those questions and provides updated infographics for JB control for those exporting to non-JB areas.

Continue reading “Updates 2020: Japanese Beetle Control”

New CAP Intake to Help Canadian Growers Develop New Markets

online sales 1

Looking to pivot to online sales or other marketing strategies? The Canadian Agricultural Partnership can help.

The Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) has just announced a new program to help fund agri-food businesses starting e-commerce sales or other activities that might open new market channels.  This targeted intake is called “Agrifood Open for E-business” and can be found on the OMAFRA website.

Read on for more details of the program, who is eligible, and examples of projects ornamental growers can apply for in each of the two program streams.

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Province of Manitoba | agriculture - Canadian Agricultural Partnership

Information about the new CAP intake can be found at http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/cap/index.htm

Agrifood Open for E-business – Stream 1: Bring Your Business Online

Stream 1 is looking to target businesses who need to bring their business online quickly. Eligible businesses include farmers (on-farm stores included), on-farm markets, garden centers, greenhouses and nurseries.

online flower sales

New CAP programming can help cover the costs of new website design, hosting fees, and marketing strategies.

Growers and garden centres can apply to receive up to $5,000 of funding to address marketing challenges through a new, expanded or enhanced on-line presence.  Funding under this stream is designed to be quick and responsive for those needing timely solutions.

The priority here is to develop market channels to retain and/or expand sales with primary objective of bringing products to customers.

EXAMPLES from the ornamental sector that could be covered (starting as of April 24, 2020 unitl November 30, 2020) under Stream 1 include:

  • A Grower developing an online e-commerce site to increase or replace sales from roadside stands. This includes subscription fees (for up to 6 months), e-commerce website design costs and even web ads.
  • A Garden Centre with a e-presence already, using funds to expand merchandising and marketing efforts, and/or to make any necessary facility modifications.
  • A Farmers’ Market providing an online platform to share information about products that are now available for sale through alternative channels.

Agrifood Open for E-business – Stream 2: Develop Online Business Opportunities

This stream thinks bigger.  It provides cost-share funding to develop e-commerce business opportunities on a larger scale to implement high-impact projects. Individual businesses can apply, as can eligible organizations.  Collaborations are also encouraged. Funding is available for up to 90 per cent of eligible costs up to $75,000 (although smaller projects are preferred).

flower shipping

Thinking about changing your business for the long term to access new and different markets? The CAP “Open for E-Business” intake may be able to help with that, too.

Stream 2 is not just about getting you online, it’s about creating stable, long term online marketing and sales platforms that will help businesses going forward. Priorities here are about creating or expanding new markets and revenue streams, and projects that meet broad business needs for the sector (e.g. an online platform that supports multiple businesses) and collaborative projects.

In this stream, applicants can show their projects are impactful by involving groups that represent multiple stakeholders, and/or by working together with other partners. Applicants can also show their project meets the needs of the broader sector by demonstrating industry support in other ways (such as support letters).

EXAMPLES for the ornamental sector that could be covered under Stream 2 include:

  • A Grower developing and validating a new operation process (e.g. switching from wholesale to retail). This would include the logistics related to new marketing channels (this could be anything from new shelving needed to sell on the roadside or moving plants through alternative logistics models), warehousing, shipping (including new packaging), delivery fulfillment (e.g. door-to-door) and other transactions, such as the purchase of new machinery to help adapt to new sales methods (e.g. new POS system that allows for contactless “tap” purchases for roadside, pickup or delivery sales options).
  • A Retail Centre (e.g. grocery stores) developing new models to market, merchandise and ship new products like ornamentals in a contactless manner. This could include website/merchandising expansion, training key personnel on the new process and delivery logistics
  • Grower Organizations collaborating with growers or other industry groups to market the benefits and availability of ornamentals (as long as it’s not restricted to Ontario-grown products only), or creating an app to more easily link growers to sellers.
  • A Farmers’ Market collaborating with its market vendors to establish and market an e-commerce platform, and to make minor facility modifications to address social distancing requirements that are directly related to the project.

All applicants to Stream 2 should show the project is meeting the needs of their broader sector by demonstrating industry support through letters from customers, suppliers and grower organizations. A grower can also show the project is meeting the needs of their local area through support letters from regional organizations (e.g., local business/economic development groups).

More Information:

More information about this new CAP “Agri-Food Open for E-Business” programming can be found at http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/cap/index.htm

Make sure to check the Merit Criteria section closely!  Note that costs relating to projects starting BEFORE April 24 will NOT be eligible. All applications should be submitted electronically to agpartnership@ontario.ca

Electronic forms for submission can be found here:

The electronic application form for Stream 1 is available here.

The electronic application form for Stream 2 is available here.

Growers and retailers can apply for one project under EACH stream, in order to get their e-commerce platforms up and running quickly AND to engage in longer term marketing and sales processes that strengthen the sector over the long run.

An Additional FYI: OMAFRA and COVID

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, and to respect physical distancing measures, all our specialists are working remotely but are still available to assist you.

We will continue to support the sector’s needs by providing services via email, phone and virtual meetings where possible. We understand these are trying times for most and so we want to assure everyone that we are continuing delivery of information in a timely manner through these alternative channels.

We will continue to provide the sector with the support we’ve always given. Thank you for your understanding. Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.

 

Extension Granted for Pesticide Certifications in 2020

Pull behind type field sprayer spraying pesticides in an onion field

Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) is extending the pesticide certification of those who have certificates expiring this year until December 31, 2020.

This is good news to those of you who have expiring certificates and have not been able to attend an online course. The letters below are also being emailed out to those impacted:

OPEP has also released this press release.

New producers will need to access the online courses that are currently available or contact OPEP for other arrangements:

Ontario Pesticide Education Program
University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus
120 Main Street East,
Ridgetown, ON
N0P 2C0
1-800-652-8573, or 519-674-2230
rcopep@uoguelph.ca

OPEP continues to look at options to improve their online course options and to do testing online.

Diagnostics from a Distance: 5 tips on how to get the answers you need

IMG_4760How do you get help in this day and age when your extension agent or consultant can’t just pop into your greenhouse and look at a problem with you? Although nothing can replace seeing an issue first-hand, there is still a way to get help with your pest and production issues from a distance.

This post will give you tips on key information you need to send, and how to take good photos, to make getting quick and accurate answers from experts easier via email or messaging.

Continue reading “Diagnostics from a Distance: 5 tips on how to get the answers you need”