OMAFRA Ag Business Update – Issue 149 – March 2019

OMAFRA Ag Business Update – Issue 149 – March 2019

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ISSUE # 149 – March 2019

This update is designed to provide you with concise, up to date agricultural business information with links to where you can find the details. 

This Issue:

Business Strategy / Business Planning

Standing up for Ontario’s Agri-food sector

Governments set date for funding opportunities for farmers, food processors and other businesses

Ontario and the federal government announced that beginning in March, farmers and other businesses can again apply for support under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership) for projects to boost innovation, economic development, environmental stewardship and food safety.

The intake will take place between March 22, 2019 and May 6, 2019.

More information will be available on the websites of the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs on or before March 22, 2019.


Ontario and the federal government announced that beginning in Marchorganizations and collaborations in the agri-food sector can again apply for support under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership) for projects to boost innovation, economic development, environmental stewardship and food safety.

The intake will take place between March 4, 2019 and April 5, 2019. Information about the program, including eligible project categories, is posted on the Agricultural Adaptation Council website.

CUSMA Issue of FARE Share

The FARE Share Newsletter features research and analysis from faculty and students in the Institute for the Advanced Study of Food and Agricultural Policy in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics (FARE).

In this issue, Dr. Joseph Glauber, agricultural economist and Senior Research Fellow with the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, D.C., notes that despite Trump’s rhetoric of a vastly improved deal, very little will change for agriculture within and between the three countries. Dr. Bruno Larue, Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Consumer Sciences, Laval University, also states that very little has changed for agriculture. Professor Richard Barichello, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, University of British Columbia, discusses what may be possible changes for the Canadian dairy industry. Finally, Professor James Rude, Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology, University of Alberta, focuses on the impact of CUSMA Article 32-10, which requires that any one of the three signatories that negotiate with a “nonmarket country” provide the other partners with advance notice and full disclosure of the details. If there is disagreement, others can withdraw from the CUSMA with six months’ notice. Professor Rude discusses the implications for negotiating a trade agreement with China.


Blockchains in Ontario Agriculture survey

The University of Guelph is conducting a survey to gather information on how and why farmers may use technology on the farm.

Blockchains are digital ledgers that can be used for recording transactions that cannot be altered or deleted. Blockchains enable the digitization, automation and tracking of food production, all of which influence farmers’ profit margins.  Blockchains can allow farmers to provide customers with information about how, when and where food was grown and processed. The adoption of blockchains could benefit farmers as the demands for better traceability and greater supply chain transparency by importers, retailers and consumers push for the implementation of blockchains in agriculture. Farmers can use blockchains to provide certification/guarantees that food products adhere to the high standards expected by customers.



Financial Management

Agricorp begins delivery of Farm Tax Program

Agricorp is assuming the role of primary point of contact for the Farm Property Class Tax Rate Program, also known as the “Farm Tax Program,” effective February 25, 2019.

The Farm Tax Program is staying the same, but farmland owners will now contact Agricorp for eligibility and enrolment, instead of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).

This change will make things easier for farmland owners who already contact Agricorp for the Farm Business Registration (FBR) program. FBR is a requirement for the Farm Tax Program.

Agricorp also offers customer-friendly forms, an easy-to-use website and helpful customer service staff. The call centre has knowledgeable and friendly staff, little to no wait times and extended hours (Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.).  


Updated OMAFRA Factsheet: Analyzing and Managing Your Cash Flow

While all business owners hope their businesses will never have financial problems, in reality, most businesses experience financial pressure at some point. This factsheet is designed to help you diagnose a cash-flow shortage and take some steps toward correcting it.


Highlights From the March 2019 US Farm Income Forecast

USDA Economic Research Service

Farm Sector Profits Expected To Increase in 2019

Net farm income, a broad measure of profits, is forecast to increase $6.3 billion (10.0 percent) from 2018 levels to $69.4 billion in 2019. This follows a $12.0-billion (16.0 percent) decline forecast for 2018. In inflation-adjusted 2019 dollars, net farm income is forecast to increase $5.2 billion (8.1 percent) from 2018 after the forecast decrease of $13.9 billion (17.8 percent) in 2018. If realized, inflation-adjusted net farm income in 2019 would be 49.0 percent below its highest level of $136.1 billion in 2013 and below its historical average across 2000-17 ($90.0 billion).


Short term energy outlook

US Energy Information Administration

  • Brent crude oil spot prices averaged $59 per barrel (b) in January, up $2/b from December 2018 but $10/b lower than the average in January of last year. EIA forecasts Brent spot prices will average $61/b in 2019 and $62/b in 2020, compared with an average of $71/b in 2018. EIA expects that West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices will average $8/b lower than Brent prices in the first quarter of 2019 before the discount gradually falls to $4/b in the fourth quarter of 2019 and through 2020.
  • Diesel fuel and gasoline prices are forecast to be 7-10% lower in 2019 than in 2018


Fuel Charge Exemption Certificate – Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (GGPPA)

The GGPPA will provide farmers with relief from the fuel charge for fuels used in tractors, trucks and other farm machinery. The relief is provided upfront through the use of exemption certificates, when certain conditions are met. Specifically, the GGPPA provides that a registered distributor can generally deliver, without the fuel charge applying, gasoline or light fuel oil (e.g.,

diesel) to a farmer at a farm, if the fuel is for use exclusively in the operation of eligible farming machinery and all or substantially all of the fuel is for use in the course of eligible farming activities. Farmers do not need to be registered for the purposes of this relief.

Under the GGPPA, eligible farming machinery means property that is primarily used for the purposes of farming and that is a farm truck or tractor, a vehicle not licensed to be operated on a public road, or an industrial machine or stationary or portable engine.

Fuel Charge Exemption Certificate for Farmers under section 36 of the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act

Fuel Charge Exemption Certificate for Greenhouse Operators under section 36 of the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act


Human Resources

New Internship Program Creating More Jobs for Indigenous, Skilled Workers

Ontario Attracting, Retaining Skilled Workforce in the North

The government is launching a new Northern Ontario Internship Program.

The new Northern Ontario Internship Program will have two funding streams:

  • The Northern Ontario Indigenous Internships Stream highlights the importance of the North’s Indigenous population to the region’s economy and workforce while providing employers with greater incentive to offer Indigenous internship opportunities.
  • The Northern Ontario Skilled Labour Internships Stream places an enhanced focus on addressing skills shortages in areas such as the skilled trades and provides apprentices with the ability to attend required training throughout their placement. 


2018-19 Excellence Award for Agricultural Students is Accepting Applications

Farm Management Canada (FMC) and the Canadian Association of Diploma in Agriculture Programs (CADAP) are proud to announce the launch of the 2018-19 Excellence Award for Agricultural Students, designed to encourage students to improve their critical thinking, communication and leadership skills through a national competition.  

How to Apply
FMC and CADAP are collecting submissions from agricultural students across Canada and will award three winners with scholarships towards furthering their education in agriculture. First place stands to win $1,500!

The award is designed to help students develop their communication skills by having the opportunity to voice their opinion on a subject related to farm management.  

Students are asked to submit a multimedia presentation, a video, a Twitter chat, a blog or a Wiki, responding to the following question

How can agriculture bridge the increasing rural and urban divide?

To take part in the competition, for details on how to enter, or to

*All applications must be received no later than May 3rd, 2019.

Conferences, Workshops and Seminars

OMAFRA Dateline:

OMAFRA Dateline is an online resource for use by interested individuals and organizations across Ontario. Events may be hosted by OMAFRA or other groups. The events posted on this site are aimed at sharing information of interest to agriculture and regional economic development clients. Please check the calendar regularly for upcoming events, workshops, conferences and meetings.

CAP Workshops & Webinars

A variety of excellent workshops and webinars are offered at no cost by OSCIA as part of Canadian Agricultural Partnership to assist Ontario farm businesses in identifying strengths and weaknesses in a variety of areas that influence the farm’s profitability, productivity and sustainability. The workshops and webinars each have a different focus and different goals.


FCC Events

Make the most of your farm business

Practical tools, new perspectives and breakthrough moments – expand your ag knowledge at a free FCC learning event. We bring the best minds in agriculture to communities across Canada to inform, inspire and help you get the most from your business.


Price Risk Management using Futures & Options

In today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, downstream flexibility can be achieved in part by predicting and managing upstream risk. This comprehensive, three-day course focuses on practical application and is essential for any farmer or agri-business leader whose production (outputs) or raw materials (inputs) are commodity based.

AME is now offering two different delivery options to take the Introduction to Price Risk Management Program. A three day in person course February 12-14, 2019, in Guelph, ON or a seven session on-line course over a three week period. Next start date for the on-line course March 18, 2019.


Check out Upcoming Agriwebinar® Presentations

Healthy Farmer Series: Part 2 – Your Farm Business

March 27, 2019 @ 12 p.m. EST

This webinar is part two of Farm Management Canada’s ‘Healthy Farmer’ webinar series, which will focus on health from different angles, including your personal health, your family’s health, and the health of your farm business. Part 2 will focus on your farm business.

Presented by: Kelly Dobson

AGRI Tech Venture Forum

The AGRI Tech Venture Forum is an annual event that serves as a converging point for the global agriculture-technology elite. Industry giants, investors, accelerators, and innovators provide insight on the latest sector headwinds, technology milestones, and key challenges facing the future of agriculture-technology.

May 15, 2019
Marriott Downtown at CF Eaton Centre
525 Bay St.
Toronto, ON M5G 2L2


Agricultural Excellence Conference (AgEx)

Farm Management Canada

Cultivating Resilience

The theme Cultivating Resilience focuses on building the capacity for you and your farm to weather any storm and seize opportunity.

December 2-4 2019

Fredericton, New Brunswick


Thanks for reading the AgBusiness Update. 

Questions or Comments: contact the editor, John Molenhuis at 

Subscribe to the Ag Business Update: send an email to  

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