Farming can be a volatile business, but there is lots of financial help if you know where to look – including grants for Ontario farmers.
Whether you’re looking for farm grants for beginning farmers, young farmer grants, grants to buy a farm, or grants to purchase farm supplies or equipment, this list has you covered!
Many of these programs are even “stackable”, so take a look and see how much funding you can access!
In this comprehensive guide to farm grants in Ontario, we cover more than just grants – we also highlight other types of farm financing, including farm loans, farm tax credits, and much more.
What is a Farm Grant?
The Government of Canada defines a grant as:
a transfer payment subject to pre-established eligibility and other entitlement criteria. A grant is not subject to being accounted for by a recipient nor normally subject to audit by the department. The recipient may be required to report on results achieved.
So, a farm grant is:
What Can a Farm Grant Be Used For?
Farm grants can be used to pay for many aspects of starting or running a farm. Here are some of the uses that are covered by programs in our grants database:
And that’s just a sample! See the section below with a complete list of farm grants available.
How Much Grant Money Can I Get for My Farm?
In our database we currently have grants ranging from $10,000 to $25,000,000.
Am I Eligible for a Farm Grant? Common Eligibility Criteria
Two of the most common questions we get asked at Ontario Business Grants are “Am I eligible?” and “How do I qualify?”.
We analyzed the farm grants in our grants database, and these are the most common qualifications we identified:
Note: these are just the most common eligibility criteria – there are many grants with different requirements.
Farm Grants for Ontario: Current Grants Available
Now we get to the good stuff! In the table below we list the grants currently available to Ontario farmers and producers.
To learn more about each program, just click the program name and you’ll be taken to a web page that provides detailed information on the program, including eligibility, the dollar amount of the program, and how to apply for the grant:
Farm Grants for Ontario Farmers
How to Apply for Farm Grants: Follow These 10 Steps
While the application steps for farming grant programs vary, here are some common steps:
- Gather grants that target your purpose of funding, demographic, industry, or region
- Zoom in on grants that are a close fit with your farm’s goals
- Read each program’s eligibility criteria
- Dig deeper into the program guide
- Contact the grant agencies. Questions to ask:
- Is my business eligible?
- Have businesses like mine won this grant before?
- Are there many businesses applying?
- When is the deadline for applying?
- Draft a one-pager grant application abstract (this will force you to see if you qualify)
- Write a rough draft of the grant application and send to the grant agency
- Gather/prepare your documents (including letters of reference)
- Write the full application
- Submit the application
- Follow up after submission
- Move forward with other types of business funding (see below for other types of farm funding)
Other Types of Funding for Ontario Farms
Our goal is for this guide to be a complete source of funding information for farmers and producers. So, in this section you’ll find all the other money programs (besides grants) that are available to farmers:
Loans for Farms in Ontario
A loan might not sound as good as a grant, but many loans for farmers have a low interest rate. While they might not be free money, if you don’t qualify for a grant, a low-interest loan is probably the next best thing.
The programs below include government loans and loan guarantees (which are loans that are provided by commercial banks but guaranteed by the government):
Government Loans for Ontario Farmers
Government Loan Guarantees for Ontario Farmers
|Name of Program||Amount||Type|
|Farm Transfers – Farm Credit Canada||No Fixed Amount||Loan|
|Agricultural Credit Corporation - Ginseng Storage Loan Guarantee Pilot Program||$1000000||Loan Guarantee|
|Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) – Feeder Cattle Loan Guarantee Program (2022)||$500000||Loan Guarantee|
|Government of Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) – Canadian Agricultural Loans Act Program (2022)||$500000||Loan Guarantee|
|Advance Payments Program - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) (2022)||$1000000||Loan Guarantee|
If you’re not eligible for a government loan, you might consider one of the commercial loans available for farms. Below is a sample of current loan programs offered by the “Big 5” Canadian banks that are available specifically for farming operations:
In addition to loans, there are lines of credit offered by some commercial banks specifically for farmers.
A line of credit can be a handy way to finance ongoing operations if you have occasional shortfalls in cashflow, need to finance a small equipment purchase, among other uses.
Here are some lines of credit currently available for farmers:
While not exactly a type of funding for farmers, some commercial banks in Canada offer bank accounts specifically for farmers, producers, and agricultural businesses. These accounts offer special perks and are worth checking out:
A subsidy is a type of financial assistance provided by the government to promote an economic policy (such as high employment). Wage subsidies are the most common subsidies.
In the table below you’ll find some of the subsidies currently available for Ontario farmers:
Subsidies for Ontario Farms
|Name of Program||Amount||Type|
|Project Learning Tree Canada (PLT Canada) – Green Jobs Program||$32000||Wage Subsidy|
A tax credit reduces the tax that a business pays on its taxable income. Below is a sample of the tax credits available for farmers:
Tax Credits for Ontario Farmers
|Name of Program||Amount||Type|
|Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada – Livestock Tax Deferral Provision||no fixed amount||Tax Credit|
|Government of Ontario, Ministry of Finance – Community Food Program Donation Tax Credit for Farmers (2022)||No Fixed Amount||Tax Credits|
|Agricorp Farm Property Class Tax Rate Program (2022)||No Fixed Amount||Tax Reduction|
A rebate is a partial refund made to a business by a government, utility company, etc. Common rebates include tax rebates, energy rebates, etc.
In the table below you’ll find some rebates currently available for farmers:
Rebates for Ontario Farmers
|Name of Program||Amount||Type|
|Farm Credit Canada – Sustainability Incentive Program||$2000||Rebate|
|Ontario Ministry of Energy – Ontario Electricity Rebate (OER)||N/A||Rebate|
|Beef Farmers of Ontario - Verified Beef Production Plus: Quality Assurance Rebate Incentive Program||no fixed amount||Rebate|
An investment is a contribution of funds to a business in exchange for equity (i.e., ownership in the business).
Investments are typically made by angel investors, venture capitalists, and private equity organizations, but in some cases federal government organizations (such as the Business Development Bank of Canada) also makes equity investments in businesses.
In the table below you’ll find investment programs currently available for farming operations:
Investment Programs for Ontario Farmers
|Name of Program||Amount||Type|
|Ag Capital Canada - Private Equity||no fixed amount||Investment|
|Forage Capital Partners - Forage Capital Ag & Food Business Solutions Fund||no fixed amount||Investment|
Best Farm Grants, Loans & More for Ontario Farmers
While there are lots of good programs available, below we highlight some of the best grants, loans, tax credits & more for farmers:
Best Government Grants for Farmers
Use the AgriStability program to help you when you experience a sharp margin decline. When you do, you could be paid whenever your current year program margin falls below 70% of your reference margin (learn more about program margins and reference margins).
All you have to do is set up direct deposit and an account to get started. To do both of these, just get in touch with AgriStability administration. You can also contact them for more information.
AgriInsurance is a federal-provincial-producer cost-shared program that stabilizes a producer’s income by minimizing the economic effects of primarily production losses caused by severe but uncontrollable natural hazards. Some examples of possible eligible perils are drought, flood, wind, frost, excessive rain, heat, snow, uncontrolled disease, insect infestations and wildlife.
AAFC Canada Pavilion Program
The Canada Pavilion Program is aimed at making trade show participation easier at the world’s premier food and beverage events, “where the world shops”. With trade shows being an integral marketing technique used by industry when entering new regions, the Canada Pavilion Program will allow companies to take advantage of opportunities arising from market access gains.
AAFC Poultry and Egg On-Farm Investment Program
The Poultry and Egg On-Farm Investment Program (PEFIP) aims to help supply-managed poultry and egg producers adapt to market changes resulting from the implementation of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
AAFC Supply Management Processing Investment Fund
The Supply Management Processing Investment Fund (SMPIF) helps processors of supply-managed commodities adapt to market changes resulting from the implementation of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The program provides non-repayable contributions to support investments in dairy, poultry, and egg processing facilities that improve productivity and/or efficiency through the purchase of new automated equipment and technology.
AAFC Price Pooling Program
The Price Pooling Program provides a price guarantee that protects marketing agencies and producers against unanticipated declines in the market price of their products. Program participants use the price guarantee as security in obtaining credit from lending institutions. This credit allows the marketing agency to improve cash flow of producers through an initial payment for products delivered. It also provides equal returns to producers for products of like grades, varieties, and types.
AAFC Wine Sector Support Program
The Wine Sector Support Program (WSSP) provides short-term financial support to licensed Canadian wineries as they adapt to ongoing and emerging challenges that impact financial resilience and competitiveness of the wine industry.
The program will provide non-repayable grants to wine licensees in Canada based on their production of bulk wine fermented in Canada from domestic and/or imported primary agricultural products.
Best Government Loans for Farmers
Farm Credit Canada (FCC) Environmental Solutions
Have you decided it’s time to save money and reduce your environmental footprint by changing to using renewable resources? Now’s a great time to do so as FCC’s Environmental Solutions program offers incentives when you switch to solar, wind, biogas, and geothermal energy.
Save money on your monthly bills over time, make your farm more energy efficient, and ensure your farm is sustainable by switching, and use FCC’s financing program to help you do that.
You’ll even get the option of interest-only payments or deferred payments when necessary when you finance your upgrades with this program.
Just give them a call at 1-888-332-3301 to get started or send them an email.
Farm Credit Canada (FCC) – Equipment
Use the FCC Equipment loan specifically to buy the equipment you need for your farm, whatever that may be. FCC offers lower down payments and more flexible terms than other lenders, and you can pay off your loan early with no penalty.
And if you call 1-800-510-6669 before you go equipment shopping, you can get pre-approved so when you find what you need, you can buy it right away instead of waiting on financing.
If you’re not interested in buying but would rather lease, they’ve got you covered there too. Enjoy a lower price upfront and the option to buy your equipment outright at the end of your lease, all for better terms than with a regular bank.
Farm Credit Canada (FCC) – Land & Buildings
So you don’t need equipment and you’re not in the market for livestock, but you do need more land or another building to expand your current farm operation.
Then FCC’s Land & Buildings program has what you need in this regard too. You can even choose to schedule payments around your growing cycles, off-farm income, and during construction, or any other way that suits your business. Plus, you can take advantage of the same interest-only or deferred payment options as with all their other programs.
Farm Credit Canada (FCC) – Livestock
Livestock is costly but integral to your business, and now it’s a little more affordable with a couple different financing options offered under FCC’s Livestock program.
First, take advantage of a credit line specifically designed to help you purchase livestock. You’ll work with an FCC relationship manager and figure out the best rates and terms for you when you get your pre-approved credit line with them.
Or, you could opt to work with a Livestock Alliance Partner and get rates just as competitive as with FCC. This way, you can purchase and finance your livestock in the same place and with a company and its products that were created just for farmers. To try the FCC Livestock credit line, call 1-888-332-3301, visit your local field office, or send an email. And to work with a Livestock Alliance Partner, check out this list of partners.
Farm Credit Canada (FCC) – Young Farmers: Young Farmer Loan
The Young Farmer Loan is aimed at farmers 40 and under. Buy the assets you need up to $1 million with this financing. You’ll pay just prime plus 0.5% and no processing fees. And when you take advantage of financing with FCC, you’ll also get help putting your business plan together and more.
The Starter Loan was designed for even younger farmers. If you’re 25 and under, look into this one to start the farm you’ve dreamed of. Get special rates with FCC financing and use the money to buy equipment or livestock and more and build the credit history you’ll need in the future.
Farm Credit Canada (FCC) – FCC Input Financing
FCC Input Financing provides loans to purchase fuel, fertilizer, and crop protection. Input financing is offered through local retailers allowing farmers to purchase and finance their inputs at the same time. Funding is a loan of up to 100% of applicants’ input purchase through the local retailers.
Best Government Loan Guarantees for Farmers
AAFC Advance Payments Program
Sometimes you just need the money to prep for the next season and you just don’t have it yet. It doesn’t matter what got in the way—the weather, the market, even the government—because AAFC’s Advance Payments Program for farmers solves that problem for you.
Get up to $1 million to buy your product with these low-interest cash advances, as long as your product fits one of these categories:
This loan guarantee program also pays the interest on the first $100,000 advanced and the first $500,000 advanced to canola producers.
You just repay the advance as you sell your product, and you can take up to 18 months to pay it back, 24 months for cattle and bison.
Most farms of all sizes qualify, so apply by contacting an Advance Payments Program administrator. They’ll guide you through the application process, let you know which additional documents to send, and tell you of any administration fees.
AAFC Canadian Agricultural Loans Act (CALA) Program
This program can help you access the loan you need to establish, improve, or develop your farm by offering your lender a guarantee that they will receive 95% of any loan you default on—if you qualify, which you do if you’re a Canadian farmer and your lender accepts your loan application.
You can use your loan guarantee to find funding for just about anything, but the maximum amount they will guarantee is $500,000. You don’t have to do anything to apply because your lender will register the loan on your behalf. You can even go back to your lender to see if they have registered your loan, and if they haven’t, they can do it retroactively within 60 days.
Farm Credit Canada (FCC) Farm Transfers
If it’s time for you to retire and let the next generation take the reins, or the other way around, consider using FCC’s specially designed Farm Transfers financing program.
There’s plenty of benefits for using this financing program when transferring farms, for both the buyer and the seller. For example, the buyer may not need as much capital to put down and the seller may agree to accept payment over time with FCC’s full-payment guarantee. Conversely, the seller could see tax advantages when you accept payments over time rather than in one lump sum. Plus, again, the seller is guaranteed full payment.
This program also offers interest-only or deferred payments, and even offers the buyer the option of financing the down payment for up to 7 years, if you qualify.
Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) Feeder Cattle Loan Guarantee Program
By partnering with local Feeder Cattle Cooperatives throughout Ontario, the Feeder Cattle Loan Guarantee Program offers you access to up to $500,000 to buy feeder cattle when you need to by giving your lender a loan guarantee.
The ministry gives each regional cooperative a different total loan limit they can guarantee per year, so if you’re curious, check out the regional limit in your area.
To apply for a loan guarantee for this program, contact your local cooperative’s administrator. You’ll be asked to become a member of the cooperative (there is a membership fee attached plus a few more administrative fees) and then to apply for a purchase order. Once you’ve made it through those steps, then you can purchase your cattle.
Best Tax Credits for Farmers
AAFC Livestock Tax Deferral Provision
The Livestock Tax Deferral provision allows farmers who sell part of their breeding herd due to drought or flooding in prescribed drought or flood regions to defer a portion of sale proceeds to the following year. To defer income, the breeding herd must have been reduced by at least 15%.
Ontario Ministry of Finance – Community Food Program Donation Tax Credit for Farmers
The Community Food Program Donation Tax Credit for Farmers is a non-refundable income tax credit for farmers who donate agricultural products to eligible community food programs in Ontario, including food banks. The credit is worth 25% of the fair market value of the agricultural products donated and can be claimed for donations made on or after January 1, 2014.
Best Non-Profit Grants for Farmers
Indian Agricultural Program of Ontario (IAPO) – Beginning Farmer Program
The Beginning Farmer Program (BFP) is a multiyear program designed to support new beginning First Nations farmers between the ages of 16 and 40 through all stage of farm business start-up. BFP supports the creation, development, and investment in the new farm businesses. The program has two distinct areas of focus:
Best Non-Profit Loans for Farmers
Agricultural Credit Corporation Commodity Loan Program
Could you use a short-term loan to buy operating supplies such as seed, fertilizer, or pesticides? Look no further! This program is administered by the Agricultural Credit Corporation to lend you what you need for your next crop, up to $750,000. And the best part is you only pay an interest rate of prime on the loan
Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) – Ontario Beef Breeder Co-operative Program
As part of the Beef Breeder Co-operative Program, eight co-ops have been formed in various regions of the province to provide members with loans to purchase beef breeding females. Funding ranges from $50,000 to $150,000, depending on co-op. Those who have not calved out 20 cows in previous year, are limited to a maximum of $25,000.
Indian Agricultural Program of Ontario (IAPO) First Nations Farm and Business Financing
IAPO’s First Nations Farm and Business Financing offers financing products to serve the needs of First Nation agriculture. Loans are available for farms, agricultural related businesses as well as value added enterprises.
There are four types of loans: term loans (available for machinery, livestock, buildings, farm improvements and land); 0perating credit (lines of credit loans are available for input costs such as seed, feed, and fertilizer); tile drainage loans (for installing tile and drains on agricultural land); and HerdBuilder loans (cashflow for expanding beef herds).
The Bottom Line
Here’s what it all boils down to: agricultural producers of all sorts are the backbone of this country. And the sheer number of financial incentive programs available at the federal and provincial levels reflect that.
Most of the programs take a fair amount of work to apply for with all the supporting documents required, but in this industry, you’re no stranger to hard work. Besides, once you’ve created and put together all the required documents for one program, you can always use most of those same documents to apply to other programs.
Get all the money you need and are entitled to. You’ll find there’s more money out there for you than you thought!