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 need to purchase supplies or equipment, buildings or land, you have an innovative idea that could revolutionize the industry, you want to upgrade to renewable resources, or you want improve your risk management strategy, this list has you covered.
Many of these programs are even “stackable”, so take a look through and see how much funding you can access.
Incentives Available Across Canada
Many of the funding programs aimed specifically at the agriculture and agri-food industry are offered by the federal government and are available to farmers, ranchers, and fishermen. And better yet, many of them are grant programs.
There’s a bunch here to choose from, so apply to as many as you can because why use your own money when you can use the government’s? 😉
Federal Farm Grants
The Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) program has a fantastic 8 grant programs available for farmers to partake in. They cover an array of needs and purposes, from clean tech to innovation, so take a look and see what you can make work for you.
Before you apply to any of them, however, make sure you give them a call at 1-877-246-4682 because they’re all incredibly popular.
For nonprofits whose goal is to increase and diversify exports for the agricultural community at large or take control of market opportunities at home, this one’s for you.
Provided you don’t operate for profit and can put up 50% of the necessary cost for the marketing project, you could get up to $10 million over 5 years ($2.5 million/year) in funding.
All you have to do is download and fill out the application form and submit it online with these supporting documents:
- 1the Signature of Applicant Authorized Representative form
- 2a copy of your Certificate of Incorporation or Articles of Incorporation
- 3financial statements for the last 2 years
- 4project endorsement letters/letters of support (if available, not a requirement)
- 5the National Industry Association Component Questionnaire
- 6your Membership Listing
This one’s for agricultural SMEs who now want to start exporting their products or services internationally, and it too is only taking applications until September 30, 2022.
You could find yourself with between $15,000 and $75,000 to cover up to 75% of your project costs as long as the project you submit calls for expenses between $20,000 and $100,000.
Of course, you also need to meet these criteria:
- 1be for-profit
- 2be an incorporated legal entity or a limited liability partnership
- 3have a CRA business number (unless Indigenous-owned or led)
- 4employ no more than 500 full-time equivalent employees
- 5declare between $100K and $100 million in annual revenue in Canada in the last year
Easy enough, right? So just apply online after downloading and filling out the application form. And remember to submit your Signature of Applicant Authorized Representative, Certificates or Articles of Incorporation, Consent for Use, Disclosure and Copyright, and AgriAssurance Program: SME questionnaire with your application form.
Switching gears back to nonprofit associations, this program will give your organization up to $5 million over 5 years to support your project if it’s aimed at helping the industry itself develop or adopt new systems, standards, or tools that will aid Canadian agricultural health and safety claims.
However, to qualify, you should be able front at least 25% of the project costs yourself and be an association, cooperative, Indigenous group, club, or society in the agriculture, agri-food, and agri-based products sector able to enter into legal agreements.
Applications stop being accepted for this program too on September 30, 2022, so apply online with your supporting documents after you download and fill out the application form. These are the supporting documents you’ll need to include:
- 1Signature of Applicant Authorized Representative
- 2Certificates or Articles of Incorporation
- 3the last 2 years’ financial statements (optional)
- 4project endorsement letters/letters of support
- 5Consent for Use, Disclosure and Copyright
- 6documents to demonstrate market relevance
- 7information supporting strategic importance of proposal
- 8a project team description
- 9an executive summary
- 10capital asset pre-approval for grants and contributions programs, if applicable
- 11an implementation plan
And here’s one for both nonprofit and for-profit organizations.
If you have a project that supports the research, development, and adoption of clean tech in agriculture, then this is one you need to jump on.
If you do, you could get up to 50% of your project costs covered, up to $5 million/project. As usual though, you will have to put forward 50% of the costs yourself.
And better yet, if your project would benefit the Territories, Northern communities, Indigenous people, or other underrepresented groups, you could even get up to 75% of project costs covered.
This program closes in almost a year on March 31, 2021, so act quickly. It’s so easy to qualify you have no reason not to! Your organization can take any shape as long as you’re not a federal government group, so contact Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to get an application package either by email or by phone at 1-877-246-4682.
Then all you have to do is submit your package online and make sure you have all the supporting documents they ask you for. Email them your questions after you read the applicant guide, or call them at 1-877-246-4682.
It can be difficult, financially, sometimes for a nonprofit to continue to adapt to changing environments, offer mentorship, expand, improve safety, and more without a little help.
That’s why CAP created this funding program that closes September 30, 2022, so agricultural nonprofits can ensure their sector can remain competitive.
As long as you can provide 50% of project costs yourself, you could get up to $1 million/year or $5 million over 5 years. However, if your project is a national fair to spread awareness, you’ll only get up to $100,000/year or $500,000 over 5 years.
All nonprofit or Indigenous groups in this sector that can enter into legally binding agreements qualify, so download and fill out the application form and submit it online with your supporting documents to apply. Here’s all the documents you’ll need to send in:
- 1an executive summary
- 2Signature of Applicant Authorized Representative
- 3a Consent for Use, Disclosure and Copyright
- 4your Certificates or Articles of Incorporation
- 5your last 2 years’ financial statements
- 6project endorsement letters/letters of support, if applicable
- 7capital asset pre-approval for grants and contributions programs, if applicable
This last grant program from CAP is designed to help you with your agricultural research projects. Research and development can be terribly expensive, and yet it’s integral to industry improvement and advancement.
Get up to $5 million over 5 years when you qualify for this program. You can apply for multiple projects, but your total funding can still come to no more than $10 million/year.
You’ll also have to put up 50% of project costs yourself if you’re a for-profit organization but only 30% if you’re a nonprofit.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has made 3 programs available designed to help farmer with risk management strategies: the Administrative Capacity Building Stream, the Research and Development Contribution Funding Stream, and Microgrants Funding. Each of these programs is aimed at buffering farmers from such issues as disease and severe market fluctuations.
The first program will help you put administrative systems in place that will directly result in delivering your new risk management tools. This includes things like office space, IT, communications, advertising, seed funding, and more.
The research and development stream offers to help fund exactly what it says it does: activities aimed at research and development such as data collection, data analysis, data modelling, and more.
The microgrant stream covers funding to be used for academic research to develop or improve risk management tools or practices.
The administrative and research and development streams simply require you to fill out a project summary (administrative and research and development), and if your project is eligible, you will be invited to submit a full application.
The microgrant program requires to contact Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to request an application form, which you will then send via email along with your Certificate or Articles of Incorporation.
For questions or more information about any of these programs, call 1-877-246-4682, send them an email, or check out each of the applicant guides: administrative, research and development, and microgrants.
Use this 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.
Whether you’re a nonprofit group representing the dairy processing industry or a for-profit dairy processing organization, including cheese making, you could qualify for this dual grant program.
You could get up to $250,000 to employ the services of a private technical, managerial, or business expert to improve the efficiency and success of your company under the Access to Expertise portion of the program.
Alternatively, the government could give you up to $10 million for capital investments such as equipment, infrastructure, manufacturing improvements, construction, expansion, and more.
All you have to do to get your share of the money you need is to download the project summary, fill it out, and email it with your supporting documents Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. They’ll send you a complete application package from there.
While the list of supporting documents is lengthy, it’s worth your while to tackle it because you’ll get far more out of the program than you put in! So, here’s your list of supporting documents to email along with your project summary:
- 1business plan (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada template)
- 2copies of all financing agreements related to the project
- 3documentation of costs detailed in the project budget, such as quotes, estimates, or contracts
- 4financial statements for the past 3 years
- 5project work plan (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada template)
- 6project budget (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada template)
- 7project financing plan (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada template)
- 8project performance information (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada template)
- 9pro forma financial statements for 3 years after project completion (Capital Investment Project only)
If you’re interested in this program, make sure you can complete your project before March 31, 2021, because the program closes then, and any costs you incur after that date will be yours to carry.
If you need some help during the application process or have questions before you begin, check out the applicant guide first, and if that doesn’t help, contact the program via email or phone at 1-877-246-4682.
And if email fails for some reason, you can also mail your application package.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Dairy Processing Investment Fund
1341 Baseline Road
Tower 7, 8th Floor, Room 223
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0C5
Now for a different funding program. This one is a self-managed, producer/government savings account designed to help farmers weather speedbumps in the market.
Every year, farmers can deposit up to 100% of their allowable net sales from their tax return into this account, and the federal government will match 1% (up to $10,000) of that.
Your savings account will grow faster than ordinary savings accounts with the contribution of the government plus the interest, so take advantage of this one.
All you have to do is be a farmer in Canada and file a tax return. Then just fill out and file an AgriInvest form with Agricorp by September 30 for the program year. You can also file up until December 31, but there is a 5%/month matching contribution penalty if you do that.
Call Agricorp at 1-877-899-2372 with questions or for more information.
Federal Farm Loan Programs
For-profit organizations that have a project that will improve the competitiveness and sustainability of the agricultural sector could qualify for this loan program that will cover 50% of project costs.
How you cover this portion doesn’t matter as long as your total funding from any Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada funding program totals less than $10 million and your total funding from any government source doesn’t exceed 75% of project costs.
Your first step to applying is to complete the AgriInnovate Pre-Screening Form and submit it online. Once that’s been accepted, you can send in a full application, complete with the application form and all supporting documents within 30 business days.
Double-check this list before you send you application package in because it’s quite a long list:
- 1the application form
- 2Signature of Applicant Authorized Representative form
- 3Consent to Disclose/Copyright form
- 4completed business plan
- 5organizational chart
- 6diagram of your corporate structure
- 7audited or reviewed engagement financial statements for the past 3 years
- 8pro forma financial statements
- 9signed copies of all financing agreements related to the project financing plan
- 10market research studies and/or letters of support
- 11your Certificate or Articles of Incorporation
- 12performance measures table
- 13quotes, estimates, and/or contracts
- 14copies of all regulatory permits and/or patents required to undertake the project
- 15copy of any intercompany or other agreements impacting the proposed project
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.
To learn more about this program, send an email or call 1-866-367-8506.
This program could be for you if you’ve decided it’s time to reduce the impact your business has on the environment and you currently operate in any of the fish and seafood sectors.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada wants to help you adopt clean technology and practices, so they’ll give you money to help you achieve that. You could qualify regardless of whether your organization is a for-profit enterprise or nonprofit representing the industry.
If you fit that description, the only other thing you need to qualify is to prove you have at least 10% of the funding you need to achieve the switch to clean tech and processes coming from a provincial or territorial government.
Once you have that, this program will finance up to 90% of your project costs. Just apply by contacting your regional program coordinator via email and then emailing them your completed application form along with a project proposal, using their template, proof of provincial or territorial funding, and 2 years of unaudited financial statements.
You can also get in touch with your regional program coordinator should you have any questions.
FCC has your back if you’re a Canadian farmer. They’ve got financing programs for everything: livestock, equipment, land, buildings, you name it. Read on to find which programs suit your needs best.
This loan program is divided into 2 parts: the Young Farmer Loan and the Starter Loan. The best part is you don’t have to be really young to qualify for financing.
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.
Just call 1-888-332-3301 or visit your local field office to apply or learn more.
Use an FCC credit line to your advantage for buying those everyday necessities like seed and fertilizer or to pay for those bigger investments without worrying about where you’ll get the money from or paying a pocketful of interest with this one.
This too is split into 2 programs: the Credit Line and the Advancer Loan. You can use their basic credit line for smaller operating expenses and get immediate access to your money. Plus, you’ll find you have less paperwork than elsewhere, and you can choose interest-only payments if you need to.
The Advancer Loan can help you with the larger purchases. Finance new land or buildings or other assets with smaller payments than traditional lenders will offer, and you’ll also enjoy interest-only payments if you need it.
Livestock is costly but integral to your business, and now it’s a little more affordable with a couple different financing options.
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.
And to work with a Livestock Alliance Partner, check out this list of partners.
Use this FCC 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.
Call 1-800-510-6669 for this one too and get pre-approved before you go out and try to lease something only to find out you can’t, or the terms elsewhere are outrageous.
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 even 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.
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 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.
What are you waiting for? All you have to do is send an email or call 1-888-332-3301 to expand your farm.
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 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.
Go ahead and get in touch with an FCC representative via email or phone at 1-888-332-3301 and see what you can make happen.
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 Canada’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.
If you’d like more information, check out their FAQ page.
Federal Farm Tax Deferrals
If you’ve had to sell at least 15% of your breeding herd because of drought or flooding in your area, the government of Canada allows you to defer part of the proceeds of that sale to the following year.
In addition, if you had to sell more than 15% but less than 30% of your herd, you can defer 30% of the proceeds, but if you had to sell more than 30%, you can defer 90% of the proceeds.
To qualify for this program, you must be in a prescribed area. For example, 2019’s prescribed areas are now up, as are previous years to 2007. New areas are regularly added to the website, so if you’ve been affected, keep checking.
If you are in a prescribed area, you can either contact the CRA (but why would you put yourself through that?) or check out T4002 Self-employed Business, Professional, Commission, Farming, and Fishing Income, Chapter 2 Income to determine your next steps. The Livestock Tax Deferral information is detailed in Line 9470: Livestock and animal products revenue.
Incentives Available in Ontario
And just when you thought we were done, we’ve thrown in funding programs available only to Ontario residents. This is incredibly useful since many funding programs allow you to stack funding from different levels of government.
So whatever financial need your agricultural business is facing at the moment, you’re sure to find something else here to help you out.
Grants for Ontario Farmers
If you’ve got a short-term project that will help Ontario’s agricultural sector grow, expand, and advance, look into this funding program that could cover all your project costs.
But don’t get too excited. While they will consider funding an entire project, they do give preference to cost-shared projects, so keep that in mind.
Any organization can qualify, and the only other criteria are that you need to be able to enter into a legal agreement and tell them all your possible funding sources. That’s it.
If you’re interested in applying now, start by submitting a preproposal via email. If that’s accepted, you’ll be invited to submit a full proposal, also via email. Be prepared to include more details of the project in your full proposal, such a detailed project design, a rationale including the why of the project and its impact, your organizational capacity to complete the project, and a work plan, timelines, financial capacity, and budget.
Should you have questions before you’re ready to send in your preproposal, send them an email or give them a call at 1-877-424-1300.
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs has partnered with the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to create 2 grant programs to help the agricultural sector address the unique challenges it faces.
The first program is the Place to Grow Funding for Sectors, a cost-sharing program for projects aimed at three priority areas: economic development, environmental stewardship, and protection and assurance.
Economic development covers such categories as market development,
technology solutions, addressing labour supply, and training challenges. Environmental stewardship refers to soil health and water safety, and protection and assurance includes food safety and traceability, animal health, and plant health.
This is a funding program designed for partnerships at arm’s length, though nonprofits that aren’t government or educational institutions can still qualify as a sole applicant. If this fits your group, you could get funding of up to $100,000 or 50% of your project costs. However, if you have an exceptional project and it requires up to 75% of costs covered to be completed successfully, this program will consider that much funding.
To apply, the lead applicant must fill out the application form and email it to the program along with the supporting documents, which will include quotes and estimates, your project plan, and anything that supports the need for the project.
This program will be open from September 8 to September 29, 2020, but your project must be completed by September 30, 2022, or the remaining costs will be yours to shoulder.
The second funding program is the Place to Grow Strategic Solutions. All organizations can qualify for this one as long as you have an innovative project that could advance the agricultural sector in some way. However, again, partners are preferred.
You could get 75% of your project costs covered under this portion of the Place to Grow program, from a minimum of $250,000 to a maximum of $1 million, though only $500,000 can go toward capital costs. You could even stack this funding with other government funding, as long as the total funding coming from any government level reaches no more than 85% of project costs. If you take advantage of this, make sure you list all your funding sources in your application.
To qualify though, you’ll have to prove you can sustain your cash flow throughout the entirety of your project because you’ll only receive the funds as a reimbursement rather than upfront.
To apply for this one, the lead applicant will first send in a pre-proposal. If that’s accepted by the program, you’ll be invited to apply, so you will be sent an application form that you’ll submit via email along with a Partner Declaration form, your (the lead partner) CRA business number, a detailed project design, the anticipated impact, your capacity to deliver the project, a work plan, timelines, and your plan to transfer results to the sector.
If you apply for this one, the next intake will be from September 8 to September 29, 2020, and be aware that all projects must be completed no later than December 1, 2022.
Should you have questions or need more information about either program, call 1-877-424-1300.
Loan Programs for Ontario Farmers
By partnering with local Feeder Cattle Cooperatives throughout Ontario, the ministry is able to offer 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.
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.
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. You won’t find that anywhere else!
To find out more about how the program works or apply for a loan, call 1-888-278-8807. You can also check out their FAQs if you’re just curious and want to learn more first.
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!
Maurice (Moe) Muise learned the ins-and-outs of government while an employee of the Government of Canada in Ottawa for 10 years. His current focus is helping small businesses in Ontario to identify and maximize government grants to grow their business.
Click here to learn more about Moe’s background and how he can help your business.