Ontario Cultivating the Agri-Food Sector in the North

Posted on February 13, 2024

SUDBURY – The Ontario government is providing more than $3 million through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) to six agri-food projects in the North. This investment will boost local food production, create jobs and stimulate expansion and diversification in the northern agri-food sector.

Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development, made the announcement today at the Northern Ontario Agriculture Conference.

“Our government continues to strengthen the Northern agri-food industry with targeted investments that enhance community prosperity and expand access to quality locally produced food,” said Minister Rickford. “The NOHFC was modernized by our government so more businesses and organizations can apply for funding to support projects that boost sustainable crop production and economic growth here in the North.”

Funded NOHFC projects include:

  • $1,000,000 for the Northern Ontario Farm Innovation Alliance (NOFIA) to administer a tile drainage project over 1,991 acres in the Timiskaming and Cochrane Districts, benefitting a consortium of 18 producers
  • $828,000 for LaCloche Manitoulin Business Assistance Corporation (LAMBAC) to administer a tile drainage project over 1,380 acres in the Manitoulin Island region, benefitting a consortium of 24 producers
  • $493,800 for the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre to administer a tile drainage project over 823 acres in the Algoma and Manitoulin Districts, benefitting a consortium of eight producers
  • $481,200 for West Nipissing East Sudbury Agricultural Support Projects Inc. to administer a tile drainage project over 802 acres in the of Nipissing, Sudbury and Parry Sound Districts, benefitting a consortium of seven producers
  • $221,148 for Reliable Elevators Corp. to acquire three trucks and two grain-hauling trailers to support the growing demand for higher haulage volumes of crop production in Northern Ontario
  • $50,000 for Henwood Tree Farm to provide a cut-your-own tree experience with a rotation of local Christmas tree species

“Over the last few years, we’ve seen the North make great strides to leverage its abundance in the agriculture and food industry,” said Lisa Thompson, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs. “These investments will only strengthen production in Northern Ontario, and the projects we are celebrating today gives me a distinct sense of confidence about the future of the entire agriculture and food sector throughout the province – particularly as we look to reach the goals set out in the Grow Ontario Strategy.”

The NOHFC promotes economic prosperity across Northern Ontario by providing financial assistance to projects—big and small, rural and urban—that stimulate growth, job creation and skills development. Since June 2018, the NOHFC has invested more than $759 million in 6,233 projects in Northern Ontario, leveraging more than $2.3 billion in investment and creating or sustaining over 9,595 jobs.

Quick Facts

  • The Ontario government launched new and improved NOHFC programs that support more projects in rural northern communities and make it easier for more people and businesses to apply. The programs target existing and emerging markets, provide more work opportunities for Indigenous people and address the skilled labour shortage in the North.
  • The 6th annual Northern Ontario Agriculture Conference is taking place February 12–13, 2024, at Science North in Sudbury.

Additional Resources

  • The NOHFC’s Invest North Program boosts economic growth and attracts more investment by supporting business development, expansion and innovation.


“NOFIA appreciates the NOHFC's continued support for agricultural development. Agriculture in Northern Ontario supports over 7,835 jobs and contributes over $522 million in GDP to the provincial economy. Farm cash receipts have grown over the past 15 years from $182 million in 2006 to $238 million in 2021.The investments made through programs such as NOHFC’s Invest North and the Regional Tile Drainage Initiative have played a key role in the growth seen in the sector across Northern Ontario.” – Yves Gauthier, President, NOFIA

“LAMBAC is thankful for the continued support from the Ministry of Northern Development through the NOHFC for a tile drainage project to advance the agricultural opportunities in LaCloche Manitoulin. This project will see an additional 1,300 acres of farmland have improvements to soil aeration, increased crop productivity, reduced soil erosion, season extension and an overall increase in the value of the farmland impacted by this project.” – Carolyn Campbell, Executive Director, LAMBAC

“The Rural Agri-Innovation Network (RAIN) is committed to fostering innovation and growth in Algoma’s agri-food sector. This funding from the Government of Ontario for tile drainage infrastructure is critical for bolstering productivity and sustainability on Algoma farms.“ – David Thompson, RAIN Director, Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre

“Funding from the NOHFC will assist participants in growing a wider diversity of value added crops, increase yields, assure timely access to fields and provide a level of protection against weather events brought on by climate change. The NOHFC tiling program is changing the face of agriculture in our region and is encouraging investment in elevators, grain drying facilities, equipment purchase, trucking and crop inputs.” –Michel Champagne, General Manager, West Nipissing East Sudbury Agricultural Support Projects Inc.

"We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the NOHFC for the financial contribution to the construction of the barn at Henwood Tree Farm. The support has been instrumental in bringing our vision to life and creating a vital space for our operations. The impact of your investment will not only be felt by our family, but by the community we serve, especially during the holiday season. Thank you for being a key partner in our endeavor." – Isabelle Allen, General Manager, Henwood Tree Farm

Media Contacts

Curtis Lindsay, Minister’s Office 437-240-7317 curtis.lindsay@ontario.ca

Media Desk, Communications Branch mediadesk.ndm@ontario.ca