Ont. farm management resource gets funding

Ontario’s Agricultural Management Institute (AMI) will use federal and provincial funds to encourage farmers to consider new approaches to their business management.

The AMI, which already gets provincial and federal funding to help support farm business management projects, will get $3 million through the federal/provincial Growing Forward ag funding policy framework for its “Take A New Approach” campaign.

The AMI “provides a much-needed resource for farmers looking for ways to be more profitable and innovative,” federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said in a release Friday. “Sound business management is an important part of farming.”

“By championing the development and implementation of beneficial management practices, the (AMI) continues to play an important role in helping Ontario producers remain innovative and competitive,” provincial Ag Minister Carol Mitchell said in the same release.

The AMI, on its website, notes that “the majority of farms in Ontario don’t have a written business plan, although many say they have one in their head.”

Some farmers, the institute said, don’t see the benefits of a plan and others “simply don’t know where to begin. Some even admit they worry if they had a plan they’d have to live up to it. The truth is business plans are important tools to help you build a prosperous future for your farm and your family.”

Among the specific examples on its website, AMI noted its support for a training program for Ontario grape growers on a computer-based traceability and record management system, Vitis.

“The Vitis system keeps our farm records at our fingertips,” said Doug Hernder, a Niagara-on-the-Lake grape grower and one of the featured producers in the AMI campaign. “It allows us to determine where we are profitable and helps to pinpoint any trouble blocks in our vineyard.”

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