Lavender Propagation Workshop – October 27 2014

The Ontario Lavender Association, the University of Guelph and OMAFRA are hosting a lavender propagation workshop titled “Tips and Tricks for Propagating Lavender Successfully”.

Where: Simcoe Research Station; 1283 Blueline Road, Simcoe ON N3Y 4K3
When: Monday, October 27, 2014
Time: 7:00 pm
Cost: $10 for OLA members, $20 for non-members

This hands-on workshop will cover how to collect cuttings from the field, preparing cuttings for planting, optimal rooting media, rooting hormones, and environmental conditions for optimal rooting.  It will also cover the best times of the year to propagate lavender and how to handle rooted cuttings over winter.

To register email Cathy Bartolic at

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New to Farming in Ontario? Here’s a place to start…

Are you a new farmer in Ontario?  We find many specialty crop growers are also new to farming and are looking for resources to help them navigate the world of agriculture in Ontario.  Did you know OMAFRA has a publication entitled Starting A Farm In Ontario (Publication 61)? This publication provides an introduction to new farmers on everything from buying a rural property to obtaining a Farm Business Registration Number and managing your farm operation.  Basics on crop and livestock production, business plans and record keeping are covered in this resource.  For more information and to order your copy of Starting A Farm In Ontario, please visit the OMAFRA Website or contact Service Ontario at 1.800.668.9938 .

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Ginseng Crop Update – October 3, 2014

Ginseng harvest is in full swing and tops are senescing rapidly at this time. For gardens not being harvested this year, it is important to consider one last protectant fungicide over the next few weeks before winter. Foliar diseases like Alternaria and Botrytis will have no impact on root development this late in the season. However, inoculum from this year can remain on dried ginseng stems and in the straw over the winter. These could start new infections in the spring. In addition, root diseases like Rhizoctonia and Cylindrocarpon can continue to develop and spread under the cool conditions of late fall and early spring. It is a good idea to apply a broad spectrum fungicide to control diseases on both the remaining stems and in the soil before winter. Continue reading

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Ginseng Pesticide and Research Prioritization Meeting – 2014

Ginseng growers, researchers and industry representatives are invited to attend the annual Ginseng Pesticide and Research Prioritization Meeting

Where: Simcoe Research Station Auditorium
When: Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Time: 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

This is an opportunity to discuss the production issues over the past year, establish research priorities for the coming year and to prioritize products for the minor use system. Jim Chaput, OMAFRA Minor Use Coordinator, will provide an update on products currently in the minor use system. As part of this meeting, upcoming changes to OMAFRA ginseng publications will also be discussed.

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Ontario-wide Farm Invention Challenge

Specialty crop growers may be interested in entering Farm & Food Care’s Farm Invention Challenge.

The competition has two main categories with a total of $9 000 in cash prizes.

Competition information as outlined on the Farm & Food Care Ontario website (as of 30 Sept 2014):

A. Animal Care
Large farm gadgets and gizmos – Whether it`s welding up a new attachment for your skid steer or designing a whole new feeding system, share with us your large scale farm innovations.
Small farm gadgets and gizmos – Have you ever fixed something with a rubber band or used a cotter pin in an unusual way? We want to hear about the simple fixes that have revolutionized animal care on your farm.
Farm hacks – Tell us how you have made simple changes around your barn to save time and headaches on your farm.

B. Water Efficiency & Quality
Water quality and nutrient management – What changes to equipment or practices have led to improved water quality and less nutrient runoff from farm lands? Share your ideas that help Ontario farmers better manage nutrients and minimize off-site impacts on surface and ground water quality.
Water use efficiency – Have you built a custom control system or use a different moisture sensor system to minimize overuse of water? Enter your equipment ideas or conservation practices that are working to improve the use of water around your farm.
Community/other – Tell us about your community organized or farm group projects that have helped to protect and/or improve water resources in your area.

$1,000 first prize in each category
$500 second prize in each category

All entries must be original by the participant.
The competition is open to all residents of Ontario.

For more information please visit the Farm & Food Care Ontario website at:

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Hop Sample Request for University of Guelph Research Project

Growing_Hops_Ontario_Logo_5 with shadingThe hop research trials being conducted by the University of Guelph (U of G) through the OMAFRA New Directions research program include funding to collect hop samples from farm sites across the province in order to develop Ontario baseline data of hop profiles (i.e. brewing values and essential oils) by cultivar.

The U of G research team is requesting any interested Ontario hop growers to submit samples this fall for testing.  Please note:

  • A total of 100 samples will be collected in 2014 on a first come, first served basis. Growers can submit up to a maximum of 10 samples per farm (sample submission via post or courier is paid for by the grower).
  • Minimum individual sample size for submission is 15 g (~1/2 oz.).
  • There is no cost for testing.
  • Growers will receive an individual report for the samples they submit. Due to the nature of the project, hop analysis and data compilation will be completed throughout the winter months and therefore growers should not expect a quick turnaround for their individual report.
  • The public research report will not identify growers directly but rather group analytical results in general categories for confidentiality.
  • A call for samples will also take place in the 2015 growing season in order to obtain a minimum of 2 years of data.

If you are interested in submitting samples for testing, please email Cathy Bakker (U of G) or Evan Elford (OMAFRA) for further instructions.

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Tax Credit for Farmers Who Donate Food

Ontario has a new Food Donation Tax Credit for Farmers who donate agricultural products to eligible community food programs, including food banks.

The tax credit, the only one of its kind in Canada, will give farmers a tax credit valued at 25 per cent of the fair market value of the agricultural products they donate.  Community food programs, like the Student Nutrition Program, may also benefit by receiving donations of more fresh local food for distribution to children and youth in schools across Ontario.

The tax credit and Local Food Act, 2013 are part of Ontario’s broader local food strategy to promote the good things that are grown and harvested across the province.

In order to get the credit:

  • You are an Ontario resident at the end of the year
  • You (or your spouse or common-law partner) carry on the business of farming in Ontario
  • You have donated agricultural products to an eligible community food program in Ontario on or after January 1, 2014
  • Corporations that carry on the business of farming in Ontario may also claim the credit on their 2014 corporation income tax return.

An eligible community food program that is:

  • Engaged in the distribution of food to the public without charge in Ontario (including as a food bank), and does so either to help relieve poverty or through a student nutrition program
  • Registered as a charity under the Income Tax Act (Canada).

What types of agricultural products are eligible?

Fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs or dairy products, fish, grains, pulses, herbs, honey, maple syrup, mushrooms, nuts, or anything else that is grown, raised or harvested on a farm and that may, in Ontario, legally be sold, distributed or offered for sale at a place other than the premises of its producer as food are all eligible. (Processed products, including pickles, preserves and sausages are not eligible).

How is the credit calculated?

It is calculated as twenty-five (25) per cent of the fair market value of the qualifying donations. Individuals can only claim donations for which they are also claiming an Ontario charitable donation tax credit. If the farmer is a corporation, the donation must also be claimed as a deduction for charitable donations.

Who can issue tax receipts to farmers?

Registered charities that distribute food to the public without charge in Ontario can issue receipts to farmers, just as they may issue receipts for any donations that they receive.  Receipts issued for donations of goods (rather than cash donations) should record the good or goods that were donated. Farmers should keep these receipts to ensure they have the required records to claim this credit.

How do I get the credit?

You can claim the credit on your personal income tax and benefit return or on your corporation income tax return. If you file your return electronically, you need to keep all your receipts and documents for six years. If you file a paper return, attach all official receipts for your qualifying donations to your paper return.

How do charities assess the fair market value for the food they are receiving?

Eligible community food programs should use the fair market value of the goods donated. The fair market value is usually the highest dollar value you can get for those goods in an open and unrestricted wholesale or retail market, as applicable, between a willing buyer and a willing seller who are acting independently of each other. The value should be based on the quantity and quality of the goods.

Canada Revenue Agency provides general guidelines on determining fair market value:

Generally, if the fair market value of the property is less than $1,000, a member of the registered charity, or another individual, with sufficient knowledge of the property may determine its value. The person who determines the fair market value of the item should be competent and qualified to evaluate the particular property being donated.  For more details about the tax credit visit:

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