Funding to Support Research and Innovation in Ontario’s Vegetable Farming Sector

Funding to Support Research and Innovation in Ontario’s Vegetable Farming Sector

Governments fund expanded work at the Ontario Crops Research Centre – Bradford

June 29, 2021

Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

KING — The governments of Canada and Ontario are supporting agri-food innovation in the vegetable farming sector with an investment of $150,000 to drive new research at the Ontario Crops Research Centre – Bradford.

Details of today’s announcement were provided by Caroline Mulroney, MPP for York-Simcoe, and Ontario’s Minister for Transportation and for Francophone Affairs, and Helena Jaczek, Member of Parliament for Markham—Stouffville.

Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership), funding will support the installation of specialized lighting and climate control equipment for the greenhouse which is part of the research centre. A new weather station that automates the greenhouse’s climate control system was also installed as part of the investment. This new automated system will help create optimal growing conditions for greenhouse-started crops before they are transplanted to the field at the beginning of the outdoor growing season.

This infrastructure investment will increase research capabilities that will lead to more sustainable vegetable farming practices, helping farmers be more productive and competitive.

“Our Government is helping Ontario crop producers continue as world-leaders in agricultural and food production,” said Member of Parliament for Markham—Stouffville Helena Jaczek. “This research will help our producers mitigate damage caused by pests and weather so they can continue providing fresh vegetables to Canadians and people around the world.”

“This research centre in Bradford is an important resource for farmers in the Holland Marsh area and across the province. The knowledge generated through research conducted at this centre will lead farmers to be aware of and embrace the most advanced agriculture practices available,” said Lisa Thompson, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “Research projects such as these at Ontario Crops Research Centre – Bradford, provide necessary data about vegetable production in muck soils that contribute to innovations that strengthen the whole agri-food industry.”

“Our government is supporting Ontario’s farmers by making critical investments that will set up our agri-food sector for long-term success,” said Caroline Mulroney, MPP for York-Simcoe, and Ontario’s Minister for Transportation and for Francophone Affairs. “Backing research projects like this will encourage innovative farming in Ontario and provide the agri-food sector with the resources it need​s to reach new heights.”

These greenhouse upgrades will improve crop research capabilities at the Ontario Crops Research Centre in Bradford and benefit Ontario’s agricultural sector by:

  • Demonstrating how lighting, ventilation and climate controls in greenhouse-started vegetable growing can improve production rates and achieve efficiencies to reduce cost of production in vegetable farming in muck soils;
  • Contributing to knowledge of how to better manage pests that can damage high value vegetable crops; and
  • Increasing the sector’s understanding of how real-time weather data can be incorporated into crop production and modern greenhouse building controls to advance vegetable production transplants to the field.

“University of Guelph researchers remain continuously committed to working for producers to develop new, evidence-informed, farm-tested innovations to enhance on-farm production, drive economic prosperity, and improve the lives of our province’s tremendous food producers,” said Malcolm Campbell, Vice-President (Research), University of Guelph. “This investment in research infrastructure will support research that helps Ontario’s vegetable growers to remain at the forefront of a sustainable, safe, productive and nutritious food supply, now and in the future.”

This investment follows other recent efforts to enhance research in the sector such as $6.5 million in funding for 40 research projects through the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance and a $1.8 million intake, under the Partnership, to support project applications through the Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative. It also builds on other measures to support the agricultural sector and provincial economic recovery during COVID-19 such as a $7.5 million intake under the Partnership for projects to enhance operations and competitiveness on Ontario farms.

“This investment will help ensure Ontario maintains its competitive advantage and long-term sustainability in the research and innovation of agri-food and agri-products. By investing in research infrastructure today, we are all collectively ensuring tomorrow’s agri-food and agri-products innovations, which benefits all Ontarians” said Dr. Lorne Hepworth, Chair of the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario (ARIO).

Since June 2018, both the federal and provincial governments have committed cost-share support to more than 5,000 projects through the Partnership, to help eligible Ontario farmers, food processors, agri-food businesses and sector organizations innovate and grow.

Quick Facts

  • The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, $3 billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments. It will strengthen the agricultural and agri-food sector, ensuring continued innovation, growth and prosperity. This commitment includes $2 billion for programs that are cost-shared by the federal and provincial and territorial governments that are designed and delivered by provinces and territories.
  • Ontario Crops Research Centre – Bradford, previously known as the Muck Research Station because of its location within the rich organic matter soils of the Holland Marsh, was established in 1946. Research at the Station focuses on the vegetable crops grown in the region, especially onions, carrots, lettuce, celery and Asian vegetables, but includes a wide variety of other vegetables.
  • ARIO is an arms length corporation of the Province of Ontario that provides advice to the OMAFRA Minister on strategic directions for research activities that contribute to prosperous, competitive and sustainable agricultural and food sectors and rural communities in Ontario. Through the Government of Ontario, ARIO owns 17 research properties located across Ontario. These facilities provide the capacity for research on a wide variety of agri-food issues.
  • The Ontario agri-food sector supports more than 860,000 jobs in Ontario and contributes more than $47.3 billion each year to the province’s economy.

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