Farm tractor planting seeds in a field. (Photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / chas53)

Business Planning For Planting

There is a new tool for Ontario farmers who are thinking about growing a non-traditional crop.

Making a Case for Growing New Crops is an online learning resource recently developed by the Agri-Food Management Institute to help farmers engage in business planning before planting.

The resource was developed in partnership with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), who surveyed members earlier this year to gauge interest in growing new crops, as well as the best method of delivering information.

The online resources can be found at www.takeanewapproach.ca and features five interactive modules that users work through on their own schedule to develop a business case for diversifying their farm.

There are a series of videos and worksheets and users can determine whether the crop is an agronomic fit, identify customers and markets, analyze their cost of production and develop a budget.

Of the 402 farmers responding to the online survey about new crops – as part of the Making a Case for Growing News Crops project – about 20 per cent had tried a new crop in the past five years.

The main reasons farmers chose to trying something new included: changing markets and emerging opportunities (29 per cent), crop rotation and environmental benefits (24 per cent), and reducing overall risk through diversification (24 per cent).