Announcing Next Generation North

RAIN Launches New Program for Increased Success of Farm and Food Businesses

Starting this Fall, the Rural Agri-Innovation Network (RAIN) has initiated a one-year program for farm and food businesses that are undergoing succession from one generation to the next or are starting a new farm or food venture. This program aims to increase the financial and planning abilities of successors and start-ups to gain skills needed to run more profitable farm and food businesses.

David Thompson, RAIN Project Coordinator states “limited succession planning and barriers to entry are obstacles to growing the agri-food sector. Through this program, we will be take businesses through a number of proactive activities and workshops that strive towards more resilient food and farm businesses.”

Dollars and Sense Report Reveals Top Seven Habits of Canada’s Best Farmers

In 2016, the Agri-Food Management Institute (AMI) released the “Dollars and Sense Study” completed by Ipsos Ag and Animal Health. The study highlights how business management activities were identified as key drivers that are playing a role in driving financial success among the most successful Canadian farms. Across 604 farms of all types and sizes and farmers of all ages across Canada in all sectors, the study revealed top seven habits of Canada’s best farmers:

  1. Continuous learning was identified as the most significant driver of farm financial success
  2. Using accurate financial data in business decision-making
  3. Seeking the help of business advisors or consultants
  4. Having a formal business plan
  5. Knowing and monitoring cost of production
  6. Assessing and managing risk
  7. Using budgets and financial plans

To read the whole study, visit AMI’s website:

It is precisely these skill-sets that RAIN wants to increase through the Next Generation North program.

Program Topics and Format

Next Generation North will consist of a series of workshops with advisor support that will lead participants through a number of topics, including:

  • Creating a business plan
  • Generating and understanding financial data
  • Transitioning from farm producer to processing
  • Assessing market feasibility and effective sales techniques for agriculture & food products
  • Strategic partnerships and co-operative structures
  • Funding programs for agriculture projects
  • Farm tax issues

There will also be a number of special workshops on grazing management, season extension technologies, robot milking and a focused two-day workshop on adding value to agriculture products.

Workshops will be announced on the RAIN website; sign up to the RAIN newsletter to make sure you receive workshop information.

Confirmed Workshop

Transition Smart: Producer to Processor
Feb 24th & Feb 25th Bruce Mines Community Hall

An introduction to transitioning into processing on-farm, the aim of this workshop is to improve farmers’ understanding of market positioning, best practices in food processing, regulations and risks in processing start-ups, and ongoing labour and operational considerations.

Program Info Sessions in November

There will be three sessions for businesses to get signed up and to give feedback on the programs objectives and learning opportunities. These sessions will serve as an introduction and there will be an in-take of businesses into the program. If you wish to participate in the Next Generation North program, it is advisable to attend one of the following three information sessions:

Program Info Session #1
Wednesday November 23rd
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Bruce Station, Bruce Station Hall
Program Info Session #2
Thursday November 24th
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
MacLennan Hall, Tarbutt Township
Program Info Session #3
Saturday November 26th
3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sault Ste. Marie, Mill Market

These sessions will also cover information about the Sustainable New Agri-Food Products & Productivity Program (

Please RSVP for attending one of the sessions by contacting: Melissa Watson or 705-942-7927 x3135.

If you are interested in participating in the program, but cannot attend one of the sessions, please contact David Thompson or 705-942-7927 x3027 for more information and to receive an in-take package.


This project was funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agriculture Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2 in Ontario.

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