Building Manitoulin’s Ag-Infrastructure

The Rural Agri-Innovation Network (RAIN) will be hosting an information session on Tuesday July 29th, 7 p.m. at the Spring Bay Community Centre (92 Hwy 542, Spring Bay) on Manitoulin Island. With two new funding programs announced to assist Northern farmers with tile drainage projects and developing new products, RAIN is excited about developing farm infrastructure in Algoma and Manitoulin. Speakers David Thompson and Katie Filion from the RAIN will be presenting on exciting initiatives to benefit Manitoulin’s agricultural sector.

Just recently, RAIN was approved to administer a Regional Tile Drainage program for Algoma/West Sudbury Districts through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corp. and will be working with contractors to undertake tile drainage projects in 2014. RAIN is now pursuing the development of a Manitoulin Island consortia for tile drainage projects, and the information session on July 29th will share the team’s progress as well as highlight benefits of tile drainage. In addition, RAIN also wants to concentrate on prospects for developing on-farm storage and centralized storage for crops.

Another program RAIN is pursuing with regional partners (Eat Local Sudbury, Northeast Community Network and Clover Valley Farmers’ Market) and FedNor / Industry Canada is the Sustainable New Agri-Food Products (SNAP) Program, a pilot for Northern agri-food businesses and farmers that will provide up to $5,000 (at 80% cost-share) toward the purchase of equipment that would result in the creation of a food or agriculture product new to the business. RAIN will share the process in applying for SNAP funding and will be able to assist farmers that are interested in applying before the program deadline of September 1, 2014.

The session will highlight current research that RAIN is undertaking on developing markets for local food and the Pasture Improvement Demonstration & Assessment Project on intensive rotational grazing. In addition, RAIN hopes to improve collaboration and communication between the District’s farmers and organizations.

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