2016 Agriculture & Food Symposium

Tools for Resilience

The third annual RAIN Agriculture & Food Symposium will be held at the Bruce Station Community Hall Friday, February 5th and Saturday, February 6th, 2016.

This year’s symposium will focus on three distinct areas related to longevity and resilience on and within your farm:

– Succession Planning and budgeting with Len Davies
– Testing Feasibility of New Products: Malted Barley with Michigan State University’s (MSU) Ashley McFarland
– Season Extension Techniques and Technologies with MSU’s Collin Thompson



About our speakers:

Len Davies:

Len has 50+ years’ experience in the agricultural sector, with his youth having been spent working on the family dairy farm in Wellington County until purchasing his own farm in Kent County in 1980 where he has been a cash crop farmer ever since. Following his graduation from the University of Guelph, he began his Agribusiness career with the Shur-Gain division of Maple Leaf Foods. He then went on to work as a Research Analyst with the Economics Branch of OMAFRA, and Field Operations Management with AGRICORP. His practical knowledge and expertise go beyond traditional methods to include innovative and sustainable strategies for all types of farm operations. He fully understands the needs of farmers and is able to convey this to farm families throughout Ontario. Len is an advisor registered with the Farm Management Canada and an instructor for Farm Credit Canada’s AgriSuccess workshops. Len us a graduate of SuccessCare and has certificates in risk management, estate planning and financial planning. Len has been sure to keep his expertise on the cutting edge as he most recently graduated from the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School for Family Business as a Family Business Enterprise Planner where he learned unique methods and approaches in dealing with family business enterprises.

Ashley McFarland:

Ashley McFarland is the Director of the MSU Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center, which serves as the hub for malting barley research, education and outreach in Michigan. McFarland is also a Community Food System Educator within MSU Extension, focusing primarily on integrating traditional field crops into the local food system. Ashley is active with the Craft Maltsters Guild and serves as a regional representative to the National Barley Improvement Committee.

Collin Thompson:

Collin Thompson is the Farm Manager of The North Farm, part of the MSU Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center, which focuses on education and research related to northern climate vegetable production. He is also a Program Instructor for MSU Extension, offering workshops and training on topics related to sustainable agricultural practices. His background is in four season organic vegetable production, with an emphasis in season extension techniques and technologies.



Friday Feb 5th – 7:00pm

  • Len Davies, Farm Succession, Estate and Retirement Planning

Saturday Feb 6th

8:30am – Registration and light breakfast


  • Len Davies, Farm Budgeting & Financial Ratios

Break 10:30 am

  • Len Davies, Farm Budgeting & Financial Ratios
  • BDO Canada, Farm Tax Changes in 2016

Lunch 11:45 – 12:30


  • Ashley McFarland, Malted Barley and Malting Opportunities
  • Collin Thompson, Season Extension Techniques and Technologies – Four season vegetable production, high tunnels (hoop houses) and storage
  • RAIN update on 2016 research opportunities and programs

Adjourn 3 pm



Friday evening (includes refreshments): $10.00
Saturday (all day – includes light breakfast, lunch, and refreshments): $15.00
Both days: $20.00

Catered by Red Door Catering.

Thanks to our Symposium sponsors:

Agri-Food Management Institute


BDO Canada


Tickets and passes will be available at the door: please pay at the venue. Cash only.

Please RSVP by January 31st for food numbers to:
David Thompson, RAIN
705-942-7927 x3027

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