Government invests more than $4.3M for northern Ontario drainage projects
By Stephanie Gordon
The Ontario government will invest more than $4.3 million CAD for five tile drainage projects across northeastern Ontario.
The announcement was made during the first day of the International Plowing Match and Rural Expo in Verner, ON, alongside a larger announcement that the province is investing more than $6.5 million in 20 agriculture projects in northern Ontario.
The investment will be split up among three organizations:
- More than $2.96 million for three Northern Ontario Farm Innovation Alliance (NOFIA) projects to install tile drainage on 5,948 acres, benefitting 47 producers across the north.
- $699,953 for Northeast Community Network to install tile drainage on 1,215 acres, benefitting four producers in northeastern Ontario.
- $680,400 for WNESASP Inc. to install tile drainage on 1,134 acres, benefitting a consortium of 12 producers in northeastern Ontario.
Tile drainage projects create more opportunities for economic growth in northern Ontario by increasing the amount of land available for farming and increasing the value of existing farm land.
As of 2017, land in northern Ontario was typically priced between $1,000 to $1,500 CAD per acre. These figures contrast land values south in the province that can range from $10,000 to $15,000 per acre, or more, and change depending on a variety of factors such as soil quality and proximity to urban areas.
In northern Ontario, there are approximately 2,800 farms currently operating on 700,000 acres producing beef, dairy, and to a lesser extent, cash crops. However, this only represents a fraction of the agricultural potential of northern Ontario. Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) reports that most districts in northern Ontario could increase the land they use by as much as 20 to 50 per cent by bringing idled private lands back into use.
In recent years, Ontario has invested more than $37 million in 41 tile drainage projects, representing 64,569 acres of northern Ontario farmland.