The Ontario government is making investments into the future of agriculture in the Rainy River District.
During a stopover in the area on June 10, Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford made two funding announcements that will directly benefit agriculture producers in the area. The total amount of the funding comes to nearly $1.1-million.
Rickford first announced that the Rainy River Future Development Corporation will be receiving $1-million to begin a two-year tile drainage program for the Rainy River District.
Tile drainage involves placing pipes or tubes –originally made from clay tiles, hence the name– in order to reduce the amount of water in the soil and increase its viability for growing cops.
Many farms in the district have implemented and installed tile drainage, and Rickford noted that the current COVID-19 pandemic has only heightened the importance of the agriculture sector.
“Farmers feed cities, and when people are at home the intensification and demand for agricultural products couldn’t be higher, so we have to support farming,” he said.
“There is a lot of good aerable land here across the Rainy River District. We’ve always known it and the key to developing that land responsibly is through tile drainage.”
Rickford also sits as the chair of the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) and he said that tile drainage programs in northeastern Ontario in places such as Temiskaming and Cochrane have increased the importance of the region when it comes to agriculture in the province, and he feels that the Rainy River District can be similar.
“We want to make Fort Frances, Rainy River District the same thing,” he said.
“There’s no reason why [it isn’t], and so we’re going to intensify those investments, today up to $1-million in tile drainage, and it’s just going to continue. We want farmers out here to have a say in how agriculture in Ontario is run and we’ll do everything we can to support them.”
The second announcement Rickford made during his stop in Pinewood was just under $100,000 for an area farming business. Brielmann Agriculture Ltd./ received $96,758 in order to build new storage facilities and purchase new equipment, according to a release from Rickford’s office. The investment is intended to create new jobs and increase revenue to the region by allowing easier export of local agriculture products like soybeans and canola to other parts of the province and country.
“The agricultural industry is a key economic driver and significant job creator in many northern communities,” Rickford said.
“Our investments in the agri-food sector are helping businesses expand operations and increase revenues.”
“We’re supporting a local farmer by buying some more modern tractor equipment,” he continued.
“We’ve done that in the past. It’s helping their production capacity and I’m committed to making sure that when it comes to agriculture in Ontario, Fort Frances-Rainy River district has the potential to lead the way.”
According to the provincial government, the NOHFC has invested more than $176 million in 1,224 projects in Northern Ontario since June 2018, which has in turn leveraged more than $650 million in investment and created or retained 3,559 jobs.