Progress:  Current

     Northern Ontario has an abundance of viable agricultural land, however, much of this land is under-utilized, with fallow fields and in some instances, decaying infrastructure. There is significant potential for the expansion of agriculture within the Clay Belt but this expansion is dependent on existing farmers, as well as new and young farmers. This research identified the economic and social barriers associated with agriculture in the north and sought to understand how these barriers impacted youth retention, farm creation and farm expansion. While this research focused on the Highway 11 corridor between Cochrane and Hearst, the barriers and best practices are broadly applicable across northern Ontario.

Ten strategies the province can utilize to develop, support and enhance the livestock sector in the Clay Belt.

Ten strategies municipalities in the Clay Belt can utilize to develop, support and enhance the livestock sector.

Ten strategies farmers in the Clay Belt can utilize to develop, support, and enhance the livestock sector.

Through the study Understanding the Barriers to Livestock Production in the Clay Belt: An Economic, Social and Environmental Analysis, it has become evident that many of the barriers identified by participants were actually perceptions and not reality. In an effort to address these perceptions, the research team (Université de Hearst and Guelph University) has identified 10myths related to agriculture in northern Ontario. The full details on these myths, including a discussion on the realities of each are included in this document.

The following report identifies the barriers to livestock production within the Clay Belt region and potential solutions for these barriers. A variety of economic, social and environmental barriers will be discussed, followed by an overview of appropriate solutions. All of the barriers and solutions have been identified by research participants and a Community Advisory Board. Details regarding the methods utilized in this study will be presented before the findings.

This literature review and jurisdictional scan can help l’Université de Hearst, University of Guelph, farmers, Northern youth and other stakeholders involved in the collaborative action research project, Understanding the Barriers to Livestock Production in the Clay Belt: An Economic, Social and Political Analysis identify the barriers that prevent individuals and communities from engaging in livestock production in Northern Ontario and propose concrete solutions, both on the institutional/political level and on the individual level, in order to reduce or eliminate these barriers. The identification of barriers and best practices will help engage new and young farmers within the agricultural sector, thus strengthening Northern economies and the agricultural sector.

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