New investments announced for rural Ontario

Guelph, ON, February 2, 2017 – Rural Ontario received a boost with the recent announcement of two programs to grow our communities. The renewed Rural Economic Development (RED) program and the new Natural Gas Grant Program were both announced by the Ontario government earlier this week at the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) conference.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) welcomed the renewal of the RED program that will provide $5 million in funding every year to support community economic development. The program supports local initiatives to enable rural municipalities and partners to diversify and grow their local economies. Applications for the RED program funds are already open for submission at omafra.gov.on.ca.

“Investment in our rural communities is what Ontario needs right now,” says Keith Currie, President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture. “Rural Ontario has great potential for economic growth through community engagement and revitalization.  The renewed RED program will support some great initiatives this year.”

OFA is encouraged by the government’s recognition of the importance of expanding natural gas to rural Ontario with the Natural Gas Grant Program. The program will provide $100 million in grants to support the building of natural gas infrastructure and enable more communities to access to a lower cost energy source. Applications for the Natural Gas Grant Program will be available in spring 2017.

“Natural gas is the most important investment that will give rural Ontarians, including farms and businesses, the competitive edge to drive growth,” says Currie. “OFA looks forward to working with the government to develop a real program to secure natural gas access throughout rural Ontario. This will require a longer term commitment to rural investment and we’re working to make this happen.”

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is the largest general farm organization in Ontario, representing 36,000 farm families across the province. As a dynamic farmer-led organization based in Guelph, the OFA works to represent and champion the interests of Ontario farmers through government relations, farm policy recommendations, research, lobby efforts, community representation, media relations and more. OFA is the leading advocate for Ontario’s farmers and is Ontario’s voice of the farmer.

-30-

For more information:

Keith Currie, President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture - 705-441-3362
Neil Currie, General Manager, Ontario Federation of Agriculture - 519-821-8883