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theinvestor
08-30-2012, 08:22 AM
The Ontariofresh.ca website has been relaunched with several improved features.

The business-to-business website, an increasingly popular agri-business social networking tool, now provides a more streamlined serviced compared to the Beta version that was launched in November 2011, said Megan Hunter, communications manager with the Greenbelt Foundation, which is a partner in the venture.

“For example, if you were a small canning operation, you are now searchable,” she said. “Before, that was not the case.”

In the two weeks since the relaunch the site's 1,200 registered industry professionals has grown to 1,255.

“It's an exciting thing for us,” said Hunter.

Among those registered are primary producers, buyers and distributors, small artisan producers to Holland Marsh size growing operations. Members on the site also include hospitals and other public institutions serving millions of meals each year.

“We're trying to make it easier for the big guys to source local,” said Hunter.

Any business wanting to register can got to www.ontariofresh.ca, click on Register Now, and answer a range of questions.

The managers of the site are asking for a detailed business description, along with logos, product lines, and information on food safety and traceability.

Although the Friends of the Greenbelt are a major player, the website is designed to have Ontario-wide appeal.

It was set up as part of a wider program that collected $4 million in grants from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

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The National Farmers Union is calling on Ottawa and provincial governments to improve business risk management programs under Growing Forward 2 by ensuring that needed money will be directed for family farms.

Too much of the funds are being used to help corporate farms grow even larger, says Ann Slater, co-ordinator of NFU Region 3, which the Brant and Norfolk areas.

In a report on the Growing Forward program, “research shows that the largest farms are receiving an increasingly higher portion of farm program dollars,” said Slater.

“The of business risk management programs under Growing Forward 2 need to support the survival of small and medium-sized farms. Until we have a food sovereignty-based agri-food policy in Canada, there will be a need for safety net programs to help family farmers survive the ongoing farm income crisis.”

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Producers across Canada increasingly using AgriInvest to manage small declines in farm income.

In the coming weeks and months, producers who have applied for AgriInvest in the 2011 program year can expect to see deposit notices arrive in their mailboxes. They provide information on the amount farmers would need to deposit to quality for matching government contributions.

Application forms are available on the Publications and Forms page at www.agr.gc.ca/agriinvest, or by calling Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at 1-866-367-8506. the penalty free deadline to apply is Sept. 30, but application swill be accepted until Dec. 31 with a penalty.

AgriInvest is cost-shared 60-40 by the federal government and provincial and territorial governments.

http://www.brantfordexpositor.ca/2012/08/29/ontariofreshca-website-relaunched