A Sault Ste. Marie-area agriculture innovation group has started a one-year program for farm and food businesses that are undergoing succession from one generation to the next, or are starting a new farm or food venture.
The Rural Agri-Innovation Network’s (RAIN) The Next Generation North program aims to increase the financial and planning abilities of successors and startups to gain skills needed to run more profitable farm and food businesses.
A 2016 Agri-Food Management Institute (AMI) study highlighted how business management activities were key drivers that drove financial success on the most successful Canadian farms.
These skill sets are what RAIN wants to deliver through the program with upcoming workshops on creating a business plan, analysing financial data, farm tax and other issues.
Other special workshops will focus on grazing management, season extension technologies, robot milking and value-added agricultural products.
“Aging farmers, limited succession planning and barriers to entry are obstacles to growing the agri-food sector,” said David Thompson, RAIN project coordinator in a Jan. 2 news release. “Through this program, we will take businesses through a number of proactive activities and workshops for more resilient food and farm businesses.”
The Rural Agri-Innovation Network (RAIN) is a project offshoot of the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC) and NORDIK Institute of Algoma University.