The greenhouse economy in Canada has grown into an economic engine. The sector creates employment opportunities and viable markets to establishments such as Greenhouses Canada. Ontario, however, is the stand out province. The province is responsible for up to half of the Canadian greenhouse agricultural produce. The governments of Canada and Ontario, in their commitment to enable growth in the sector, offer small businesses grants and loans. The government grants for small businesses offer opportunities to greenhouse farmers as described below.
Growing Forward 2
Growing Forward 2 is a grant in Ontario that supports growers by offering funding for equipment and cost sharing. Through this financing, farmers are able to increase profits, expand markets and reduce risks. The initiative concentrates on six areas:
• Environmental adaptation
• Labor effectiveness schemes
• Insurance providence
• Flora and fauna health
• Market exploration
• Business rationality
Growing Forward 2 initiative applies the use of workshops such as “self- assessment and food safety”. Under this program, free farm valuation and workshop seminars are offered to producers. This initiative aims to inform farmers of newer farming practices. The other workshop is “growing your profits”. Under this workshop, farmers are assisted in developing a plan that will ensure efficient farm management and profitability.
Farm Property Tax Rate
This is a government legislation that enables farm owners in Ontario to enjoy a reduction in taxes payable. Under the program, land is taxed at the municipality’s tax rate. Eligible farmers must have leased or own farmland which is actively cultivated. The program ensures that farmers who make less than $ 7000 yearly, enjoy exemption from gross income taxation. Other exemptions offered are: age and death exemption, not a productive year exemption, start up exemption and annual gross farm income exemptions.
The Canadian Agricultural Loans Act
The agricultural loan act is a government initiative for small businesses that provides financial loans to farmers and co-operatives. The loan provides up to $ 500,000 for construction and improvement of establishments on land. Farmers are eligible to receive over $ 350,000 for other loan purposes. The funding is tailored to farmers who have been practicing for less than six years or those taking over family farms. Agricultural co-operatives are only eligible if a majority of its members are farmers.
The loan aims at providing farming tools, land, building and construction and livestock to greenhouse farmers in Canada.
Given the government’s realization that “Canada grows on Greenhouses”; the greenhouse economy in Canada has ascended significantly. The Canadian government’s bargain to offer small business grants Ontario has raised public awareness as well as improved operational efficiency in the sector. Given such positive government intervention, the future can only grow.