The Ontario government's investments in the agriculture and agri-food sectors and Ontario's rural communities have helped build a stronger foundation for a more prosperous Ontario. During 2007, OMAFRA's investments included:
1. $130 million to help Ontario's 13,000 cattle, hog and horticulture producers manage the effects of lower returns due to higher input costs, the stronger Canadian dollar and lower market prices.
2. $20 million for transformative initiatives to help farmers manage the effects of current market conditions and strengthen competitiveness.
3. Much-needed income stability to Ontario's 25,000 grain and oilseed farmers through the Risk Management Program (RMP). This is a three-year pilot price insurance program designed to offset losses caused by low commodity prices in a given year.
4. Delivering, as promised, a Cost Recognition Top-Up Program. The $55-million program is a 40 per cent matching provincial contribution to the federal cost of production payment program outlined in the most recent federal budget. Ontario is the only province participating on a cost-share basis in this $400-million national program.
5. Investing $12.5 million in a Pick Ontario Freshness strategy to support local promotions and commodity-specific programs by building interest in all Ontario foods and raising general consumer awareness and demand for Ontario foods in stores and in restaurants.
6. Committing $9 million for the Ontario Biogas Systems Financial Assistance Program to help farmers and rural businesses install biogas systems in their operations and support the development of the green energy sector.
7. Provided $12.5 million to the Vineland Research and Innovations Centre, creating a vital hub for horticultural science and innovation in the province.
8. Recognizing innovation in the province's agriculture sector through the five-year, $2.5- million Premier's Awards for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence. In 2007, 55 awards totalling $425,000 were presented at events across the province.
9. Providing small rural and urban municipalities with the support they need to renew essential infrastructure in their communities. In 2007, the governments of Ontario and Canada announced a joint investment of $93 million in 72 municipalities under Intake Three of the Canada-Ontario Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (COMRIF).
10. Investing $16.9 million in 45 projects through the Rural Economic Development Program in three priority areas: improved access to health care services, revitalized communities and downtowns, and enhanced skills training. Since 2003, the province has invested $477.4 million in rural Ontario to build strong rural communities that work better for the people who live in them.
11. An ongoing defense of supply management at the World Trade Organization negotiations.