Ontario investing in the future of agricultural and horticultural societies


Feb. 8, 2022

WALSH — The Ontario government is providing $1 million to support the province’s agricultural and horticultural societies who continue to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This will help them continue to operate and support their important efforts to educate people about the value and significance of agriculture in the province.

“Ontario’s agricultural and horticultural societies have long-enriched communities throughout the province and we look forward to them continuing to make significant contributions, from main street beautification projects to hosting the long-standing tradition of agricultural fairs, throughout the province in 2022,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “These investments reflect the value of the societies’ contributions and our government’s recognition of the pandemic-caused pressures these organizations have been weathering.”

“I don’t need to go any further than Walsh, Caledonia, Dunnville, Langton, Fairground or Simcoe to see the importance of agricultural societies and rural fairs,” said Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett. “These events are a not only a celebration of agriculture but also an economic driver in local economies.”

The funding with flow through the Agricultural and Horticultural Support and Recovery Funding Initiative and builds on previous investments of more than $7 million to assist these organizations during the pandemic.

This initiative features two funding streams:

  • Base Support Funding will be issued to all eligible Agricultural and Horticultural Societies through funding payments of $1,000 as a means of supporting their continued incorporation and activities.
  • Hardship Funding for eligible Agricultural Societies will provide additional support which will be based on reported gate revenues from 2019. This will help off-set operating losses, liabilities, and fixed overhead costs related to land and buildings.

Eligible agricultural and horticultural societies can expect to receive funding before March 31, 2022.

“The Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies (OAAS) appreciates OMAFRA’s continued financial support for our over 200 agricultural societies. This new funding shows Minister Thompson’s and OMAFRA’s confidence in our agricultural societies and the impact the societies and their members have on their local communities. During the pandemic, our agricultural societies have continued to creatively promote agriculture and food awareness and engage their communities through in-person and virtual fairs, events and activities” said Vince Brennan, Manager of the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies.

“The members of the Ontario Horticultural Association express their gratitude to Minister Thompson and the Ontario government for their continued support during these challenging times,” said Charles Freeman, President of the Ontario Horticultural Association. “This funding will assist the societies and clubs in their ongoing endeavours to serve and beautify their communities.”

Agricultural and Horticultural Societies play a critical role in educating Ontarians on the importance of agriculture and celebrating a rural way of life. Supporting this important sector, at this time, will ensure the long traditions and economic contributions of the societies will continue and strengthen as the province manages the impacts of COVID-19 and moves forward into the future.

Quick Facts

  • Agricultural and horticultural societies across Ontario are represented by two independent associations: The Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies represents 213 rural Agricultural Societies, and the Ontario Horticultural Association represents over 270 Horticultural Societies.
  • Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy brings total investments to $16.3 billion to protect people’s health and $23.3 billion to protect our economy. Ontario’s COVID-19 action plan support now totals $51 billion.


For more information, contact MPP Toby Barrett at 519-428-0446 or [email protected]