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Funding to offset lost revenue from cancelled fall fairs, exhibits

January 28, 2021  By Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (edited)

The Ontario government is providing $5 million to support the province’s Agricultural and Horticultural Societies impacted by the pandemic, with funding flowing through the Agricultural and Horticultural Support and Recovery Funding Initiative.

“Agricultural and horticultural societies play a vital role in agricultural education while making significant contributions to the economy of rural Ontario,” said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, who made the announcement at the Rural Ontario Municipal Association annual general meeting on Tuesday. “This funding will help support these societies during a difficult period so they can operate future fall fairs and exhibits and participate in our future economic recovery.”

Societies have been unable to hold revenue generating events over the past 10 months due to health and safety concerns around COVID-19.


“The Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies (OAAS), is grateful for the support from the Ontario Government,” said Vince Brennan, manager, Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies. “Their investment shows the confidence and appreciation the government has for Ontario Agricultural Societies and their impact, especially during these challenging times. This funding will help support our Agricultural Societies and their communities.”

This one-time initiative features two funding streams:

  • $1.8 million Base Support Funding will provide eligible agricultural societies with $7,000, and eligible horticultural societies with $1,140 in funding to support their continued delivery of agricultural and horticultural education across Ontario.
  • $3.2 million Hardship Funding for eligible agricultural societies will provide additional support, which will be based on their reported gate receipts from 2019. This will help off-set operating losses, liabilities, and fixed overhead costs.

“On behalf of the 273 societies/clubs of the Ontario Horticultural Association, we extend our gratitude for your generous financial support,” said Katharine Smyth, president, Ontario Horticultural Association. “As you know, the societies/clubs have seen reduced membership numbers and have been unable to raise funds to continue their community involvements. Your consideration and response to their needs during the pandemic, by way of providing them  extra finances will go a long way to support them through this crisis.”

Funding is expected to be completed before March 31, 2021. Guidelines can be found here

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