The Municipality of Mississippi Mills councillors heard on Nov. 7 from Teri Devine, the agriculture and rural economic development advisor with the Ontario ministry of agriculture, food and rural affairs, about an agriculture and economic development guide that is being developed.
The resource guide has been developed in order to point out the importance of agriculture within the community as well as how the community can support the agriculture industry.
“We know that agriculture is big business,” said Devine. “There is no ‘one size fits all’ for the framework.”
The resource guide for communities is not an exact plan to be followed step-for-step by each community, but rather a plan that communities can pick up wherever planners believe their community is in the plan.
The resource guide is split into three primary steps.
Step one is designed to look at what the agriculture within the community is and what the community can offer.
Step two is meant to improve on the developments in step one by engaging with the community and agricultural developers. Beyond that, step two is also designed to see further agricultural opportunities within the communities.
Stage three is focused on business ventures, with focus on communications and marketing, investment attraction, land use planning and further research.
“Agriculture doesn’t exist in a vacuum,” said Devine.
The resource was set up to use at whatever level of committee they have, but it is not yet at a rollout stage.
“This isn’t a program, it is a resource guide,” said Devine.
She went on to say that calling it a program has led it down an unintended path.
The agriculture economic development guide is meant to flow as the community sees fit, not necessarily start at the beginning and end at the end. There isn’t a specific timeline in which the guide is to be completed by, instead designed to be picked up when the resources are available in the community.
“We could find the mirror in our own strategic planning here,” said Councillor Jane Torrance.