Frequently Asked Questions

Why Northern Ontario?

Northern Ontario offers affordable land, ample water and a climate that is well-suited to beef farming. This region is full of potential and provides an opportunity for beginning and existing farmers to establish economically viable farms of efficient scale, which will be sustainable for decades.

Why do we need to expand the cow herd?

Beef production is declining in Ontario but there is an increasing demand for beef at home and around the world. This is combined with the new reality of a global marketplace, resource constraints that limit supply and the increasing cost of land. Expanding Ontario’s cow herd is vital to retaining and expanding markets and ensuring the long-term sustainability of the beef industry and entire beef value chain, from processor to retailer.

What funding or assistance is available to me for setting up a beef operation in Northern Ontario?

There are several assistance programs available to Ontario’s beef farmers, including the Risk Management Program and Beef Breeder Co-operative Program.

Are there education materials and resources about beef production in the north?

BFO is working with government and educational institutions to develop a full set of resources on beef production in the north. Materials will be added to the website and shared as they become available.

Is there training provided for beef farmers interested in re-locating to Northern Ontario?

BFO is developing educational resources and course materials about beef production in the north, for use here, on our website, as well as at in-person workshops that will be offered to those interested in expanding the cow herd in Northern Ontario. This will also include a beef-focused ‘crash course in agriculture’. You can find education materials on beef production in the north under ‘Resources’, and more information about workshops and our ‘crash course in northern agriculture’ under ‘Training and Education’. All our upcoming meetings, workshops and tours are listed under ‘Events’.

Where in Northern Ontario?

There are several regions in Northern Ontario that have potential for cow herd expansion, but the Great Claybelt offers the best opportunity for several reasons. It has 16 million underutilized acres of potentially fertile glaciolacustrine soils that could support beef cow-calf production. To accommodate the production needs of 100,000 beef cows, which will reduce the threat of processing plants closing, only a small slice of land that equals 5% or less of the 16 million acres identified in the Great Clay Belt would be required.

There are many districts in Northern Ontario that have potential for cow herd expansion, namely: Algoma, Cochrane, Kenora, Nipissing, Rainy River, Sudbury, Temiskaming and Thunder Bay. You can learn more about the different districts and communities of Northern Ontario under the Region section.

How long does it take to get to Northern Ontario?

There are several airports in Northern Ontario making travel accessible and convenient. The Thunder Bay International Airport is the largest airport, but air travel is also accessible in Sudbury, Sault Ste Marie, Timmins, and North Bay. Smaller airports can be found in Fort Frances, Dryden, Earlton and Kapuskasing.

If you are traveling by car:

  • Toronto to New Liskeard - 500 km and 5 hours and 30 minutes
  • Toronto to Cochrane - 720 km and 7 hours and 30 minutes
  • Toronto to Kapuskasing - 830 km and 9 hours
  • Toronto to Hearst - 930 km and 10 hours
How cold is it in Northern Ontario?

The average annual temperatures in Northern Ontario range from highs of 6oC to 10oC to lows of -5 oC to -7 oC across the regions. You can find more information regarding yearly temperatures in specific districts and communities under the Regions section. 

What is the soil type in Northern Ontario?

The soil type differs across the regions in Northern Ontario. Some of the more common types are Podzols, Gleysolics and Dystric Brunisols which vary from deep level soils; well-drained clays; thin, stony soils; wetlands; and forested soils. 

What is the growing season in Northern Ontario?

The average annual growing season of the different regions in Northern Ontario is 170 days. More information is available about the specific districts in the Regions section. 

What are the crop heat units in Northern Ontario?

The crop heat units total 1575 in Thunder Bay to 2564 in Algoma, with a steady range between these two values from region to region. To learn more refer to the Regions section. 

What is usual snow fall in Northern Ontario?

The average number of days of snow fall in Northern Ontario is 74. The annual average snow fall is 240 cm.

How do I sign up or get more information?

If you’re interested in more information or just want to stay up-to-date on the project, please contact us. We’re collecting names of people interested in learning more about the opportunity, so we can send resources, event information and other updates as they’re available.