Why the North?

Northern Ontario has affordable land and ample water, and is well-suited to beef farming. The lower cost of entry in the north will allow beginning and existing farmers to establish operations of efficient and viable scale.

It is Getting Warmer

Over the past thirty years, heat units have risen by 20% in Kapuskasing. Both Kaspuskasing and North Bay have displayed a consistent positive trend, with crop heat units (CHU) increasing significantly over time. For Kapuskasing, the rate of increase was 117 CHUs per decade. From 1965 to 2005, seasonal CHUs increased from approximately 1650 to 2150. If this trend continues, farms in this area will soon be able to grow other crops allowing for a diversified farming operation.

2011 - 2012 Crop Yields

Temiskaming District
Corn - 130 - 145 bu/ac
Soybeans - 50 - 60 bu/ac

Cochrane District
Canola - 1.45tonnes/ac

Heat Units

Northern Economic Development

Northern communities need stable, long-term economic activity which farming provides. Long-term expansion of beef production in Northern Ontario acknowledges the importance of Northern communities of a healthy Ontario.

Environmental Benefits

Grasslands that are managed by Ontario beef farmers do more than produce beef.

They support ecosystem services such as wildlife habitat, biodiversity conservation, carbon storage, moderating of nutrient run-off, and preservation of wetlands that otherwise may be subject to cultivation.

About 30% of Canada’s agricultural land is too hilly, rocky, cold or wet to grow crops, but it can support grazing livestock. Animals convert grasses and otherwise indigestible plant matter into nutrient and protein-rich food, while returning organic matter (manure) to the soil.

Canada’s beef sector utilizes managed grazing systems and makes efficient use of inputs, such as feed, to have one of the lowest greenhouse gas (GHG) footprints for beef in the world. According to the 2015 research project out of the Beef Cattle Research Council, “Defining the Environmental Footprint of Canadian Beef Production,” the GHG intensity per kilogram of beef produced in Canada has decreased by 15% from 1981-2011. There have been other improvements in those same 30 years, with 24% less land and 27% fewer cattle required to produce an equivalent amount of beef.

Ontario’s beef farmers are motivated to be more efficient. They work to reduce their use of expensive resources like land, feed, energy and water, and to reduce GHGs and nutrient losses. Improved production efficiencies have economic, social and environmental benefits. The world population is projected to grow to 9.1 billion by 2050. Farmers know they’re going to have to keep working hard to feed our growing population, and that they’ll have to use every tool in their toolbox – and likely some that haven’t even been invented yet – to make sure there is enough food for everyone. Climate change is going to compromise food security globally, but Ontario can look to its own land for a source of healthy and sustainably produced food, instead of relying on imported food that is transported far distances to reach our plates.

According to the World Wildlife Federation’s website, “Keeping ranchers in business leaves grasslands intact, creates habitat for a broad diversity of birds and other grassland species, moderates run-off and secures carbon in the soil.”