Beginning Farmer Program

The Beginning Farmer Program (BFP) is a multiyear program designed to support new beginning First Nations farmers between the ages of 16 and 40 through all stage of farm business startup. BFP supports the creation, development and investment in the new farm businesses.

The program has two distinct areas of focus:

  • Workshops and Training
  • Start-Up Financing

From business planning to implementation, participants will be supported by mentors and First Nations Ag & Finance staff regularly providing help and guidance including farm visits.

BFP participants will take part in an evaluation to establish current business and skill levels. This information, in conjunction with formal training and support, will be used by the participants in the creation and support of their multi-year business plan.

Eligible farm businesses include:

  • Livestock
  • Crop
  • Vegetable
  • Fruit
  • Maple syrup
  • Honey
  • Floriculture and nursery production
  • Mixed farming
  • Aquaculture

Potential applicants are encouraged to contact First Nations Ag & Finance if they are unsure whether their new farm business idea qualifies.

Workshops & Training

Business Workshops

Workshop 1: Introduction to Farming

Workshop 2: Farm Business Management

Participation in all workshops throughout the program is mandatory.

Start-Up Financing

Eligible participants will be able to access financing for their new farm business. Eligible costs include livestock, equipment, machinery, materials, inputs, building costs, storage, etc. On approved projects, financing of up to $50,000 is available with Grants – 30% up to a maximum of $15,000.

How to Apply

Applications will be accepted until November 15, 2023. Participation is limited and selection will be based on applications submitted.

Applicant Requirements

  • Applicants must be First Nations with Registered Status, be between the age of 16 and 40 years old and reside in Ontario.
  • Applicants must not have owned or operated a significant farm business previously. Eligible participants include those individuals who have worked on farms owned by family or others, individuals who have small-scale farm businesses (less than $5000 in sales/value of production per year), or individuals who have not previously farmed or owned a farm business.
  • Applicant must contribute a minimum of 5% equity.
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate they have the capability and capacity to start a farm business and participate in all scheduled workshops and meetings conducted in conjunction with the Beginning Farmers Program.
  • Applicants must be willing to work with First Nations Agriculture & Finance Ontario staff, mentors and others as required throughout the program. Mentors are an important source of support for Beginning Farmers Program participants and participants are expected to find a local mentor (with First Nations Agriculture & Finance Ontario staff assistance) to work with.

Do you want to find out more about the Beginning Farmers Program?

Click the apply button below and complete the contact form.

Apply Today