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Ontario Hay and Forage Co-operative receives funding

April 11, 2016, Ontario – The Ontario Hay and Forage Co-operative, working in collaboration with the Ontario Forage Council, has received Growing Forward 2 funding approval from the Agricultural Adaptation Council for a comprehensive feasibility study and business plan for its double-compaction hay processing facility. The Growing Forward 2 funding of $81,116 will enable the co-operative to build a strong business case for its plan to build a facility capable of processing up to 100,000 tonnes of premium quality Ontario hay annually.

The recently formed co-operative is aiming to tap into export markets for superior forages to support growing dairy, equine, and livestock markets, particularly in Asia and the Middle East. The co-operative’s goal is to increase returns for producers by enabling them to obtain higher prices for their hay. 

By working with producers to establish on-farm hay-drying facilities, and building a facility to compact their hay into compressed square bales for overseas shipment, the co-operative intends to offer a premium product to buyers in the livestock and equine sectors. 

The Ontario Hay and Forage Co-operative has been structured as a “new generation co-operative” which means that producers will be both entitled and obligated to deliver hay to the co-operative. Members will invest in the co-operative in proportion to the volume of hay they commit to deliver to the co-operative.

Profits from the venture will be shared among members based on the volume of hay they ship to the co-operative. An incentive structure will be developed to reward member producers for premium quality hay. Producers interested in joining the co-operative can get more information on the co-operative’s website (www.ontariohay.ca).

This project was funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2 in Ontario.