Category Archives: Farm Grants

Tips for Winter Greenhouses

Greenhouses are an important way to grow crops outside of the usual growing season and a great way to increase yields. Canada has a unique climate, and as such special care is required when establishing a greenhouse, large or small that will produce a good return for the owner.

Windows

Light is required to grow any plant, so choose a material that lets lots of light through. A good rule of thumb is a material that allows at least 70% of light through. Insulation performance will drop as transparency increases. It’s important to balance light transmission with the R-value (the thermal resistance) of the material.

Insulation

Many greenhouses are transparent on all sides. A cold climate greenhouse may not be fully transparent because conserving heat is a priority. Winter nights are dark and cold and temperatures need to be managed.

Installing windows on the side facing the sun, allows the other sides and the roof to be insulated. The ground underneath the greenhouse should also be insulated. The heat that collects in the earth during the day, shouldn’t be allowed to just disappear out into the ground. The windows themselves can be insulated with removable shades after dark.

Ventilation

Cold climate greenhouses are designed to provide optimal growing conditions during the winter.  As a result, they can get too hot in the summer. It’s important to install proper ventilation into the greenhouse that provides enough ventilation during those hot summer days.

Thermal Mass

Thermal mass will harvest and store the warmth of the sun during the day and release it back at night to heat the greenhouse. This minimizes temperature fluctuations in the greenhouse and will prevent the temperature from dropping during cold nights.

Common materials can provide thermal mass: water, stone, cob, or even the earth itself. Water can be a risky choice because it can freeze, but it’s also one of the most flexible thermal mass materials because you can easily add or remove containers fo water.

There are two ways to take advantage of thermal mass: heating the air or heating the growing beds. The energy required is lower to heat only the growing beds but can be harder to install or modify.

Active Heating

In addition to thermal mass distributing heat, and the rays of the sun working to heat a greenhouse during the day, on cold days and during the night your greenhouse may require additional heat. Often Wood burning solutions or propane heaters can be good choices, as they are equally easy to install in remote areas.

 

Cost

Commercial scale greenhouses are not cheap to build. A solar panel system can have a payback time of years. A four-season greenhouse should be simlar in terms of payback time.  Long-term production yield will be higher, as the greenhouse allows longer growing season but also a kind of insurance against weather risks.

When you are ready to expand your greenhouse business or start a new agricultural production facility,

The Canadian Grants Business Center can help.

Contact us Toll-Free at 1-888-231-0075 or Contact us now to find out more!

2018 Farm Grants – Get Started Early

The end of this year is fast approaching; 2018 Will be here soon. Now is the best time for new and existing farmers to ensure that they maximise funding opportunities by applying to any remaining 2017 programs, and getting started early on 2018 programs.

With the harvest season rapidly ending, there is no time better than right now to get any financing, expansion and restructuring plans underway.

Some off-season effort can lead to much better productivity in the growing season. When you are ready to apply for the last 2017 funding programs, and get the 2018 information you need to get a leg up, the Canadian Grants Business Center can help.

Find funding at:

http://www.canadiangrantsbusinesscenter.com/Funding-Finder.html

Or call us Toll-free at:

1-888-231-0075

Equipment for Farming Part 4: Equipment for Grain Harvesting

Harvesting grain crops is an intensive process that involves planning, skill and the use of advanced machinery.  In order to effectively farm many of the grains we find in Canada including Wheat, barley, and Canola, a Canadian Farmer will require several pieces of equipment:

Swather for Cutting and Drying

In Canada, where we have a short growing season, farmers often use a swather to harvest wheat. This piece of machinery is necessary when a grain does not have enough time to dry before harvesting. The swather cuts the stems of the plant and forms a  windrow, which is a uniform row of cut small grain crop left to dry before combining or further harvesting. Farmers who own combines that aren’t equipped to reap, or cut, the crop often use swathers.

A Combine is Essential to Grain Farming

The combine is the central part of the harvest. A combine “combines” the 3 harvest tasks: reaping, binding, and threshing. Combines have removable, crop-specific heads so that they can be used to harvest many types of crops. A combine can often hold a large amount of wheat, but when it fills up, it needs to be emptied before the machine can continue.

A Grain Truck to Transport the Harvest

Grain trucks transport the crop from the fields to the storage facility. A Grain truck is animportant piece of machinery that works alongside the combine allowing grain to be transferred quickly and efficiently. The truck can then transport grain from the field to storage units or shipping points. Grain trucks work best when equipped with large, specialized wheels to provide the traction required to move through the fields.

Grain Augers

When the grain arrives at the storage facility, a grain auger moves the grain into storage containers. An auger is a motorized, rotating, spiral shaft similar to a drill bit sometimes encased in metal tubing. It works like a pump for grain moving grain into or out of storage. Most augers are powered by a tractor or combine.

Grain Dryer for Straight Cut Crops

When a farmer skips swathing, or the crop still has a high moisture content a grain dryer can be used to dry the crop to an acceptable moisture level, which is usually below 12% for long-term storage. These stationary machines use energy to heat and blow air over and through the crop in order to speed drying and reduce spoilage.

Bins and Storage Units

Bins and silos are used to store grain. Metal or concrete bins or silos are covered structuresdesigned to aerate and continue to dry the grain. Proper Storage is a must, as improperly stored grains can quickly spoil. Grain elevators and bins are often designed to move the grain in order to facilitate even drying.

The Right Equipment is Key to a Farm’s Success

The right harvesting equipment can help raise efficiency and keep the property in top shape. Farming equipment costs can be substantial, and it’s important to take advantage of all sources of funding available to your farm. Whatever you decide: Buying new or used equipment will be a key to your on-farm success. Start or expand your farming business now: the Canadian Grants Business Center can help.

Contact us Toll-Free at 1-888-231-0075 or Contact us now to find out more!

5 Important Tips for New Farmers

Be Practical

Some farmers become too focused on their ideologies. New farmers, particularly those in urban areas  and farmers using sustainable techniques , may focus all their energy on big world issues — environmental, economic or political. A global focus may cause them to miss small opportunities in front of them. They may get discouraged that their local actions are not having enough of a global impact.
These ideologies can also keep small farmers from working with others who may have a different point of view or approach. The established farmers and support network are critical supports for a new farmer getting an operation started.

Sell Direct to Build Capacity

Seek out the path of least resistance. Visit the local farmers’ markets to sell your produce as you get the hang of what you can grow and sell. You will grow your customer base and learn what they want to buy. By having a direct relationship with end consumers you will get valuable feedback and also not become overcommitted to large orders you may initially have difficulties filling.

Have the Right Equipment

Some farmers may not have the right equipment to get started.

Although bootstrapping can work well for hobby operations,  farming on a a commercially viable scale requires capital. A huge sum is  not needed to start a small farm, but farmers starting out will require basic equipment: a tractor, a seeder, walk-in cooler and perhaps other small machinery. Cheap solutions like trying to spread seed by hand, or trying to use consumer refrigerators can end in problems. The right equipment can make all the difference.

Focus on One Thing at a Time

Some small farmers try to take on too many things right from the beginning. New farmers need to  focus on one or two things until they become successful. As in any business, trying to take on too much can be the mistake holding a beginning farmer back from every getting the ball rolling.

Treat Farming as a Business

The single most important factor in farming success is to approach farming as an actual business. Many farmers have big and noble ambitions, but you need to pay attention to the bottom line if you want the farm to succeed and grow over a long period of time.

If you are ready to start or expand your farm, the Canadian Grants Business Center can help you find funding. Use our funding finder tool:

http://www.canadiangrantsbusinesscenter.com/Funding-Finder.html

Or call us Toll-free at:

1-888-231-0075

Things to Consider When Buying a Farm

farm-for-sale

When you are considering buying a farm, it’s important to be prepared for some of the hidden challenges that will come up. A lot of things will seem self-evident but here are a few things to consider that may not be:

A good Real-Estate agent will save you time and money

Farm properties are a unique category of real-estate. There are many complex aspects to purchasing a farm that is not involved in the urban real-estate market. Make sure your agent is knowledgeable in farm and rural issues. Getting a good agent in the mix will save you both time and money when you buy a farm.

Availability of local markets

Although you may not sell all of your main production at the local farmer’s market, these types of locations can add a lot of needed cash flow to the small farmer. Having one nearby will allow you to maintain cash flow throughout the year by marketing complimentary items. If you have some crops that appeal directly to end users, you can maximize your margins by selling directly at the market rather than to resellers.

Infrastructure on Property

What sorts of buildings and improvements are on the property? How many of them are useful to you in your farm business plan? Is there infrastructure or buildings that can be adapted to your needs if they don;t already match them currently? If the farm comes with equipment, or a stockpile of resources like hay or firewood you may be able to use them to increase your returns.

History of the land and site evaluation

What sorts of crops or livestock were raised on the property previously? Are there any parts of the property that have had different purposes in the past? The current owners may provide information, but consulting with the neighbors may also yield valuable insights about the farm you are buying.

Tax status & zoning

What will your property taxes be? If the land is zoned as farming, you will have to keep it in prodcution in order to keep the lower farm tax rate. If it’s not zoned for farming, you will have to inquire with the local zoning authority how to get the proper zoning approved.

Soil tests

Comprehensive soil tests and profiling will  help you prepare for the best crop choices for your new farm. If you are interested in organic production, it would be wise to test your soil for residues and other heavy metals that may inhibit your ability to grow organically. This can be expensive but worth the investment.

Access to Water

If you plan on buying a farm, this is by far the most important resource to consider before you buy a farm. Water rights law is very complex and making sure you understand your rights and usage is extremely critical.  Know if you rights are currently valid and active. What are the water sources on the property?  It is also important to know what year your rights date back to. Senior water rights always get the water first. Do you have ponds, creeks, or wells that you are legally able to irrigate from?  What is the drinking water source? If from a well, test your water for metals and other contaminants.

A little bit of planning while you are looking for your new farm property can save big headaches in the long-run. If you are starting or buying a farm, Canadian Grants Business Center can help you locate the funding to get your farm business going.

Start or expand your farming business now: the Canadian Grants Business Center can help.

Contact us Toll-Free at 1-888-231-0075 or Contact us now to find out more!

Funding for Canadian Fruit Farmers

Canada has a major fruit industry despite our short growing season and cold climate.

Most Canadian fruit production occurs in Southern Ontario and southwest British Columbia, as they average the longest frost-free period per year at about 180 days. Parts of Quebec and the Maritimes also produce significant fruit crops, even with a shorter 120 frost-free days on average per year.

 

In British Columbia grapes, blueberries and cranberries lead the way. Ontario is the largest apple producer.  Canada’s most valuable fruit harvest is the blueberry crop consisting of domesticated and wild varieties. Canada is in fact now the world’s largest producer of wild blueberries.

Most fruit plants are perennial and as such offer an attractive annual return to farmers who are looking for either high-value side crop or to concentrate on fruit growing.

The cost to establish an Orchard, Vineyard or blueberry farm can be substantial. Fortunately, there are several funding programs available to farmers looking to establish or grow a fruit farming business.

When you are ready to expand your fruit orchard or start a new fruit farm,

The Canadian Grants Business Center can help.

Contact us Toll-Free at 1-888-231-0075 or Contact us now to find out more!

$350 Million in new Funding for Canadian Dairy Industry.

The Canadian Government has just announced two programs worth $350 million for Canada’s dairy sector. The Funding is meant to help farmers and processors invest in new equipment and technologies in order to increase productivity and farm profits.

A closeup of a dairy cow eating hay in the barn - chewing his cud.

A $250 million program will help Canadian dairy farmers update their technology and equipment to boost productivity. Robotic milking equipment, automated feeding systems or new herd management software are examples of what would qualify.

A second $100 million fund for dairy processors would be available to help modernize their operations or diversify product lines for new markets. The idea is to encourage Canadian producers to take advantage of newly opened European markets.

The new assistance package was designed based on what the government heard from the dairy sector during consultations in recent months. The government plans to keep talking to farmers and processors over the next few weeks as it finalizes how the programs will work, including additional online consultations.

In order to maximize the chance fo success for local producers, it is important that they take advantage of this funding: There are a lot of farms that need updating in Canada.

When you are ready to start or expand your farming business, the Canadian Grants Business Center can help.

Contact us Toll-Free at 1-888-231-0075 or Contact us now to find out more!

Funding for Farm Upgrades: Grow Your Farm in 2017

 

Starting or expanding a farm can be a challenge, but is also very rewarding, both financially and in terms of personal satisfaction.

There are many farm grants programs set up to facilitate farm investment and encourage growth.

Farmers regularly apply and receive funding for a variety of business purposes including:

  • Barn construction and upgrades
  • Livestock purchase
  • Seed and fertilizer purchase
  • Tractor and combine purchase or lease
  • Land acquisition and clearing
  • Installation of Irrigation Systems
  • Installation of Tile Drainage
  • Fencing
  • Implementing Technology Upgrades


Farm upgrades can be a great way to drive on-farm productivity in 2017 and for tomorrow.

If you are ready to start or expand a farm, the Canadian Grants Business Center can help find funding. Find funding at:

http://www.canadiangrantsbusinesscenter.com/Funding-Finder.html

Or call us Toll-free at:

1-888-231-0075

Equipment for Farming Part 3: Dairy Milking Machines

When running a dairy farm, milk production is the main source of farm revenue, and so the dairy farmer will try to maximize the quality and quantity of milk produced by the herd.  Dairy farming has a unique set of equipment requirements as compared to other types of animal farms focused on raising livestock for consumption. The milking setup and equipment can have a major effect on the efficiency and quality of the milking process.

There are several levels of complexity when it comes to milking equipment. The least complicated is hand milking, which is not really viable for a commercial farm in today’s day and age. As we go from less complicated to more complicated milking equipment setups, we see a whole range of setups starting at the simplest labor intensive vacuum assisted setups all the way to completely automated robotic milking stations.

Fully automatic milking systems are somewhat popular in Europe but remain much less popular in Canada. The majority of dairy farms in the Canadian market continue to use more traditional, cost effective and easily maintained equipment.

A typical milking machine extracts milk from the cow’s udder by vacuum. They are designed to apply a constant vacuum to the end of the teat to extract the milk, transfer it to a container, and maintain blood circulation with a regular squeeze.

A milking machine installation consists of a system of pipes connecting the various vessels and other components through which air and milk flow. The system operates by vacuum, and therefore requires forces to be applied to function. Atmospheric pressure forces air, and intra-mammary milk pressure forces milk, into the system. The combination of these forces causes flow. To work continuously, air and milk must be removed from the system at appropriate rates. The air is removed with a vacuum pump and the milk is removed by a milk pump.

The right milking equipment can help raise efficiency and keep dairy cattle in top shape.

The cost to build a milking parlor (milking facility) with equipment can range anywhere from $30,000.00 on the low end upwards of $300,000.00 for large and complex installations. Milking equipment costs can be substantial, and it’s important to take advantage of all sources of funding available to your farm. Whatever you decide: Buying new or used equipment will be a key to your on-farm success. Start or expand your farming business now: the Canadian Grants Business Center can help.

Contact us Toll-Free at 1-888-231-0075 or Contact us now to find out more!

Equipment for Farming Part 2: Planting No-Till Grain

Choosing the right piece of equipment for any given farming job is not always easy. Soybean, small grains (like wheat), and corn growers can share many different pieces of equipment, and no matter what crop you are harvesting, a combine can be used. When it comes to planting no-till, two main pieces of equipment will help get the crops in the ground: a grain drill and a planter.

 

What is No-Till Farming:

Tilling is a traditional farming method that controls weeds, shapes the soil into rows for crop plants and creates furrows for irrigation.  Plowing flips over the top layer of soil incorporating nearly all residue into the soil. Tilling and plowing can lead to negative effects such as: soil compaction, loss of potential recuperation of last year’s crop waste left to break down, degradation of soil structure), erosion, and disruption of soil organisms. A no-till system minimizes soil disruption. A grain drill is used to seed wheat and soybeans. A planter is used to plant other crops like corn and sunflowers. Both pieces of equipment are used in no-till farming.

No-Till Farming Can Work For Many Farmers

There are pros and cons for any approach to farming. Each farmer needs to decide what is best for a property. The down-side of no-till, is the loss of physical weed control. No-till makes other forms of weed control necessary like chemicals, biotechnology or cover crops (a crop that is planted in between crops). In places where the wind is a problem, no-till will allow soil structure to be maintained and reduce erosion. Soil quality will also improve from leaving leftover crop residue to break down in the field. A no-till system allows producers to make fewer passes through a field, thereby reducing fuel use, labor, and requirements for tilling equipment, this translates into cost savings.

So what does a drill or planter have to do with no-till…?

Both the planter and drill contain mechanisms and are designed specifically for a no-till system. In both the drill and the planter, they must be able to cut through or move aside the leftover residue from last year’s crops as well as ensure proper depth so that the seed makes good contact with the soil.

No-Tilling Starts With Drilling

No-till farming starts with the no-till drill. A Traditional drill consisted of a seed hopper installed above a series of tubes that can be adjusted to specific distances from each other. Most seed drills now use compressed air to transport the seed from the hopper, through a tube and into a disc at an angle with a boot attached. This disc opens up the soil and creates a small furrow to accommodate the seeds. The discs distribute the seed into the ground and cut through any leftover residue from previously harvested crops. There is another piece on the back of the drill that drags behind and covers up the furrow made by the disc. A drill can allow farmers to plant seeds in rows, spaced correctly, at a specified depth, and at a specified rate. The seed drill allows farmers to plant seeds without back-tracking.

A Planter can Take No-Till to the Next Level

The drill makes it easier to control depth and spacing, but the planter makes it even easier. A planter is a precision tool ideal for crops like corn and sunflowers. When planting these crops,  row spacing, depth, and plant spacing are critical. The planter is less useful for small seed crops. Wheat and soy don’t see as much benefit from this tool compared to a drill.

The planter has three main parts. The “trash wheels” move aside any leftover residue in the field. The planter works almost like the drill but with a vacuum system. Seed is taken from the main hopper to small hoppers for each row. A vacuum sucks the seed from the small hoppers into a disc that has holes for individual seeds. As the disc rotates, seeds are dropped into the ground in precise increments. The depth is adjustable like with the drill, but the planter can also manage the distance from seed to seed in a row.

Like the drill, there are discs that open the soil and make a furrow to deposit the seed into, and a furrow closer that trails behind.

The Right Equipment is Key to a Farm’s Success

The right no-till planting equipment can help raise efficiency and keep the property in top shape. Farming equipment costs can be substantial, and it’s important to take advantage of all sources of funding available to your farm. Whatever you decide: Buying new or used equipment will be a key to your on-farm success. Start or expand your farming business now: the Canadian Grants Business Center can help.

Contact us Toll-Free at 1-888-231-0075 or Contact us now to find out more!