‘There’s a place for outsiders in Canada’

The Canadian agricultural sector is supported by the government with a wide range of programmes. The most recent measure resulted from Cap and Trade. The provincial government in Toronto announced a 3-cent price increase for natural gas in order to discourage its usage.

Some of that money will be used to finance energy saving measures. It enabled us to submit an application for two 92% efficiency condensing boilers. This is called a simple application, because financing is almost always guaranteed after approval.

There are other applications, which involve more paperwork, but don’t guarantee that financing will be approved in the end. Projects with bigger savings generally have a higher acceptance chance. But if your company is energy-efficient as it is, and you’re adding a relatively small saving, chances of getting a project approved are smaller.

Another state funded programme is ‘Grow Your Farm Profits’. It involves a two-day workshop that focusses on writing a business plan to see how you can improve your company. Areas covered include financial management, production, marketing, human resources, social responsibility, business succession, business model and business strategy. You can use your business plan when you apply for support towards certain projects.

We attended the workshop this winter. Together with our next generation, which has been showing an interest in learning more about the company and the business operations. It was a good occasion to update our business plan and to visualise threats and opportunities for our company. It also allowed us to calculate some automation options which, with the increase of the minimum wage from $11.25 to $14.00 per 1 January, we might have to consider.

The Olympic Winter Games are in full swing at the moment. The Netherlands is superior in speed skating. But Canada won gold too: in the men’s 10,000 metres. This medal reminds us that there’s a place for outsiders in Canada. Canada and the Netherlands have been keeping up with each other in the medal table. Canada has also won gold in curling, freestyle skiing, figure skating and bobsleighing.

We’ve also been getting plenty of snow over here. There were a couple of weeks when we’d be busy shovelling snow at least three days in a row – a job that easily takes up to four hours to finish. Looking out of the window, I can see the snow in heaps along the driveway. But we’re currently experiencing a few warmer days, so it’s all slowly melting away. (2538)

Angelle van Kleef,

Grower of potted plants, Ontario, Canada



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