Young Producer Resources

Young Producer Resources

Find below numerous links to helpful resources and guides that can help you as you move forward as a young beef producer in Ontario.

  1. Start-Up Costs
  2. Contracting vs. Cash Marketing of Finished Cattle
  3. Personal Financial Plans
  4. Succession Plans
  5. Mentorship Opportunities
  6. Starting Your Own Herd
  7. Grant/Funding Availability
  8. Precon Sales & Protocol
  9. Beef Nutrition & Economics of Growth Stages
  10. bfoUP Young Producer Webinars

General Production Links

Find numerous beef production links on the Beef Cattle Research Council website.


  1. Start-Up Costs


Ontario Beef Breeder Cooperative Program

The Ontario Beef Breeder Co-operative Program is a program supported by the Beef Farmers of Ontario. Eight co-operatives have been formed in various regions of the province to provide members with loans to purchase beef breeding females.

Ontario Feeder Cattle Loan Guarantee Program

The Ontario Feeder Cattle Loan Guarantee Program supports the operation of 16 Feeder Cattle Co-operatives across the province. Each Feeder Cattle Co-operative is operated by a Board of Directors who negotiates a credit limit with a lender in order to assist members with the purchase of cattle for further feeding. Members may also be eligible for free interest on a portion of their loan.

Decision Making Tools for Various Production Costs

The tools provided on this resource can help you make specific production decisions that suit your operation.

How many cows do you need to be a viable operation?

How many beef cows you need to have a viable operation is an often asked question. It is also a tough question to answer since every farm has a unique set of circumstances, asset base and management style.

Calf Prices – How much did last summer’s cows in ideal condition earn?

Because cows maintained with an ideal layer of fat cover will have higher reproductive efficiency, they positively impact an operation’s economics. Sorting and feeding groups based on body condition helps avoid over-feeding cows in adequate condition, particularly when only part of the herd needs extra feed.


  1. Contracting vs. Cash Marketing of Finished Cattle

Beef Farmers of Ontario Market Information

Beef Farmers of Ontario provides a timely market reporting service for Ontario beef farmers and industry stakeholders. Information is provided primarily by Ontario auction markets, packing plants, the DTN service and Canfax

Breakeven Calculator – Beef Farmers of Ontario

This page provides a standard framework for calculating break-evens. Entry values provided with defaults can be over-ridden based on your own farming practices.

Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada - Forward Contracting

In Ontario, fed cattle are often sold either on a live-weight basis (direct to packer or through salesbarn) or on a forward cash contract based on a set price. A forward contract is a legal, binding commitment between a buyer and a seller. It guarantees a price for a set amount and quality of cattle to be delivered to the packer within a set time period. When used properly, forward contracting can reduce price risk.
To calculate a rail price from a live price, take the live price and divide it by an assumed 60% yield (ex. $1.50/lb live weight / 0.60 = $2.50/lbs carcass weight).

Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada -Dressing Percentage

Dressing percentage is one of many factors affecting the value of a slaughter animal. Dressing percentage is the hot carcass weight divided by live weight multiplied by 100 (ex. 900lbs hot carcass weight/ 1500lbs live weight X 100 = 60%). A basic knowledge of dressing percentage is important in understanding fed cattle pricing systems and pricing variability. This module explains why dressing percentage is important and discusses the factors that affect it.

Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada - Price Slides

When feeder cattle prices are quoted, animals are typically classed by gender and weight. The relationship between price and weight varies seasonally and over time. Regular or average cattle price changes within a year are captured by the price seasonality concept. A “price slide” is often used to adjust for the differences between the actual weight of the cattle and the base weight on which a base price is established. These two factors affect the final price the seller (buyer) would receive (pay) for the finished cattle. The concepts are explored in greater depth in this module.

OMAFRA - Cattle Shrink

A “pencil shrink” is often calculated on cattle at the time of sale to account for the projected weight loss due to stress of transportation and cattle being off feed. Because shrink can greatly impact the saleable pounds you are selling, it needs to be understood and taken into consideration in pricing negotiations.


  1. Personal Financial Plans

Starting a Farm in Ontario – Business Information Bundle for New Farmers; OMAFRA

If you are a new farmer the best way to understand where you want to go in the short and long term is by developing a business plan. A business plan will also be required if you are going to seek financing for your new farm enterprise from a bank or other lending institution. A business plan is made up of a: business strategy, marketing plan, production plan, human resources plan, financial plan, and considers social responsibility.

Preparing Business Plans; OMAFRA

A business plan is a critical management tool for the creation or expansion of any business. It is a game plan - a concise, written record of objectives and how to obtain them. It describes, at a minimum, a product or service, customers, competition, management and financial arrangements. It should also outline production and marketing plans.

Farm Business Advisors; OMAFRA

The National Farm Business Advisor Database is designed to help farmers and farm businesses and provides information on farm business advisors and their associations and organizations.

National Farm Business Management Resource Centre

The National Farm Business Management Resource Centre provides Canadian farmers with access to tools and learning opportunities to support farm business development.

Starting Your Farm Business; Agri-Food Management Institute

Whether you're taking over the family farm, starting your own operation from scratch or exploring a new career in farming, taking things back to the basics to strategically plan for your future is essential. These tools and resources will help you assess your current situation and outline what steps you should take before making big decisions, investments or changes.


  1. Succession Plans

Farm Succession Planning – Steps and Checklist; OMAFRA

There are many different ways to define succession planning. One approach is to think of it as a process occurring over time during which a family plans for the transfer of knowledge, skills, labour, management, control and ownership of the farm business between the founder (retiring) generation and the successor (next) generation. It involves the creation, preservation and ultimately the transfer of the farm business assets in order to achieve personal, family and business goals.

Farm Succession – Do’s and Don’ts; OMAFRA

Farm succession planning is a process that should be started sooner than later.

Tough questions have to be asked. Is there a potential successor? If yes, does he or she have the skills, abilities, knowledge and desire to successfully operate a sophisticated farm business in today’s agricultural economy? If there is no successor, what are the options? Is selling part or all of the farm assets an option? How long does the current operator(s) want to continue running the business? Only the individual(s) involved can answer these questions.

Here are some do’s and don’ts to help start the process.


  1. Mentorship Opportunities

Interested in connecting with someone who may be able to provide you with advice, input and feedback on the best ways of moving forward with your operation? Please contact Dan Ferguson, Jaclyn Horenberg or Bethany Storey and they will connect you with someone in your sector (cow-calf, backgrounding, feedlot).


Matches you with established farmers for mentoring relationships, business partnerships, employment or land transfers.


  1. Starting Your Own Herd

So you want to be a beef farmer?

The obstacles facing the next generation or a new entrant to the industry are significant. Find a quick list of ten points that cover many of the beef start-up issues.


  1. Grant/Funding Availability

Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP)

The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, $3 billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen the agriculture and agri-food sector. The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association is delivering CAP cost-share programs to producers and associated other agri-business operations.

The Partnership features:

  • simplified and streamlined programs and services that are easier to access
  • key enhancements to programs that help farmers manage significant risks that threaten the viability of their farm and are beyond their capacity to manage

Canadian Agricultural Loans Act Program

The Canadian Agricultural Loans Act (CALA) Program is a loan guarantee program designed to increase the availability of loans to farmers and agricultural co-operatives. Farmers can use these loans to establish, improve, and develop farms, while agricultural co-operatives may also access loans to process, distribute, or market the products of farming.

Advanced Payments Program

The Advance Payments Program (APP) is a Government of Canada program which supports the provision of cash advances to producers across Canada.

Forage Rainfall Plan

The forage rainfall plan uses rainfall as an indicator of quantity and quality of forage. Two coverage options are available:

  • Insufficient rainfall option
  • Excess rainfall option

Risk Management Program (RMP)

Ontario's Risk Management Program (RMP) helps producers manage risks beyond their control, like fluctuating costs and market prices.

Farm Credit Canada’s Young Farmer Loan

FCC creates products and services that meet the unique needs of the next generation of farmers. Customized financing through the Young Farmer Loan, under 40 events, plus tools and advice help take your business to the next level.


AgriStability provides support when you experience a large margin decline. You may be able to receive an AgriStability payment when your current year program margin falls below 70% of your reference margin.

AgriInsurance is a federal-provincial-producer cost-shared program that stabilizes a producer's income by minimizing the economic effects of production losses caused by natural hazards.

AgriInvest helps you manage small income declines, and provides support for investments to mitigate risks or improve market income.

Species at Risk Partnerships on Agricultural Land, OSCIA

Species at Risk Partnerships on Agricultural Lands (SARPAL) is an Environment and Climate Change Canada initiative that is focused on working with farmers to support the recovery of species at risk on agricultural land. SARPAL funds conservation actions currently focused on supporting 12 target Species at Risk.

  1. Precon Sales and Protocol – More to come

  2. Beef Nutrition & Economics of Growth Stages

Basic Beef Cattle Nutrition

The proper nutrition of beef cattle is a key component of a successful production system. Feed usually accounts for the single largest input cost associated with beef cattle. An understanding of the ruminant digestive process and basic nutrition is required for effective feeding and management.

Beef – Feeding and Nutrition

A variety of articles and links providing information on different ideas, options and issues when feeding beef cattle.

Feedlot Cattle Nutrition & Health:

Yo-Yo Diet Strategies

Getting weaned calves on feed can be a challenge. This is often attributed to the change from a forage-based diet to unfamiliar feedlot rations and feed bunks, distress from recent weaning, illness, etc. To compensate for this, some feeders use a relatively high-energy receiving diet, the rationale being that if they’re not going to eat much, each mouthful better pack a nutritional punch. But part of the challenge these calves face may be complications from feed deprivation during marketing and transportation. Recent research led by the University of Saskatchewan’s Greg Penner suggests that the rations fed both before and after feed restriction affect how well cattle cope with and recover from these challenges


Lameness is a common and costly problem in beef cattle. Of feedlot cattle treated for health problems, 16 percent was due to lameness (Tessilore et al, 2011). Lameness causes pain which is the debilitating stressor that reduces feed intake, causes loss of body condition and may reduce the animal’s resistance to infectious diseases.

Managing rumen health to improve productivity, BCRC Webinar

When the digestive system isn’t balanced and functioning properly, cattle’s feed intake and ability to utilize nutrients may decline, and the likelihood of health problems and carcass value discounts can increase. A better understanding of the rumen can help to prevent or resolve problem situations and manage feeding to economically meet production goals.

Cow-Calf Nutrition & Health:

Different approaches/same goal for winter management of heifers

The economic value of keeping heifers and the cow herd in good condition heading into winter, to calving and to next year’s breeding season is considerable. Some research comparing cattle with the mid-range (recommended) body condition score versus a low body condition score, showed the mid-range cattle had 10 per cent more live calves, calf weaning weights the next fall were 26 per cent higher, and the pregnancy rate among mid-condition cows came in at 92 per cent versus 79 per cent for lower condition females.

Preparing for Pasture Season

Pasture is an excellent, low cost means of feeding livestock, but it requires proper management of both the forage and the livestock.

Creep Feeding – From the Cow’s Perspective

When we think of creep feeding, we normally focus on the benefits from the calf’s perspective. There is no doubt that creep feeding benefits the calf and positively influences their saleable weight, but it also greatly benefits the cow.

Supplementing the Brood Cow

Accurate knowledge of your operation’s forage quality allows you to develop a feeding strategy to achieve desired production targets and to save on supplemental feed costs.

Better water = Bigger calves

A water source that is safe, palatable, and readily available is essential for animal survival, but there is also clear evidence that the accessibility of water impacts the productivity of cattle.

Less Complaining. More Gaining.

Calves that are fence-line weaned vocalize 50% less, walk less, and have higher weight gains in the first 10 weeks post weaning compared to conventionally weaned calves1

More Questions on Mineral Nutrition

You likely haven’t been the only one with questions in regards to your cows relationship with minerals. Get some of them answered in this article.

Managing a year round mineral program that’s right for you, BCRC Webinar

Some herds across Canada aren’t getting enough of some necessary minerals, and yours might be one of them.

If animals’ mineral needs are not met, the results are costly. Without adequate mineral intake, cow-calf producers will see poor performance, disease resistance and reproduction in their herds. Mineral requirements for cattle depend on their weight, age, and expected performance (maintenance vs. weight gain vs. pregnancy). Mineral supplementation needs also depend on the feed, water and soil chemistry around the herd.

Body Condition Scoring Beef Cattle

A Body Condition Score (BCS) describes the relative amount of fat an animal is carrying based on a 5-point scale. Body condition scoring is a hands-on process and is better than assessing visually because fat cover and long winter hair coats are deceiving. The process iseasy and quick.


  1. bfoUP Young Producer Webinars




























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