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beef cowAgriculture is a key aspect of life in Kawartha Lakes. The economic activity generated by agriculture and related businesses, through employment as well as the buying and selling of goods and services significantly strengthens our communities.

The major commodity groups, based on percentage of total gross farm receipts, include:

  • beef cattle
  • dairy
  • soybeans
  • corn
  • wheat and other grains and oilseeds
  • sheep and goats

Every dollar worth of agricultural products sold adds $2.20 to our regional economy.

Physical characteristics of the area are suited to livestock operations requiring forage and pasturelands but all commodities benefit from a strong agricultural service network.

The agricultural economy in Kawartha Lakes is made up not only of farms but also of related businesses, including manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers. The Agri-food System benefits from many service and support businesses such as feed and farm supply, large animal veterinarians, farm equipment and financial services.

An Agricultural Impact and Development Study was completed in 2006 and has been followed by the Kawartha Lakes Agricultural Action Plan released in the fall of 2010. In December 2019, Council endorsed the Kawartha Lakes Agriculture and Food Action Plan 2020-2024, Farmers to Consumers: Growing Success 2.0.

Agriculture Production Profile

Why is agriculture important? 

Aside from the nutritional value of food, agriculture is important to people, the economy, and our heritage. The goods and services produced by agriculture and food industries account for about 8% of Canada's gross domestic product. 


The City of Kawartha Lakes is home to approximately 1,146 farms according to the 2021 Census. There are 1,610 farm operators (including 897 paid employees) with 1,060 aged 55 and over. and  An estimated 3,395 people employed in agri-food and related industries. 


There are 1,146 farms in Kawartha Lakes with a Total Farm Area of 277,793 acres. That is made up of 162,662 acres in crop production and 16,664 acres in pasture, according to the 2021 Census. This represents a 10.2% loss of farm acres (3.3% decrease in the land in crop production as well as a 34% drop in the acres used for pasture) since 2016.

Despite a slight drop in the number of farms and a significant loss of farm area, sales of farm products in Kawartha Lakes continue to increase.  In 2020, total gross farm receipts(sales) reached more than $181.4 million, up from $149 million in 2015. This represents a 21.3% increase in sales receipts. During the same period however there was a 25.7% increase in business operating expenses. Also increasing was the capitalization of farms in Kawartha Lakes. There were 751 farms (65% of farms in Kawartha Lakes) with more than one million dollars of capitalization, which is up by 262 farms from 2016. Overall, there has been a 44% increase in farm capital in just the past 5 years.

Kawartha Lakes farms are still primarily family businesses; 99.1% are either sole proprietorships or partnerships or family corporations, and only 0.9% of farms are non-family corporations.

Source: Census of Agriculture 2021

Farmland values 

Farm Credit Canada has released its annual provincial and national overview of land value trends across Canada. Values in the province have continually risen since 1988.

Ontario's overall farmland values increase of 4.4% was fueled by high demand for a limited amount of available land, expansion of supply-managed farm operations and strong demand for farmland to grow cash crops throughout the province.

The FCC Farmland Values Report provides an annual provincial and national overview of recent land value trends across Canada. 


This area was originally surveyed and cleared for agriculture in the early 1800s. European settlers established mixed farms on these lands and many of today's farmers are descendants of the original settlers to this area. Kawartha Lakes has grown to include two world-class seed production facilities and two large independent family owned dairy processing businesses.

As a regional center for farm marketing and farm supply, we continue to pursue diverse and value-added agricultural opportunities.

Fast facts about Kawartha Lakes agriculture

  • two independent family owned dairy processing business, including:
    • Kawartha Dairy Limited (cow milk and cow milk ice cream)
    • Mariposa Dairy Limited (goat milk fresh cheeses and artisanal hard goat and sheep milk cheeses)
  • home to DLF Canada Inc., a world-class seed production facility
  • regional centre for farm marketing with a livestock sale barn and large commercial grain elevators
  • regional centre for farm supply with all major farm machinery dealers present, dairy supply company, etc...
  • pursuing diverse and value added agricultural opportunities
  • biggest community pasture in Ontario 

Statistics from the 2021 Census of Agriculture

  • farms (all farms reporting): 1,146
  • land area used for farming: 277,793 acres
  • average Farm Size: 242 acres
  • natural land for pasture: 49,014 acres
  • gross farm receipts: $181,437,003
  • average age of operators with two or more operators: 56 years
  • 4,306 dairy cows on 64 farms
  • 43,861 beef cattle on 616 farms
  • 12,518 sheep on 79 farms
  • 7,098 goats on 57 farms

Source: Statistics Canada 2021 Census of Agriculture

Agriculture Programs and Projects

Agriculture and Food Action Plan 2020-2024

The Kawartha Lakes Agriculture and Food Action Plan 2020-2024 will help guide the sector through the coming years.

Our vision:"The agricultural community of farms and agri-businesses in the City of Kawartha Lakes is a dynamic, economic, social and environmental driver. Agriculture is an integral component of the City; one that successfully optimizes resources and people to achieve a community that is innovative, diverse, balanced, sustainable and prosperous, and has the world as its market."The Plan includes short, medium and long-term initiatives as well as well as current and committed activities, and intends to be implemented as a community-wide collaborative initiative involving many municipal departments, agricultural organizations, agencies and other levels of government.

Bale wrap recycling 

Visit our Landfills page for information about our bale wrap recycling program.

Export Market Development

Leading Livestock Genetics (LLG) Breeders Alliance is a livestock export initiative supported by the City of Kawartha Lakes and the Region of Durham. The Alliance was formed in 2013 with the intent of improving profitability, herd health, marketing experience, and expanding global market opportunities through effective marketing, education, research and promotion and promotes the export of superior livestock genetics from this area.

Food Coalition

Kawartha Lakes Food Coalition logo

Visit our Kawartha Lakes Food Coalition page to learn more about how we are working to ensure a just and sustainable food system. You can also read the Kawartha Lakes Food Charter

Food Hub Feasibility Study

The Kawartha Lakes Food Hub Feasibility Study was conducted by Werry Co. in 2014/2015 with funding from the Ontario government's Local Food Fund.

A food hub supports the local food economy and facilitates collaboration & coordination between agri-food industry stakeholders.

The Study looked at:

  • the state of the Kawartha Lakes agri-food sector
  • local food volumes, stakeholder commitment and market demand
  • asset mapping of inventory, supply and demand,
  • potential stakeholders/collaborators, growth, and economic value
  • potential for other market opportunities and value-added products

The proposed Kawartha Lakes Food Hub is intended to help meet the demand within the community for local food, while providing a reliable market and consistency of revenue for farmers. By creating an aggregation and distribution point, it makes it easier to source larger quantities of locally grown foods from farmers.

Kawartha Choice FarmFresh

Kawartha Choice FarmFresh logo

Kawartha Choice FarmFresh is a local food brand program to identify farmers, chefs, retailers, farmers' markets and food service providers who focus on promoting farm products grown or produced in the City of Kawartha Lakes and Peterborough County and City. Visit the Kawartha Choice FarmFresh website to find local food or become a member.

Municipal Address (911) Field Entrance Signs

Farm accidents often happen in remote locations. Following an accident, every second counts - but without a clear address marker at a field entrance, it can be difficult for first responders to find the people who need help. Many farmers are choosing to add a municipal address sign at field entrances. A Kawartha Lakes Municipal Address Sign Request Form can be found within the Building Permit page within the My Property tab of this website, where instructions and related fees are noted.

Tile Loan Program

The installation of tile drainage is a common practice among Ontario farmers. Studies have shown it increases crop productivity and farm efficiency while reducing environmental impacts.  The Tile Drainage Act provides agricultural property owners with loans to assist them in financing tile drainage projects.  The Tile Loan Program is a partnership between municipalities and the province. 

Agricultural landowners planning to install a tile drainage system can apply for a loan through the City. This is one way Kawartha Lakes supports our agricultural community. More information is available in our Tile Loan Policy.

Predation of livestock and poultry

Livestock and poultry producers are entitled to make claims to their local municipality for livestock or poultry injuries and kills due to predation by coyotes, dogs, wolves and other wildlife under the Ontario Wildlife Damage Compensation Program.

Visit our Animal Services page for more information.

Line fences 

The Line Fences Act provides a local method of arbitrating fencing disputes between neighbouring property owners.

The Act applies where one owner wants to build, repair or maintain a fence on a property boundary line, but is unable to reach agreement with the other owner on the type of fence and/or the sharing of the costs. 


  1. Talk to your neighbour about the type of fence you want to build and the reasons why you want the fence;
  2. Try to reach an agreement on sharing the costs;
  3. If a fence and share of cost cannot be agreed upon, you can start the process for requesting the Fence-Viewers to view the site and make an award by completing an 'Owner's Request for Fence-Viewers - Dispute' Form available at all Municipal Service Centres and at City Hall. Attach a diagram of the property to assist City staff and Fence-Viewers.
  4. The fee is $70.00 per Fence-Viewer per site visit, plus mileage at the City's prevailing rate plus an administration fee. Three Fence-Viewers are required to view the site. Parties involved are responsible for paying these fees; the percentage to be paid by each party is determined by the Fence-Viewers as part of their award. The Fence-Viewers cannot determine the location of the boundary between two properties. This is a civil matter and may require a survey and the advice of lawyers.
  5. If an owner is dissatisfied with the Fence-Viewers Award, they may file an appeal within 15 days of receiving a certified copy of the award. An award is deemed to have been received seven days after being sent by registered mail. A cheque or money order to cover the appeal fee, payable to the "Minister of Finance", must accompany the appeal. The appeal fee increases each year. For the current appeal fee, visit the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing website. Contact the City Clerk's Office if you require further information on appealing an award.

Contact the City Clerk's Office:

Office of the City Clerk

26 Francis Street, P.O. Box 9000

Lindsay, ON K9V 4R5

Phone: (705) 324-9411 extension 1341 or 1342

E-Mail the Clerks Office

Municipal and agricultural drains

Most municipal drains are either ditches or closed systems such as pipes or tiles buried in the ground. They can also include structures such as dykes or berms, pumping stations, buffer strips, grassed waterways, storm water detention ponds, culverts and bridges. Even some creeks and small rivers are now considered municipal drains. Municipal drains are primarily located in rural agricultural areas of the province.

Most municipal drains were built to improve the drainage of agricultural land by serving as the discharge point for private agricultural tile drainage systems. However, they also remove excess water collected by roadside ditches, residential lots, churches, schools, industrial lands, commercial lands and any other properties in rural areas.

Source: Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs

Nutrient management information 

Plant nutrients, found in manure and chemical fertilizers, are essential to a farm operation. When applied in proper quantities and at appropriate times, nutrients help achieve optimum crop yields. However, improper use of nutrients can cause water quality problems. The objective of nutrient management is to use nutrients (mainly nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) wisely for optimum economic benefit, while minimizing impact on the environment.

Contact the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs for more information about nutrient management.

The Ontario Building Code Act, 2006, (OBC) is the main regulation governing farm building construction in Ontario. Buildings used to house animals or store manure are also regulated under the Nutrient Management Act, 2002 (NMA). These regulations and others need to be considered when planning to build or renovate any farm structure. For all agricultural construction projects, the farm owner is responsible for obtaining a building permit.

If you are building or renovating a farm structure in Kawartha Lakes, contact our Building Division.

Agricultural funding opportunities

2016 Livestock Tax Deferral 

Kawartha Lakes producers are eligible for the "Livestock Tax Deferral" provision, allowing farmers who sell part of their breeding herd due to drought the ability to defer a portion of the proceeds of the sale to the next tax year. Each year, a list of designated regions prescribed as drought and/or excess moisture and flood regions is announced.

To defer income, the breeding herd must have been reduced by at least 15%. As much as 30% of income from net sales can be deferred if the breeding herd has been reduced by at least 15%, but less than 30%. Where the herd has been reduced by 30% or more, 90% of income from net sales can be deferred.

Cost-Share Funding Programs

Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association delivers several cost-share funding programs that support Ontario’s farmers in implementing best management and sustainability practices on their farms.

Kawartha Lakes Farm Stewardship Fund

Agricultural landowners in Kawartha Lakes are eligible for funding for projects addressing nutrient and soil loss, cropland and shoreline erosion, manure storage runoff, livestock access to watercourses, and more. Projects are assessed for eligibility at a site visit and applications are reviewed and approved by the Review Committee on an as-needed basis.

The Kawartha Lakes Farm Stewardship Fund is only available until the end of 2017 or until funding runs out, so contact Kawartha Conservation to set up a site visit today. Funding is provided by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). 

Other Funding 

Other funding opportunities may be available. Check out the funding page for more information

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