Agricultural System for
the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH)
The Province recognizes the importance of protecting agricultural
land, supporting economic viability and managing growth. In 2017,
the government released updated provincial
land use plans for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) which
contain new Agricultural System policies and references. The goal
is to consistently protect farmland across the GGH and support the
viability of the agri-food sector.
Agricultural System Resources
These resources help to implement the Agricultural System:
Procedures for the Agricultural System in Ontario's Greater Golden
- Agricultural Land Base
- Summary of the Agricultural
System and Natural Heritage System Policies in Ontario's Provincial
Registry Posting for the Agricultural System (013-0968);
download GIS data of the agricultural land base, go to Land Information
Economic Development Resource
As an additional resource to implement the Agricultural System,
OMAFRA's Agricultural Economic Development: A Resource Guide
for Communities publication helps economic development
and land use planning practitioners, municipal councils and community
leaders foster the economic prosperity and viability of the agri-food
sector. An extended version of this resource guide is available
on request in English and French from OMAFRA's Agricultural
Information Contact Centre.
OMAFRA's methodology for mapping the agricultural land base is
described in the implementation
procedures document. Additional technical detail is available
in the Agricultural System Mapping Method report. This report is
available on request in English and French from the Agricultural
Information Contact Centre.
May be refined or augmented by municipalities, consistent with
the implementation procedures, when they undertake their comprehensive
official plan reviews.
Help municipalities make informed land use planning and economic
development decisions that implement provincial land use plan policies
and strengthen the agri-food sector across the GGH.
- More than 60 maps on agricultural production, land use, infrastructure,
agri-food assets and services.
- Identifies clusters of agri-food activity and to promote economic
growth of the sector.
- Can be used in Agricultural Impact Assessments.
- Will be updated as new information is added.
- Additional agricultural information is available in the Agricultural
FAQs on the Agricultural System
What is an Agricultural System?
- The Province has identified an Agricultural System for the Greater
Golden Horseshoe. It aims to protect a continuous, productive
land base for agriculture across municipalities, as well as provide
support for the agri-food supply chain the sector depends on.
- The development of an Agricultural System for the Greater Golden
Horseshoe is one of the recommendations that came out of the Coordinated
Plan Review for the four provincial land use plans.
- The system is comprised of two components, the agricultural
land base and the agri-food network.
- The agricultural land base consists of prime agricultural areas,
including specialty crop areas, and rural lands that together
create a continuous productive land base for agriculture. This
mapping can be refined when municipalities update their official
- The agri-food network includes regional infrastructure and transportation
networks, on-farm buildings and infrastructure, agricultural services,
farm markets, distributors and primary processing, and vibrant,
agriculture-supportive communities that are important to the viability
of the agri-food sector.
The Agricultural System approach recognizes that land use
planning alone cannot address all of the challenges facing agriculture.
Protecting the agricultural land base is also linked to economic
development and access to a robust agri-food network (e.g. cold
storage facilities, abattoirs, food processors, grain dryers, distribution
Who did OMAFRA consult with and how?
- To develop the Agricultural System approach, OMAFRA consulted
with municipalities, Indigenous communities, agricultural organizations,
the development sectors, environmental groups and a "sounding
board" group, through various means such as open houses,
webinars, meetings, discussions with First Nations and Métis
communities and a 92 day environmental registry posting.
How does the Agricultural System tie in with the overall goal
to protect farmland in the Greater Golden Horseshoe?
- The province, municipalities and other stakeholders will collaborate
to implement Agricultural System policies, including identifying
and protecting a continuous, productive land base for agriculture
across municipalities and supporting the agri-food supply chain
the sector depends on.
Are there plans to expand the Agricultural System into other areas
of the province?
- At this time, the Agricultural System is being implemented in
the GGH. Communities outside the GGH may consider taking an Agricultural
System approach in their area as a best practice.
Quick Tips for Using the Agricultural System Portal
What information does this portal contain?
- The portal displays crop production and livestock production
densities, plus a wide range of infrastructure such as transportation
infrastructure and drainage, as well as services such as meat
processors. Agri-food infrastructure and assets are mapped such
as grain elevators. The origin of the data for each mapping layer
is stated in parentheses in the legend. The main sources of data
are: the Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance (GHFFA), Statistics
Canada (Census of Agriculture), OMAFRA, and Agriculture and Agri-Food
How can users of the portal explore the information they are interested
- The Google Chrome internet browser is recommended for viewing
- The portal and layers may take several minutes to load so please
- The portal contains additional user tips on the left side of
Is it possible to print maps and legends from the portal?
- Yes, all map layers and combinations of layers can be printed
or saved as a PDF.
- Legends can be viewed by clicking on the legend button (looks
like a bulleted list). A snipping tool can be taken to capture
the legend and add it to maps.
How do I obtain data from the portal?
- Municipalities may obtain detailed asset mapping data from the
- Some of the data used is open data and specific requests can
be made to OMAFRA.
- Other requests may be made to Statistics Canada and Agriculture
and Agri-food Canada.
For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300