New Research Seeks to Increase Production for Ontario Asparagus Farmers

Hybrid seed to help grow local markets

January 24, 2014, Simcoe, Ontario – Diane Finley, the Member of Parliament for Haldimand-Norfolk and Minister Responsible for Southwestern Ontario, announced today, on behalf of her colleague Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, that the Harper Government is investing up to $512,700 into research to help grow local asparagus markets. This project, funded under Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s AgriInnovation Program, will improve the amount of asparagus, its quality, and help in making the crops more resistant to disease.

With increased demand for “local” Ontario asparagus in recent years and proximity to large markets in the eastern United States, new seed varieties will help to meet the needs of the expanding industry lower production costs and boost competitiveness in the region.

Quick Facts

  • This non-repayable contribution will help Asparagus Farmers of Ontario develop new hybrids that can be grown in Ontario, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Saskatchewan.
  • This project will provide growers with reasonably priced seeds in a timely manner, which will improve the Canadian asparagus sector’s profitability and competitiveness.
  • The AgriInnovation Program is a five-year, up to $698 million initiative under the Growing Forward 2 policy framework, and is designed to accelerate the pace of innovation by supporting research and development activities in agri-innovations.


“Our government remains committed to our farmers and the success of the agricultural sector. Asparagus is an extremely important crop for us in southwestern Ontario, and this investment will help increase our competitiveness both here in Canada, and abroad.”

Diane Finley
MP for Haldimand-Norfolk, Minister responsible for Southwestern Ontario, Minister of Public Works and Government Services 

“The Asparagus Farmers of Ontario has a long-standing and productive partnership with the University of Guelph. We have supported Dr. Dave Wolyn’s asparagus breeding program for almost two decades and the industry has benefitted greatly from the release of Millennium, a superior cold-weather variety. The funding announced through AAFC’s AgriInnovation Fund will allow the breeding program to continue to support a competitive Ontario asparagus industry into the future.”

Bernt (Bernie) Solymár
Executive Director of Asparagus Farmers of Ontario (AFO)

Associated Links

Growing Forward 2 – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)

AgriInnovation Program – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)


Kayla Iafelice
Deputy Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of the Public Works and Government Services

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada