Lunch and Learn: Marketing Boards

Lunch and Learn: Marketing Boards

Few consumers are aware of the system in place which gets the raw materials for food from the farmer to them.

Even fewer still are aware of the number and variety of marketing boards that run the system which exists in Ontario.

The roots of the marketing board system may be traced to the development of the co-operative movement in the early part of this century.

Co-operatives were promoted as a means of enabling producers to band together to improve their strength in the market place.

There has been a recognition, for a very long time, that producers of agricultural products, by reason of their relatively small individual size and large numbers, are at a distinct disadvantage in dealing both with buyers of their products and sellers of their supplies.

Co-operatives were aimed at correcting this perceived inequity.

Through this mechanism, producers could gain the advantage of volume purchasing in buying their inputs and, hopefully, reduce the number of sellers of agricultural raw products, thereby, reducing the ability of dealers, wholesalers and others to play one farmer off against another to drive down farmers’ prices.

A History of Agricultural Marketing Legislation in Ontario

Approximately 60% of the value of all agricultural products produced by Ontario farms is marketed through 22 provincial marketing boards and 3 representative associations.


Marketing Boards can be categorized by ‘levels’, each with increasing regulations and authority:

  1. Promotional Boards
  2. Price Negotiating Boards
  3. Price Establishing Boards
  4. Supply Management with marketing quotas

Promotional Boards are restricted to organizing and financing research and promotional projects aimed at stimulating demand for the particular agricultural product.

For example, the Grain Farmers of Ontario (Level 1) was created in 2008 as a merger of:

  • Ontario Corn Producers’ Association (former Level 1: Promotional Board)
  • Ontario Soybean Growers Marketing Board (former Level 2: Negotiating Board)
  • Ontario Wheat Producers’ Marketing Board (former Level 3: Price Establishing Board)
  • and Barley and Oat Growers (Level 1) were added in 2015.

Videos from the Grain Farmers of Ontario (Promotional Board):


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