Rural Agri-Innovation Network

The Rural Agri-Innovation Network (RAIN) is a division of the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC) with support from local producers, businesses, communities, and funding organizations. RAIN’s vision is to build a resilient farm and food sector in northern Ontario through innovative research and agriculture development projects.

RAIN works alongside local collaborators to:

  • Build relationships between producers, businesses, and the community through networking, collaboration and priority setting.
  • Build capacity of local producers and businesses in agriculture and food through practical workshops, sharing information, and assisting with market development.
  • Undertake research tailored to the needs of local producers and sharing research that is accessible and improves the region’s bio-science sector.

Hayfield sunrise-editedMission
RAIN is dedicated to the needs of agricultural organizations, producers, suppliers and agri-entrepreneurs in Northern Ontario; to enhance the industry by providing a collaborative infrastructure and network that enhances stakeholder capabilities and business growth.

RAIN’s vision is to connect Algoma’s agriculture community through knowledge, innovation, and marketing to maximize the value of rural based crops, commodities, value-added products and services, while facilitating the economic and cultural sustainability of Northern Ontario agriculture.

What does RAIN do?
RAIN works closely with producers, suppliers, entrepreneurs, Aboriginal and agricultural organizations to implement and execute innovative solutions for region-specific issues facing the industry.

Research and Development

  • Research new crops, livestock diversification, and value-added opportunities driven by the Northern environment, economy and market;
  • Facilitate crop trials and other studies specific to the conditions of Northern Ontario;
  • Identify and implement potential product development and technology transfer pilot projects.

Echo Bay site Saul Dave-edited

Business Development

Provide producers and related businesses assistance with:

  • Market analysis and development;
  • Business plan preparation;
  • Client/industry specific needs assessments and project implementation plans;
  • Regulatory and approvals processes;
  • Identifying and applying for funding sources;
  • Organizing rural entrepreneurial training.

Networking Assistance

  • Help create and sponsor activities/events for rural organizations’ members, private and public sector, and general public;
  • Develop a network of idea exchange;
  • Develop stronger relationships with provincial research organizations and universities.

For more information on RAIN, please visit:

Or contact David Thompson, RAIN Project Coordinator:, 705-942-7927 x3027