Peterborough Ag News banner

Thanks to our Supporters

Land Use Policy and Planning

On Farm Diversified Uses

The land uses and activities that are permitted on farmland are governed by local municipal Official Plans, and the detailed regulatory Bylaws that are created to implement them. In Peterborough County, the Peterborough County Official Plan generally applies to all townships, subject to some specific exceptions. 

In the latter half of 2021, the farm community will be invited to participate in consultations concerning various policies that affect farmland, that are to be included in the new Peterborough County Official Plan. See the resolution below. The County’s new Official Plan is expected to be finalized and approved by County Council in 2022. 

On Farm Diversified Uses (OFDUs) is a relatively new term that is used throughout Ontario to describe a variety of “commercial” and “industrial” type uses that are secondary to the primary agricultural use of a farm property.  The types of uses permitted as On Farm Diversified Uses are broader, and larger in size, than Home Based Businesses and Home Based Industries, and Accessory Uses. Municipalities are not required to include On Farm Diversified Uses policies in their Official Plans, but they may do so in accordance with “Guidelines” published by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs in 2016. 

The Ministry’s “Guidelines on Permitted Uses in Ontario's Prime Agricultural Areas - Publication 851”, may be accessed at:

The content of Official Plan policies which direct how farmland may be used in the future, including what uses are permitted, and the approval process that must be followed to permit non-agricultural uses such as “On Farm Diversified Uses” to be established on farm properties, are extremely important to protecting the future of the agricultural land base in the County. Local research has identified that the amount of farmland in production in Peterborough County has been declining for the past 40 years. At the same time, the recent pandemic has highlighted the important role that County farms play in supplying our local and regional communities with food and farm products.

Read more about Peterborough County farmland and farmers in the following local research report : Farmland, Farmers and Food Production in Peterborough County Version 3.0, May 2017  

Watch for more information regarding how you can participate in deciding how the County of Peterborough’s new Official Plan can best support farmers.

Links will be posted here, and will be included in Peterborough Ag News e-blasts. If you have not yet signed up for the Peterborough Ag News, use the Subscribe button on left side of this page.

July 7 2021- Update #1

You are invited to an all-farmers meeting July 14 at 7 PM via Zoom. The event is free. For complete details and to register, visit:

July 21 2021 - Update #2

Didn't make the July 14 meeting on On-Farm Diversified Uses and the County Official Plan?

Watch the video here:

October 14, 2022 - Update #3

A presentation was made to the Official Plan Technical Advisory Committee by a small group who have been working this issue: Steve Brackenridge, Elmer Buchanan, Judy Coward and Pat Learmonth. The County was encouraged to consult with the farm community in a timely way prior to finalizing the Plan.

January 2022 - Update #4

The draft new Official Plan has been released and consultation is expected with the agricultural community in spring 2022. Planscape Land Use Planning Consultants has been contracted to review the Plan from an agricultural perspective, paid for by the Peterborough County Federation of Agriculture. A report is due shortly.

February 2022 - Update #5

The Report from Planscape Land Use Planning Consultants has been received. It can be found here:

 A Zoom meeting is planned for February 21 at 7PM and is open to all. Register until Friday, February 18th here: