The Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario (ARIO) is a corporate body that reports directly to the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. It was created in 1962 by the ARIO Act to:

  • advocate areas of research for the betterment of agriculture, veterinary medicine and consumer studies
  • increase the production efficiency and marketing of agricultural products by stimulating interest in research.

Mission statement

ARIO, as appointed representatives of the agri-food sector, are dedicated to the strategic use of science and innovation to enhance the sustainability and profitability of Ontario's agri-food and rural sectors.


Provides strategic advice, advocacy and leadership

ARIO provides advice to the minister on strategic directions for research and innovation activities that contribute to prosperous, competitive and sustainable agricultural and food sectors and rural communities in Ontario.

ARIO is also an advocate for the future of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs' (OMAFRA) research system.

Research property management

Research stations and infrastructure are an important platform for conducting agri-food research. ARIO owns 14 research properties located across Ontario. These facilities provide the capacity for research on a wide variety of agri-food issues.

An ARIO-led reinvestment strategy is currently being implemented to revitalize research infrastructure to support demand-driven research. Learn more about the properties.



The ARIO director of research administers the business and affairs of ARIO and is appointed to the position by the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

Appointed members

ARIO is comprised of up to 15 members who reflect the broad-based nature of Ontario's agri-tech industry such as:

  • farmers
  • agri-business and rural partners
  • researchers

The institute members are committed to:

  • excellence and innovation in agri-food and rural research
  • relevance of research to needs of industry and society
  • efficient, well-informed decision making
  • ethical research practices


A director from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada serves as ex-officio to ARIO. They give ARIO a federal perspective about research activities across Canada.

2022–2023 members

MemberAppointment dateExpiry date
Mr. Lorne Hepworth (chair)January 18, 2019January 25, 2025
Ms. Rose Marie Gage (vice chair)September 10, 2014March 8, 2024
Dr. Gord SurgeonerJune 2, 2005March 12, 2025
Mr. Evert VeldhuizenJanuary 2, 2019January 1, 2025
Dr. Pascal MichelEx-officioN/A
David JenkinsNovember 30, 2020November 29, 2023
Nevin McDougallNovember 30, 2020November 29, 2023
David McInnesNovember 30, 2020November 29, 2023
Dr. Youbin ZhengJanuary 21, 2021January 20, 2024
Ms. Jennifer DoelmanMarch 8, 2021March 7, 2024
Denise HockadayJuly 8, 2021July 7, 2024

Secretariat support

The Research and Innovation Branch of the ministry provides secretariat support to ARIO and administers research programs on behalf of ARIO. The following staff play a key role:

Greg Wootton, ARIO director of research

Jen Liptrot, director, Research and Innovation Branch

Documents and reports

Open data inventory

Under Ontario's Open Data Directive, provincial agencies are required to post a public data inventory of the data sets they create, collect and/or manage.

View the ARIO data inventory.