Ontario Newsroom

Great Lakes Agricultural Stewardship

Archived News Release

Great Lakes Agricultural Stewardship

Helping Ontario Farmers Keep the Great Lakes Healthy

The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing $4 million annually over the next four years to help farmers improve soil health and promote environmental stewardship.

The Great Lakes Agricultural Stewardship Initiative, targeted to the Lake Erie basin and the southeast shores of Lake Huron, will provide cost-share funding to:

  • Identify ways producers can improve soil health, reduce run-off, and improve pollinator habitat
  • Modify equipment to address risks related to manure application and pollinator health
  • Adopt best management practices, including soil erosion control structures, cover crops, residue management, buffer and shelter strips

The program will also support demonstration farms and technical training for service providers, and education including local workshops.

The Great Lakes Agricultural Stewardship Initiative is part of Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a comprehensive federal-provincial-territorial framework aimed at encouraging innovation, competitiveness and market development in Canada's agri-food and agri-products sector.

Supporting our agricultural industry is part of the government's economic plan for Ontario. The four part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people's talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives, and building a secure savings plan so everyone can afford to retire.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario farmers have made significant contributions to environmental stewardship, completing more than 23,500 on-farm improvement projects since 2005 with support from various federal-provincial government programs.
  • On December 19, 2014, Ontario approved the new Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality. In that agreement, both Canada and Ontario commit to creating action plans to reduce the impact of excess nutrients on the water quality of Lake Erie.
  • The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association will deliver the Great Lakes Agricultural Stewardship Initiative on behalf of the federal and provincial governments.

Additional Resources


“Our government is committed to helping farmers improve soil health and make their businesses more environmentally sound to boost our economy, now and for the long term. This investment will provide Ontario farmers with agricultural best practices to help them address risks and improve their bottom line.”

Gerry Ritz

Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

“Ontario farmers are investing in the future of agriculture and the sustainability of our province’s diverse ecosystem. Since 2005, Ontario farmers have completed more than 23,500 on-farm environmental improvement projects. This initiative helps the federal and provincial governments build on their work and makes a collaborative effort towards future improvements in soil health and environmental stewardship.”

Jeff Leal

Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

“We see the nutrient issues facing Great Lakes water quality and recognize that voluntary actions in agriculture should be part of the solution. Farm families have a strong track record of committing to learn about environmental practices and contributing considerable effort to introduce necessary change. The funding announced today is welcomed by farmers and sends a clear signal that society is willing to lend a hand.”

Alan Kruszel

President, Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association

Media Contacts

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Media Relations


  • Jeff English

    Communications Director, The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz


  • Bryan Bossin

    The Office of the Honourable Jeff Leal


  • Susin Micallef

    Ministry Communications Branch




Rural and North