Helping Farmers to Help the Environment
Governments support actions by farmers to benefit Lake Erie watershed
TORONTO — The governments of Canada and Ontario are helping more farmers take action to make their operations more environmentally sustainable and to boost water quality in the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watersheds.
Responding to increased demand by farmers interested in taking on projects to reduce phosphorus entering waterways connected to Lake Erie, the governments have increased funding to support their efforts to improve farming methods and better protect the environment. Through the Lake Erie Agriculture Demonstrating Sustainability (LEADS) initiative, under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, more than 70 additional projects are receiving support - on top of the 270 projects already approved this year.
The governments have committed more than $3.3 million to support completion of these cost-shared projects by farmers.
Some examples of LEADS projects include:
- Planting overwintering cover crops to improve soil health and reduce soil erosion losses;
- Planting vegetation and trees to provide a buffer between agricultural operations and waterways; and
- Modifying equipment to improve management of agricultural nutrients and to reduce soil compaction.
"The environment is a top priority for our Government and we are committed to working with Ontario and its agriculture sector to protect water resources through on-farm environmental actions," said Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. "Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership we are investing in projects that support the adoption of sustainable practices and contribute to the health of our waterways."
"Our farmers have always been careful stewards of the land and our government is pleased to support them in their actions to protect what matters most, such as water quality in the Lake Erie watershed," said Ernie Hardeman, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. "Our government is committed to helping additional farmers make changes through LEADS that will make their operations even more environmentally sustainable."
To date, both the federal and provincial governments have committed cost-share support to more than 1,150 projects through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to help eligible Ontario farmers, processors, businesses and sector organizations innovate and grow.
- The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, $3-billion commitment by Canada's federal, provincial and territorial governments that supports Canada's agri-food and agri-products sectors.
- The Lake Erie Agriculture Demonstrating Sustainability (LEADS) initiative is available to farmers in the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watershed areas to support their actions to reduce the risk of nutrient loss and to improve farmland soil health.
- The LEADS cost-share funding program has a continuous application process, with applications accepted until annual funding is fully allocated.
- More than 225 projects were completed under the LEADS initiative in 2018, with investments under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership of more than $2 million.
- LEADS is delivered by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA). Contact the OSCIA about LEADS at 1-800-265-9751 or via LEADS@ontariosoilcrop.org.
- LEADS supports the Canada-Ontario Lake Erie Action Plan and aligns with the Made-in-Ontario Environmental Plan.
- Lake Erie is the shallowest and most biologically productive of the Great Lakes, making it more susceptible to harmful blue-green and nuisance algal blooms.