Improving Ontario Soil Health Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership
Federal and Provincial Governments Support Projects Using Precision Agriculture Technologies
TORONTO - The governments of Canada and Ontario are supporting research that will help improve Ontario soil health while reducing phosphorous entering waterways.
Today, Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, and Ernie Hardeman, Ontario's Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, announced almost $240,000 in cost-share funding to enhance soil protection and support precision agriculture technology research under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership).
One project will see the Grain Farmers of Ontario receive over $60,000 to evaluate soil type, elevation, treatment and frost damage on cover cropping. This project will help grain growers increase their knowledge of innovative technologies and improve the adoption of cover crop management to help reduce phosphorous entering the Lake Erie watershed, and prove a concept of using precision agriculture technologies to facilitate field research.
"Our Government is investing in cutting-edge technology and research that help Canadian farmers adopt greener practices, including soil protection," said the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. "This commitment to sustainable solutions will help the industry as a whole continue to grow and prosper in the long term."
"From long-term to new users, we're committed to implementing systems and technology to protect the province's soil and water. This research will help develop the latest techniques and knowledge in managing soil health across the province," said Hardeman. "Our government is happy to invest in solutions that support best practices, so we can continue to protect our precious resources."
"By working together with the government and other interested groups, farmers are protecting our natural resources for future generations. This funding is another important way to support actions from farmers," said Keith Currie, President of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and Co-Chair of Environmental Collaboration Ontario. "Our livelihoods depend on healthy soil and clean water; protecting the environment in which we live and work is a critical priority for our sector."
"We are happy to partner with the provincial and federal governments through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to fund important soil health research," said Markus Haerle, Chair, Grain Farmers of Ontario. "We are pleased to see the emphasis and investment in soil health."
To date, both the federal and provincial governments have committed cost-share support to more than 2,000 projects through the Partnership to help eligible Ontario farmers, processors, businesses and sector organizations innovate and grow.
- Other projects to improve Ontario soil health include:
- The Ecological Farmers of Ontario will receive up to $26,724 to support and evaluate 11 farmer-led soil health Best Management Practices (BMPs). This will generate new knowledge to be shared around soil health BMPs.
- The Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association will receive up to $148,040 to evaluate the impact of current cultivation practices, as well as test new and existing organic amendments, to improve soil health.
- Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 barley, corn, oat, soybean and wheat farmers. The crops they grow cover six million acres of farm land across the province, generate over $2.5 billion in farm gate receipts, result in over $9 billion in economic output and are responsible for over 40,000 jobs in the province.
- The 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.
- In Ontario, cost-share programming to agriculture and value chain organizations is provided through the Place to Grow: Agri-food Innovation Initiative. The Place to Grow program is now accepting applications until September 27, 2019. All program details including the program guide and application forms are available online.
- In 2018, Ontario's agri-food industry contributed $47.7 billion in GDP to the provincial economy, an increase of 2.4 per cent from 2017.