Canada, Ontario Committed to Protecting Environmentally Sustainable Agri-Food Production
Governments support the province’s agri-food sector to better protect our environment
TORONTO — The governments of Canada and Ontario are concluding another year of support for the province's agri-food sector to enhance environmental sustainability and stewardship and to better protect our environment.
The governments have committed more than $17.6 million in 2019 to support over 690 projects and other efforts to improve environmental practices and sustainability efforts in the agri-food sector. Factoring in funding coming from businesses and other parties on cost-shared projects, this will represent a joint investment of approximately $26.4 million to achieve change in this key economic industry.
Many of these funding commitments support industry-proposed, cost-shared initiatives to achieve outcomes like reducing soil erosion and retiring fragile lands from farming production.
These investments, supported with funding from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership) also include funding a variety of research initiatives and other projects to enhance awareness and adoption of best management practices and improve sustainability in the sector.
"We know Canadian farmers are responsible stewards of the land, because they recognize that a healthy environment is the foundation for a thriving agri-food sector. The funding for these projects will help ensure the sustainability of their businesses and the vitality of our rural communities for generations to come," said the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
"We're committed to working with our farmers and other agri-food business owners to better protect the environment and to ensure sustainable food production for future generations," said the Honourable Ernie Hardeman, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. "Protecting our environment is essential for agri-food sector competitiveness and job creation, and we'll continue to support a variety of efforts to continue strong industry progress in this area."
"Ontario's farmers continue to demonstrate leadership in environmental stewardship. Their innovative farming practices are important initiatives that help enhance environmental protection and improve sustainability," said the Honourable Jeff Yurek, Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks. "These projects, alongside other significant agricultural management initiatives under our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan, will help to ensure we continue to protect our land, air and water as we all work to build a healthy Ontario together."
Some of the actions supported this year include:
- The launch of the multi-year On-Farm Applied Research and Monitoring (ONFARM) project. The ONFARM project will receive up to $5.75 million for the development of a comprehensive, science-based method to measure soil health and improved understanding of Best Management Practices' impacts, among many other activities.
- Investing $3.3 million to support more than 320 cost-shared, on-farm projects under the Lake Erie Agriculture Demonstrating Sustainability (LEADS) initiative. These projects support farmers' on-going efforts to enhance environmental sustainability and to improve water quality in the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watersheds.
- Enhancing Environmental Farm Plan programming including making improvements to online processes related to updating and renewing these farm-specific plans developed in previous years.
- Co-funding research projects with organizations such as the Grain Farmers of Ontario, the Ecological Farmers of Ontario and the Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association to enhance soil protection and to support precision agriculture in the province.
These actions also build on and leverage other related efforts, within the agri-food industry, to benefit the environment and enhance sustainability in sector operations. Examples include initiatives targeting improved soil health, such as the industry-led 4R Nutrient Stewardship program and the pending work of the newly formed Ontario Soil Action Group. These investments will also help drive outcomes outlined in the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan.
- 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.
- The 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 next application intake will open on January 15, 2020. Eligible applications will be received and assessed on a continuous basis, while funding is available.
- In addition to research actions supported by the Partnership, the Ontario government committed more than $2.2 million in 2019, to a variety of research projects designed to support increased environmental protections and sustainability in the agri-food sector.
- The Ontario agri-food sector supports more than 837,000 jobs in Ontario and contributes more than $47.5 billion each year to the province’s economy.