Guelph, Ontario – The governments of Canada and Ontario are making a joint investment to help producers adopt innovative and sustainable on-farm water management practices. Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Ted McMeekin today announced a new initiative that will focus on finding innovative technologies and solutions to water conservation and water use efficiency problems for Ontario farmers.
“Our government is committed to helping farmers adapt to current economic challenges and to make their businesses more efficient to boost our economy, now and for the long term,” said Minister Ritz. “This Economic Action Plan investment will help Ontario farmers make better use of available water supplies and irrigation systems, and ultimately lower their costs.”
“Managing water more effectively is an important part of mitigating and adapting to climate change and the extreme weather it brings,” said Minister McMeekin. “Working together to bring innovative practices and technologies to farmers is one of the best paths to a more productive, competitive, and sustainable future for the entire industry.”
This joint Canada-Ontario investment of up to $1.5 million will go toward the Water Resource Adaptation and Management Initiative. Up to $1 million will be available for projects through Farm & Food Care Ontario on behalf of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Applications are now available on the Farm & Food Care Ontario website (http://farmfoodcare.org). The balance of the funding will be used to draft guidelines for drainage design, benchmarking studies on water use/water efficiency, and informing farmers about best management practices on water efficiency.
The call for proposals will include the following two components:
- Projects or research studies on innovative water conservation and efficiency equipment, technologies, and practices. These projects could include the use of innovative equipment for irrigation, recommendations for water conservation in livestock operations, good soil management practices, and developing droughttolerant crops; and
- The communication of project results through workshops, presentations, outreach, and education materials designed to highlight technologies related to water conservation.
“Farm & Food Care Ontario is pleased to be involved in this environmental initiative on behalf of our members. This initiative will provide practical examples of water conservation technologies that can help farmers adopt their water use practices to the impacts of climate change. Given that 2012 was a dry year across most of the province, this project has even greater relevance to Ontario farmers,” said John Maaskant, Chair, Farm & Food Care Ontario.
The federal portion of this investment is being made through the Agricultural Flexibility Fund, part of the Economic Action Plan. The five-year (2009–14) program was created to help reduce production costs, improve environmental sustainability, promote innovation, and respond to emerging opportunities and market challenges for the sector.