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Canada: Ontario growers group to conduct cover crop research

Minister of Justice and MP for Niagara Falls, Rob Nicholson, on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, has announced a substantial investment in research to help farmers become more productive and profitable. The investment of $230,000 for the Ontario Processing Growers (OPVG) is to be used to research the optimal soil conditions for growing cover crops as part of crop rotations procedures.

"Our government's top priority remains the economy, and Canada's vegetable growers play an important role in driving jobs and economic growth in Niagara," said Mr. Nicholson. "This investment will help vegetable producers implement economically and environmentally sustainable weed-management practices, leading to increased production and a stronger bottom line."

Cover crops are planted to help reduce soil erosion and prevent nutrient runoff into watercourses. The study will last wo years and will look into how cereal and vegetable crops are affected by residual herbicides that have been applied on crops previously in the spil.

The OPVG, which represents around 600 processing vegetable growers in the Ontario area, will conduct the study. The OPVG is responsible for the negotiation of prices for its members, of 13 crop varieties-  tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet corn, green peas, green and wax beans, carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, beets, peppers, pumpkin, squash and lima beans.

"As growers continue to make their farms environmentally sustainable, this project will help determine the compatibility of potential cover crops within vegetable production systems," said Phil Richards, OPVG chairman, a processing tomato grower from Dresden, Ontario.

This investment is delivered through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP), a five-year (2009-2014), $163-million initiative that aims to help the Canadian agricultural sector adapt and remain competitive.

The Next Phase of Canada's Economic Action Plan, coupled with other Government of Canada programs and initiatives such as CAAP, continues to help farmers by focusing on creating jobs and strengthening the economy.