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Governments fund Ont. soil health projects

Governments fund Ont. soil health projects

Grain Farmers of Ontario will use the funding to research cover crop management

By Paula Schuck

Ontario producers are getting assistance to help nurture soil health while reducing phosphorus runoff.

Last week, the Canadian and Ontario governments announced a $240,000 cost-sharing initiative to support soil health research in the province.

“Our Government is investing in cutting-edge technology and research that help Canadian farmers adopt greener practices, including soil protection,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, the federal minister of agriculture and agri-food, in a Sept. 10 release. “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 Ernie Hardeman, Ontario’s minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs. “Our government is happy to invest in solutions that support best practices, so we can continue to protect our precious resources.”

The Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) is one group that will benefit. GFO will receive $60,000 to evaluate soil type, elevation and frost damage on cover cropping. This project will help grain farmers develop their knowledge of cover crop management to help reduce phosphorus entering the Lake Erie watershed.

“We are pleased to see the emphasis and investment in soil health. We at GFO have been engaged with soil health for a few years and it is always a positive when government invests money into research,” Markus Haerle, GFO’s chair, said in an interview.

“Healthier soil has more nutrition holding capacity and can help us protect the environment in a more controlled manner. GFO has a couple of soil health research projects on the go where some of this funding will come in useful.”

Other projects to improve 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).
  • The Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association will receive $148,040 to evaluate the effects of current cultivation practices and test new and existing organic amendments to improve soil health.

Photo credit: Sasiistock/iStock/Getty Images Plus photo

 

 

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