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Protecting species at risk on the farm

Protecting species at risk on the farm

OSCIA offers funding for producers to implement projects on their farms

By Kaitlynn Anderson
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Ontario producers have another chance to enhance habitats for species at risk on their farms.

The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) has opened the 2018 applications for cost-shared funding through the Species at Risk Farm Incentive Program (SARFIP).

This program helps farmers undertake projects that benefit their operations as well as species at risk, such as bobolinks, monarch butterflies,  rusty-patched bumble bees and spiny softshell turtles, Tuesday’s OSCIA release said.

In addition to contributing to biodiversity and health ecosystems in the province, species at risk provide ecological services to farmers, Maria Ramirez Giraldo, programs analyst with the OSCIA, told Farms.com today.

“Some species can control the populations of rodents that may become pests to producers and other (species) provide essential pollination services,” she said.

By enhancing habitat for these species, producers can improve “water quality, soil health and livestock wellbeing,” she added.

“For example, planting trees can provide shade for livestock and reduce wind and water erosion.”

To help these species, producers can plant native trees and grasslands, improve stream crossings, remove invasive species, implement erosion control structures and build cross fencing for rotational grazing systems.

OSCIA offers varying amounts of assistance under SARFIP. It will share 65 per cent of the cost for projects that directly benefit species at risk. The association will cover an additional 10 per cent of costs if producers enroll in SAR-Watch, which is “a monitoring program that measures the impact of SARFIP projects on the ground for species at risk,” the release said.

For plans that provide indirect benefits to species at risk, OSCIA will cover 50 per cent of the cost.

Regardless of the type of project, each farm business can access up to $20,000 in funding under this program.

In order to be eligible for this support, farmers must have completed Environmental Farm Plans (EFP) within the past five years. They also must begin and complete the projects between April 1 and Dec. 14 this year, the OSCIA website states.

For more information on SARFIP, click here.

UPDATED MAY 7, 2018

 

Rich Phalin / iStock / Getty Images Plus photo

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