Governments Strengthening Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability

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Source: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Canada and Ontario committing over $68 million for on-farm actions

Through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP), the governments of Canada and Ontario are committing more than $68 million in the Ontario Agricultural Sustainability Initiative (OASI) to fund three programs designed to support farmers in making their agricultural lands more productive and resilient.

This Initiative includes the Resilient Agricultural Landscape Program (RALP) a $56.7 million, five-year program that will make funds available to eligible farmers to complete projects such as reducing tillage, creating water retention ponds and other projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sequester carbon.

The Agricultural Stewardship Initiative (ASI) will complement the RALP program by providing a supplemental $5 million, this year, for farmers to modify and adapt their equipment and operating practices.

In addition, the On-Farm Applied Research and Monitoring (ONFARM) program will be expanded and enhanced by an additional $7 million over five years. This program is a continuation from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership and will help farmers understand and communicate best on-farm practices to address and improve their soil health and water quality.

All three programs (RALP, ASI, and ONFARM) will be delivered by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA). Note that program details for the land-use RALP categories will be made available this summer and applications will be accepted later this fall.

Sustainable CAP is a 5-year (2023-2028), $3.5-billion investment by federal‐provincial and territorial governments to strengthen competitiveness, innovation, and resiliency of the agriculture, agri‐food and agri‐based products sector. This includes $1 billion in federal programs and activities and a $2.5 billion commitment that is cost-shared 60% federally and 40% provincially/territorially for programs that are designed and delivered by the provinces and territories.

Quotes

“Ontario producers have embraced sustainable farming practices and are taking proactive steps toward climate action to reduce their environmental footprint. The financial support announced today helps to advance and accelerate those practices to build a resilient agriculture sector for generations to come.”

– The Tim Louis, Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Conestoga on behalf of the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“Our government is committed to building a food supply system that is resilient, competitive and productive to meet the ambitious goals of our Grow Ontario Strategy. This initiative will be a critical component in giving our farmers the tools they need to make decisions that will enable safe, top-quality food production and agricultural sustainability goals.”

– The Honourable Lisa Thompson, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

“Ontario’s fruit and vegetable growers are continuously investing in and improving their environmental practices to protect the environment and the future of their farms. Proactive investments like these are crucial to supporting Ontario’s farms and protecting domestic food security, especially during this period of high input costs and market instability.”

– Shawn Brenn, Chair, Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association

“Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association is very pleased with the confidence expressed by the Ministry in selecting us to deliver these exciting new stewardship initiatives to the farm community. Continuing the On-Farm Applied Research and Monitoring research program promises to heighten our understanding of soil health on different landscapes across the province and under different management practices. The two new incentive opportunities help provide farm businesses valuable support to modify their current practices to assist progressive farm businesses to remain productive, profitable and sustainable. Ontario Soil and Crop predicts significant interest by farm businesses in both the familiar format of the Agricultural Stewardship Initiative and the exciting new Resilient Agricultural Landscapes Program.”

Steve Sickle, OSCIA President

Quick facts

  • Applications under the Ontario Agricultural Sustainability Initiative will be considered until funding has been allocated or the closing date for the application period has concluded. More information on support for specific best management practices will be available via the OSCIA.
  • Additional intake periods and details about eligible projects for those intake periods, under the Ontario Agricultural Sustainability Initiative, will be communicated when they are finalized.
  • A verified, complete, fourth edition Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) will be an eligibility requirement for funding under this initiative. Information on options to complete the EFP is available through the OSCIA.
  • Farmers in the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watershed areas are encouraged to complete a Farmland Health Check-Up, with a participating technical specialist, to identify field-specific risks, which may qualify them to receive increased levels of cost-share funding. Enhanced, targeted, cost-share funding supports accelerating regional efforts to reduce phosphorus from farming entering Lake Erie.
  • ONFARM is supported by various organizations including Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, multiple conservation authorities, specialized service providers and a network of farmer cooperators. Activities led through the initiative include soil health and water quality monitoring and examining the effectiveness of different farming best management practices and how this translates to productivity.
  • Sustainable CAP will help enable the goals outlined in Ontario’s Grow Ontario Strategy, which include increasing the amount of food grown in Ontario by 30% over the next 10 years.
  • Tackling climate change and environmental protection to support greenhouse gas emission reductions and the long-term vitality of the agri-food sector were among priorities set for Sustainable CAP by the federal-provincial-territorial agricultural ministers in The Guelph Statement. The new Resilient Agricultural Landscape Program was designed to help achieve these goals.

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