Wednesday, August 28, 2019

GRCA extends cover crops incentives

Despite provincial cuts to conservation authorities, the one for the Grand River watershed has issued invitations for applications for subsidies to plant cover crops.

The province said earlier this month that conservation authorities will need to cut budgets to focus on core mandates. Many farmers took that to mean subsidies for water and soil conservation would be cut.

But the Grand River Conservation Authority, in partnership with municipalities, is going to carry on with incentives to plant cover crops to conserve soil over winter and spring.

The GRCA said it has received positive feedback from farmers in the participating municipalities: the Waterloo Region, Haldimand, Dufferin, Brant and Wellington counties.

Ken Husberger, president of the Waterloo Federation of Agriculture, said “with the heavy rains we’ve seen during the last few winters, it’s becoming more and more evident that we should keep the land covered over winter to combat soil erosion.”

Over the last five years, more than 350 producers in the Grand River watershed received the cover crop incentive through the municipal programs delivered by the GRCA. Priority is given to erosion-prone fields adjacent to watercourses or wetlands, and areas that are susceptible to wind erosion. 

Fields that are tile drained or in wellhead protection areas are also considered. 

Cover crops that are used solely for cover – not harvested or grazed - are eligible under the program.

There is a panel of farmers who review applications and offer eligibility advice to the GRCA.