Friday, January 8, 2021

New conservation program open to applications

Farmers in the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watersheds will be eligible to file applications for conservation programs beginning Jan. 20.

Applications will remain open until $2.58 million is reached. It’s on a first-come basis.

It’s under the LEADS (Lake Erie Agriculture Demonstrating Sustainability) program funded jointly by the federal and provincial agriculture departments.

 The applications need to demonstrate improved soil health and reduced risk of nutrient losses to waterways feeding into the two lakes.

"The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association is pleased to deliver the LEADS program again in 2021," said Stuart Wright, OSCIA President. 

He said the LEADS program removes some of the financial challenges of trying new actions, helping farmers advance their stewardship of the environment."

Some examples of projects eligible for support under LEADS include:

  • Establishing permanently vegetated buffer strips adjacent to streams, drains, rivers, ponds, wetlands and lakes to reduce nutrient loss and soil erosion
  • Retiring environmentally fragile lands from agricultural production and planting permanent vegetative cover to reduce the loss of soil and nutrients from these lands
  • Modifying equipment to improve management of agricultural nutrients, to support reduced tillage and to reduce soil compaction
  • Installation of soil erosion control structures including grass waterways and water and sediment control basins to reduce soil erosion losses.

Since June 2018, both the federal and provincial governments have committed cost-share support to more than 4,200 projects.