FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 29, 2020
SIMCOE – The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing more than $2.5 million to help farmers improve environmental sustainability and water quality in the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watersheds. In addition to delivering on its continued commitment to protecting our environment, this investment will also improve productivity for farm operations in the region.
In Haldimand-Norfolk, 12 projects worth nearly $156,000 were approved. The approved projects were under the following LEADS criteria: adding organic amendments to soil, cover crops, equipment modifications to improve manure application, equipment modifications to reduce soil compaction, erosion control structures and crop nutrient planning.
“Haldimand-Norfolk has been a leader in environmentally-friendly agriculture,” said MPP Toby Barrett. “I have been an advocate of these types of programs and applaud farm leaders for their initiative.”
Lake Erie Agriculture Demonstrating Sustainability (LEADS) is a five-year, $15.6 million commitment by the federal and provincial governments to support farmers in completing assessments and taking action to improve soil health and water quality in the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watershed areas. Province-wide, the latest approvals were for 235 on-farm cost-shared projects to reduce phosphorous entering Lake Erie waterways.
Some examples of LEADS projects include:
* Planting over-wintering cover crops to improve soil health and reduce soil erosion losses;
*Retiring environmentally fragile land from agricultural production and planting permanent vegetative cover to reduce the loss of soil and nutrients from these lands; and
* Modifying equipment to improve management of agricultural nutrients and to reduce soil compaction.
“LEADS projects demonstrate our agricultural sector’s commitment to environmental stewardship and keeping our waterways clean for future generations,” said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “It’s another great example of what we can do when we work with the other levels of government and our agriculture partners to improve the environment and protect our natural resources.”
Now in its third year, these 235 LEADS projects build on the environmental successes achieved through the more than 500 on-farm projects completed in this key watershed area in the first years of the initiative.
LEADS-supported projects have helped reduce the risk of soil loss and soil nutrient loss and improved water quality in its target region through implementing a variety of best on-farm management practices.
LEADS supports the Canada-Ontario Lake Erie Action Plan and aligns with the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan, committing to a 40 per cent reduction of phosphorus run off into Lake Erie and its watershed.
Since June 2018, both the federal and provincial governments have committed cost-share support to over 2,500 projects through the Partnership, to help eligible Ontario farmers, processors, businesses and sector organizations innovate and grow.
For more information, contact MPP Toby Barrett at 519-428-0446 or [email protected]