The Government of Canada has announced an investment of $4.2 million to launch Living Lab—Ontario in the Lake Erie region.

New research undertaken through Living Lab—Ontario will focus on reducing the soil and nutrient runoff from agricultural land into Lake Erie, improving water quality, conserving soil health, and increasing biodiversity on agricultural lands in Ontario.

“Ontario farmers are leaders in environmentally-smart agriculture and continue to find innovative practices that ensure the long-term health of their lands,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of agriculture and agri-food. “The collaborative research approach will help Ontario farmers develop new sustainable practices that can be used by all farmers across the province and the country.”

Led by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA), Living Lab—Ontario collaborators will include farmers, agricultural and conservation organizations, and scientists from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and other federal departments. They will share their expertise with farmers across Canada to help accelerate the adoption of sustainable practices and technologies.

“The collaborative Living Labs approach is a proven success across the country,” said Lloyd Longfield, member of parliament for Guelph. “Good things grow in Ontario and I am excited to see the results here, particularly with regards to protecting important waterways like Lake Erie, and the ongoing focus on soil health.”

Living Lab—Ontario is the latest collaboration hub created under the Living Laboratories Initiative, which brings together farmers, scientists, and other partners to develop, test, and share innovative agricultural practices and technologies.

“The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association is pleased to be leading the collaborative involved in this new approach to agricultural innovation,” said Chad Anderson, president of the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association. “Ontario farmers have long been recognized as leaders in developing and adapting farm practices that improve production and protect the environment.

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“On-farm applied research has been a core principle of the organization since its inception in 1939 and Living Lab—Ontario provides an ideal opportunity to create a stronger network of innovation among the partners and Ontario’s farmers,” added Anderson. “Working together with these partners we have a unique opportunity to create and test practices that will provide farmers with solutions to enhance production and improve sustainability.”

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