The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing $2.58 million to protect the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watershed areas. The investment will go towards helping farmers implement sustainable farming practices that build more resilient farm operations.

“Canadian farmers are leading stewards of our environment, always looking for new tools and innovations to ensure their sustainability,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal minister of agriculture and agri-food. “I encourage farmers in Southwestern Ontario to make a project application with this exciting new cost-shared program, which can help improve their farms and the Lake Erie watershed.”

Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the final Lake Erie Agriculture Demonstrating Sustainability (LEADS) initiative intake will support on-farm projects that improve soil health and reduce the risk of nutrient losses on their farms. This is while improving water quality in the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watershed areas.

“The Great Lakes are vitally important to everyone in Ontario—from farmers to businesses and the millions of people who live in communities near these vast bodies of water,” said Lisa Thompson, minister of agriculture, food, and rural affairs. “The LEADS initiative demonstrates the government’s commitment to environmental stewardship and specifically to protecting Ontario’s water supply.”

The intake will open on November 2, 2021 and close on November 8, 2021. During this time, farmers can apply for cost-share funding for projects that benefit Lake Erie as well as support productivity and soil health for more acres of Ontario farmland. Examples of funded projects include:

  • Planting cover crops to reduce soil erosion.
  • Modifying equipment to reduce soil tillage and compaction.
  • Improving nutrient placement.
  • Planting of permanent trees or vegetation strips to serve as windbreaks.
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“The investments made by federal and provincial governments in the on-farm projects supported through LEADS are greatly appreciated in the agricultural community,” said Chad Anderson, president of Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA). “This funding will result in significant environmental gains that improve soil health and water quality in the Lake Erie basin.”

The LEADS initiative supports Ontario’s commitment to a 40 per cent reduction of phosphorus run off into Lake Erie and its watershed by 2025.

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