The Government of Canada recently announced it is providing up to $5.9 million for on-farm research activities. Under the project farmers and scientists will work in collaboration to develop and implement new technologies and best practices for environmental management.
The Living Lab-Eastern Prairies project has been launched throughout the last year on farms within the Upper Oak Lake, Swan Lake, North Shannon Creek and Main Drain watersheds.
The technologies and best management practices developed under this initiative are helping to give Manitoban farmers the tools to adjust to climate change and better address water quality, soil conservation and improve biodiversity on agricultural landscapes.
Some of the key research includes work to:
- enhance habitats for beneficial insects;
- develop better tile draining practices;
- evaluate new approaches to prevent nutrient, water and habitat losses in the Eastern Prairies; and,
- evaluate the use of regenerative grazing management to capture and sequester carbon in grassland soil.
Currently, farmers within these watersheds are taking part in Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) research projects that include the construction of perennial grassed runways and buffer strips, cover cropping, inter-cropping, and poly cropping, and the construction of small wetland retention ponds.
The Living Lab – Eastern Prairies initiative is a collaboration of more than a dozen partners, including Environmental and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), and builds upon the work organizations like the Manitoba Association of Watersheds (MAW) are doing to monitor and mitigate the agro-environmental issues taking place within Eastern Prairie watersheds, such as the over-use of artificial fertilizers. For more information, farmers are invited to visit Manitoba Association of Watersheds.