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Governments support actions by farmers to benefit Lake Erie watershed

Increased funding is available for farmers embarking on projects that will reduce phosphorus runoff or improve soil health in the Lake Erie watershed area.


July 19, 2019
By Top Crop Manager


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The governments of Canada and Ontario increased funding available to farmers who are taking on projects to reduce phosphorus entering waterways connected to Lake Erie.

Through the Lake Erie Agriculture Demonstrating Sustainability (LEADS) initiative, under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, more than 70 additional projects will receive support – on top of the 270 projects already approved this year.

The LEADS initiative is available to farmers in the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watershed areas to support their actions to reduce the risk of nutrient loss and to improve farmland soil health. The cost-sharing program has a continuous application process, with applications accepted until annual funding is fully allocated.

The governments have committed more than $3.3 million to support completion of these cost-shared projects by farmers.

Some examples of LEADS projects include:

  • Planting overwintering cover crops to improve soil health and reduce soil erosion losses;
  • Planting vegetation and trees to provide a buffer between agricultural operations and waterways; and
  • Modifying equipment to improve management of agricultural nutrients and to reduce soil compaction.

The funding announcement is in direct response to an increased demand by farmers interested in taking on projects to reduce phosphorus runoff into waterways. The increased government funding shows support for efforts taken by farmers to improve farming methods and protect the environment.

The governments say the funding will help “more farmers take action to make their operations more environmentally sustainable and to boost water quality in the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watersheds.”

“Our farmers have always been careful stewards of the land and our government is pleased to support them in their actions to protect what matters most, such as water quality in the Lake Erie watershed,” said Ernie Hardeman, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, in a released statement. “Our government is committed to helping additional farmers make changes through LEADS that will make their operations even more environmentally sustainable.”

To date, both the federal and provincial governments have committed cost-share support to more than 1,150 projects through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to help eligible Ontario farmers, processors, businesses and sector organizations innovate and grow.