Traits & Stewardship
UTRCA offers funding to encourage cover crop use for water protection
By Top Crop Manager
The Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA) recently announced new funding is available to encourage Ontario farmers to use cover crops.
The funding is available through the Clean Water Program for farms throughout the Upper Thames River watershed. The Clean Water Program has provided technical assistance and financial incentives to improve and protect rural water quality since 2001.
“Soil erosion and nutrient runoff from farmland can negatively impact water quality in our watershed,” said Craig Merkley, UTRCA Conservation Services specialist. “We have found that cover crops improve soil health, increase water retention and infiltration, and reduce nutrient losses and sedimentation of watercourses. Ultimately, we hope to reduce phosphorus in the Thames River and Lake Erie.”
Funding for this initiative was made available from Environment and Climate Change Canada through the Great Lakes Protection Initiative to kick-start the new program for two years.
For eligibility details and an application form, please visit www.cleanwaterprogram.ca. UTRCA is currently accepting applications for payment in spring 2021. Priority will be given to farmers who have not previously used cover crops or where cover crops are not a routine practice.
If you have questions regarding eligibility or would like to discuss cover crop options for your farm, please contact one of the UTRCA’s Agricultural Soil & Water Quality technicians: