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Helping Ontario Farmers Improve the Environment

Posted on Dec 23rd, 2019 by Jennifer Hannan

Helping Ontario Farmers Improve the Environment

TORONTO - As part of their commitment to protecting our environment, the governments of Canada and Ontario will commit further funding support to help farmers make their operations more environmentally sustainable to improve water quality in the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watersheds.

Beginning January 15, 2020, applications will be accepted for a new intake of cost-share funding under the Lake Erie Agriculture Demonstrating Sustainability (LEADS) initiative. Funded through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership), the projects LEADS supports in 2020 will build on many previous investments by farmers and the governments to improve the sustainability of farming practices around Lake Erie and reduce phosphorus entering the connecting waterways. Eligible applications will be received and assessed on a continuous basis, while funding is available.

"Canadian farmers are responsible stewards of the land, and our Government is working side-by-side with them to improve soil and water quality, and fight climate change," said the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. "The LEADS initiative is a critical next step in our collective effort to ensure the sustainability of the Lake Erie water basin."

"We're pleased to support our farmers in their careful stewardship of the land and help them make their operations even more environmentally sustainable," said the Honourable Ernie Hardeman, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. "Our government is committed to working with farmers to build Ontario together, including protecting water quality in the Lake Erie watershed."

Examples of projects eligible for support under LEADS include:


  • Modifying equipment to improve management of agricultural nutrients and to reduce soil compaction;
  • 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
  • Retiring environmentally fragile lands from agricultural production and planting permanent vegetative cover to reduce the loss of soil and nutrients from these lands.


Since June 2018, both the federal and provincial governments have committed cost-share support to approximately 2,500 projects through the Partnership to help eligible Ontario farmers, processors, businesses and sector organizations innovate and grow.

Quick Facts

  • 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.
  • Since 2018, more than 560 projects have been approved under the regionally targeted LEADS initiative, with $5.5 million committed through the Partnership to support completion of these on-farm improvement projects.
  • LEADS is delivered by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA). Contact the OSCIA about LEADS at 1-800-265-9751 or LEADS@ontariosoilcrop.org.
  • In addition to LEADS, OSCIA also delivers province-wide cost-share funding under the Partnership for farmers and other businesses (plant health). The next application intake for farmers and other businesses (plant health) is from January 8 to 29, 2020. Program details, including how to apply, program guides, and application forms can be found on OSCIA’s website.
  • LEADS supports the Canada-Ontario Lake Erie Action Plan and aligns with the Made-in-Ontario Environmental Plan.
  • Lake Erie is the most shallow and biologically productive of the Great Lakes, making it more susceptible to harmful blue-green and nuisance algal blooms.
  • The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, $3-billion commitment by Canada's federal, provincial and territorial governments that supports Canada's agri-food and agri-products sectors.


For More Information: https://news.ontario.ca/omafra/en/2019/12/helping-ontario-farmers-improve-the-environment.html

“Helping Ontario Farmers Improve the Environment.” News.ontario.ca, 2019, news.ontario.ca/omafra/en/2019/12/helping-ontario-farmers-improve-the-environment.html.