Canadian Agricultural Partnership: Lake Erie Agriculture Demonstrating Sustainability (Leads)

Declining water quality has been a significant concern in parts of Lake Erie. To support water quality improvements in Lake Erie, Ontario has committed to reduce phosphorus entering Lake Erie's western and central basins by 40 per cent by 2025. LEADS targeted programming under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership will build on the substantial leadership that Ontario producers in the Lake Erie watershed have demonstrated in taking action to improve soil health and water quality.

Producers will work one-on-one with a Certified Crop Advisor, free of charge, to identify Best Management Practices (BMPs) tailored to the specific needs of their operation. By implementing BMPs recommended through the Farmland Health Check-Up, farmers can take action to respond to the greatest soil health and nutrient loss risks on their farms and make a difference to their bottom line and the health of Ontario's Great Lakes.

LEADS will target the Lake Erie watershed to address the following government commitments:

  • Reducing nutrient loss, in particular phosphorus, from agriculture production within Ontario's Lake Erie watershed
  • Improving soil health of farmland
  • Providing co-benefits for enhancing pollinator habitat, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and building resilience to climate change, while strengthening the sustainability of the agriculture sector

Map of Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watersheds

Map of Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watersheds

Lake Erie Agriculture Demonstrating Sustainability (Leads)

LEADS funding will target producers in the Lake Erie watershed to respond to the greatest soil health and nutrient loss risks on their farms through the following opportunities:

  • Completion of a Farmland Health Check-up by a Certified Crop Advisor to assess farmland's environmental risk
  • Education and training to increase awareness and understanding of on-farm risks and opportunities for water quality and soil health improvements
  • Adoption of on-farm management practices to improve soil health and water quality
  • Applied research and demonstration projects to improve knowledge of BMPs and technologies, inspire stewardship across the agricultural community, and collect data to provide evidence of water quality improvement
  • Development of or enhancement to planning and/or decision-making tools to identify and manage risks related to water quality and soil health

Important Information

Producers located in the Lake Erie or Lake St. Clair watersheds are encouraged to apply for LEADS funding. Application intake will open on the first business day in April 2018 and will remain open until funding is fully allocated. Applications will be processed in the order in which they are received.

The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association will administer LEADS.

Merit-based Cost-Share Funding

Applications will be assessed with the information provided by a Certified Crop Advisor using the Farmland Health Check-Up (FHCU) risk assessment tool. Approved projects will receive cost-share funding between 45 and 65 per cent in proportion to the level of risk identified in the applicant's Farmland Health Check-Up.

Eligibility Requirements

  • A Farmland Health Check-Up (previously completed FHCU will be valid)
  • Be located in the Lake Erie or Lake St. Clair watersheds
  • A verified complete 4th Edition Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) or a peer reviewed 3rd Edition EFP (Note: those applying with a 3rd Edition will be required to upgrade to a 4th Edition prior to receiving final project payment at time of claim)
  • Have a valid Farm Business Registration Number or be able to provide documentation of a cultural or religious exemption.

Lake Erie Agriculture Demonstrating Sustainability Project Categories that Target Water Quality and Soil Health Improvements

Project Category Actions
Adding Organic Amendments Spreading solid organic amendments to soil
Riparian Buffer Strips Permanent vegetated buffer strips next to water
Cover Crops Covering soil over winter to reduce erosion risks
Fragile Land Retirement Removing fragile landscapes from active production
Equipment to Apply Manure Modifications to equipment to effectively spread manure
Modifications to Reduce Soil Compaction Modifications to reduce soil compaction
Crop Nutrient Plans Funding to support the development of Crop Nutrient Plans
Structural Erosion Control Erosion control structures and storm water management
Tillage and Nutrient Application Equipment Modifications Equipment modifications for no-till and reduced tillage, fertilizer management, and residue management
Windbreaks and Wind Strips Establishing vegetation to reduce wind erosion to prevent soil loss

 

Logos of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the Government of Ontario, and the Government of Canada.


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
Web: www.ontario.ca/AgPartnership
Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 12 February 2018
Last Reviewed: 12 February 2018