Green Plan Bulletin
Environmentally sustainable agriculture is important for many reasons: to protect our soil and water resources, to maintain the sustainability of our farms and Ontario farmers, and to ensure the long-term viability of Ontario agriculture. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs have been working together with the Ontario farming community for many years to develop farming methods that are environmentally sustainable.
After extensive consultation with members of the Ontario agri-food sector, the federal and provincial governments launched the Canada-Ontario Agriculture Green Plan in September 1992. The purpose of the Green Plan is to maintain and enhance the natural resources that the Ontario agri-food sector uses and affects.
This bulletin is being provided to keep you informed about the six Green Plan program areas and projects which have been developed, their progress, and results. As you will note, these activities address a wide range of issues related to agriculture and the environment, as well as the enhancement of the environmental sustainability of the Ontario agri-food sector.
Nutrient Management/On-Farm Research/Monitoring & Evaluation
This program is administered by the London Pest Management Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and oversees 30 research projects which fit under one of three specific mandates:
For more information about Nutrient Management/On-Farm Research/Monitoring & Evaluation, please contact: Dr. Bruce Bowman, Research Branch, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, London, 1391 Sandford Street, London, Ontario, N5V 4T3. Tel: 519-457-1470. Fax: 519-457-3997.
Environmental Farm Planning & Incentive Program
Environmental Farm Plans (EFPs) have been voluntarily prepared by farm families who wish to raise their awareness of the environment on their farm. Through the EFP process, farmers have recognized environmental strengths on their farms, identified areas of concern, and implemented a realistic action plan of simple and practical activities which will improve these conditions.
To date, about 5,000 individual farmers have made their own commitment by actively participating in the EFP exercise.
Farmers have been involved in every stage of developing the plans. These stages include completion of EFP Self-Assessments, which ask farmers to first rate the current level of environmental concern in up to 23 different areas on the farm; and then complete an Action Plan which highlights the areas of concern and intended strategies to address these concerns.
Farmers who want a second opinion on the effectiveness of their action plan can submit the completed plan for review by a panel of their peers. If deemed appropriate, the ideas in their plan become eligible under the incentive program for up to $1,500 in funding per farm. An additional Awards Program offers 12 cash prizes of $1,000 for innovative approaches to managing environmental concerns. Program representatives and peer review committees continue to evaluate the success of the program and look for new ways to promote it. For example, staff in Peel Region have worked closely with the Ontario Equestrian Federation to develop a series of promotional activities for the Royal Winter Fair and the Federation's Annual Meeting.
Current funding will allow the program to continue through March 1997.
For more information about the Environmental Farm Planning & Incentive Program, please contact: Cecil Bradley, Senior Manager, Farm Policy Research Group, Ontario Federation of Agriculture, 40 Eglinton Avenue East., 5th Floor, Toronto, Ontario, M4P 3B1. Tel: 416485-3333. Fax: 416-485-9027.
As many as 187 reports are expected from the research and development projects that are currently under way within 11 categories of the Canada-Ontario Green Plan. A Technology Transfer strategy is being defined this year to ensure that Green Plan information will be disseminated over the next 18 months to the agri-food sector and the public in a useful and straightforward manner.
To meet this objective, the Technology Transfer Program has begun eight Technology Transfer projects:
For more information about the Technology Transfer Program, please contact: Henry Olechowski, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs, Guelph Agriculture Centre, P.O. Box 1030, Guelph, Ontario, N1H 6N1.
The Rural Conservation Clubs Program was designed to encourage and stimulate the following activities:
Participants in the thirty-two "active" projects continue to test and share their innovative ideas. Among those activities currently under study: conservation tillage trials; water quality management; restoration, construction and management of wetlands; soil and manure management; reducing agricultural insecticides; precision farming and various tools of farm management and analysis; biosolid research; maple bush management.
Most projects continue until March 31, 1997, although several have concluded their research and demonstration activities. Two examples:
"Alternative Methods for Colorado Potato Beetle Control" - The Colorado Potato Beetle is the major insect pest of tomatoes and potatoes and its resistance to insecticides is increasing. This project was approved to test the effectiveness of various cultural and biological control measures, and to reduce insecticide use on test plots set up by Club members in Kent and Essex counties.
For further results of this project, please contact Richard Perry, c/o OMAFRA -Stratford ~ (519) 271-0282.
"Forages for Soil and Profit" - Forages are the major crop throughout Renfrew County and provide feed for the livestock-based agriculture that occurs in this area. Club members collected yield data, background information and forage samples for quality analysis from seven dairy, four beef and two cash crop hay farms.
The activities of club members helped identify several factors influencing forage production on county farms:
For more detailed information on the results of this project, please contact Paul Sullivan, c/o OMAFRA - Nepean, (613) 828-9167.
For more information about the Rural Conservation Clubs Program, please contact: Nancy Cherny, MISB/Ontario, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, 174 Stone Road West, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 4S9. Tel: 519-837-9400. Fax: 519-837-9782.
The Best Management Practices series of innovative books continues to grow, with nine comprehensive books now completed, two in the final stages of production, and three additional titles being developed.
Each book contains a range of options and solutions for particular environmental concerns, allowing farmers to customize their conservation and sustainable activities and practices. Best Management Practices books now available are:
New titles expected in Spring 1996 are:
The three titles being developed are:
A Decima Research survey in 1995 surveyed more than 600 Ontario farmers and related industry stakeholders. The results revealed that more than 97 per cent of respondents say the subject matter and treatment are effectively addressing a need of farmers and rural residents for information on cost effective options for dealing with environmental problems. Two of the titles have won international awards.
The BMP program is also soliciting production partners, identifying revisions to booklets and initiating reprints, exploring CD-ROM as a medium for technology transfer, and developing a business and marketing plan.
For more information about the Best Management Practices Program, or the findings of the Decima Research survey, please contact: Cecil Bradley, Senior Manager, Farm Policy Research Group, Ontario Federation of Agriculture, 40 Eglinton Avenue East., 5th Floor, Toronto, Ontario, M4P 3B1.
The Wetlands/Woodlands/Wildlife Program is partnering hundreds of Ontario farmers with agricultural and other groups in the province to develop on-farm demonstrations and publicize management practices and technologies that conserve, enhance or create fish and wildlife habitat while maintaining the viability and profitability of agricultural activities.
The coordination and management of this Program is provided by the Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada.
Program leaders recognize that wildlife-related issues can differ greatly in various parts of Ontario, depending on the type of farm operation, landscape features and the wildlife species in question. Therefore, the program is funding 10 projects across the province, which demonstrate a broad range of topics, including bank stabilization, creating buffers to prevent runoff, soil conservation, revegetation through native tree and shrub planting, exclusion fencing of livestock near watercourses, delayed grazing techniques, establishing windbreak and wildlife corridors, and drain enhancements.
The 10 programs are managed by the following stakeholder groups:
Each of the demonstration projects have secured project sites, with cooperators totalling over 140 farmers and 45 rural landowners. More than 200 individual project activities have been completed, with an estimated 5,350 volunteer hours logged. Accomplishments to date include the following:
The program has received widespread approval from farmers, industry clubs and media, and more than 120 news stories have been written about the WWW Program.
For more information about the Wetlands/Woodlands/Wildlife (3W) Program, please contact: Gary McCullough, Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada, 152 Newbold Court, London, Ontario, N6E 1Z7, or Laurie Maynard, Environmental Conservation Branch, Environment Canada, 75 Farquhar Street, Guelph, Ontario, N1H 3N4.
Stewardship Information Bureau
The Stewardship Information Bureau (SIB) was established to provide a forum for the exchange of innovative sustainable agriculture information and technology. An Innovation networks of more than 900 farmers, government and industry participants has been established. Participants communicate both electronically and through printed publications including The Green Pages" resource listing and "Innovations" newsletter.
The following summarizes the SIB's recent activities:
Strategies for SIB to become financially self-sustaining after 1997 continue in their early stages of development.
For more information about the Stewardship Information Bureau, please contact: Jim Arnold, Manager, 150 Research Lane, Suite 104, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 4T2. Tel: 519-767-5020. Fax: 519-766-0512.
This Bulletin is prepared by Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, Market Industry Services Branch, 174 Stone Road West, Guelph, Ontario, NIG 4S9.
Created: 16 November, 1996 13:26:59