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As outlined in the brochure,
"Land Stewardship Program",
the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food



To provide grants for the adoption of conservation farming practices that will enhance and sustain agricultural production and improve soil resources and water management by: reducing soil erosion and soil compaction; restoring soil organic matter and structure; and minimizing potential for environmental contamination from agricultural practices. The Land Stewardship Program consists of four components:

  1. Financial Assistance

    Grants will be provided to farmers to adopt conservation practices on Ontario farmland. These practices will enhance and sustain agricultural production as well as improve and protect our soil and water resources.

    These grants will be available for:

    1. soil building and maintenance projects
    2. structures
    3. machinery and equipment
    4. technical training

    These programs are described in the brochure.

  2. Research

    Research projects relating to stewardship practices will be solicited by the ministry and funded through the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario.

    A chair in land stewardship will be established at the University of Guelph to focus on and co-ordinate land stewardship issues.

  3. Education & Extension

    Twelve new staff will work with the 14 existing soil conservation advisers at OMAF county offices to counsel farmers on land stewardship practices and administer grants under the stewardship program.

  4. Program Delivery & Service

    An annual grant will be given to the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) to cover costs to establish and administer committees in each county; these committees will review and recommend projects for funding and hire part-time staff to assist in promoting and implementing the program. A three-year agreement will be signed between OSCIA and OMAF.



This program is funded on a county/district basis by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF).

All expenditures must be based on soil improvements and water quality enhancement as outlined in the applicant's Land Stewardship Inventory and Action Plan, a farm profile accompanying the application.

When projected expenditures on approved land stewardship projects equal the program budget for a single year, the remaining applications will be carried over to the next program year. In the final year of the program, no approvals will be given once the total program budget has been committed.

An applicant may apply as often as necessary to reach his or her grant maximum of $30,000.

Any applicant who proceeds with a project before authorized approval has no assurance that financial support will be provided.

No land stewardship grant will be paid for a project being funded in whole or in part by any other grant program except the Ontario Drainage Act as outlined in Section B-1 of this brochure or the Ontario Soil Conservation and Environmental Protection Assistance Program II (OSCEPAP II) as outlined in Section B-2.

No land stewardship grant will be paid for a project initiated before September 1, 1987.




    An applicant is eligible for a grant after meeting all of these conditions:

    1. Be a resident of Ontario.

    2. Be a registered owner or a lessee of the farm property in Ontario on which the eligible improvement will be made.

    3. Be a registered owner or lessee of land used in a farming enterprise that produces: i) at least $12,000 in agricultural products or ii) less than $12,000 where on-farm income exceeded off-farm income or where the value of agricultural products was reduced below $12,000 because of exceptional circumstances (e.g. barn fire, herd disease, extreme weather). A written statement must outline these exceptional circumstances to the satisfaction of the program manager

    4. Completes an acceptable Land Stewardship Inventory and Action Plan detailing past land management practices, existing problems and planned future management practices that indicate a new and long-term land stewardship approach is being adopted.


    A partnership or corporation controlled by Ontario residents is considered to be one applicant and must meet all of the above conditions plus the following requirements:

    1. If an applicant for a grant has a shared interest in a grant already paid to another individual, a partnership or corporation, the amount of the new grant will be reduced by the applicant's share of the earlier grant.

    2. Applicants which are partnerships or corporations must complete a special section of the application form, listing company name, registration number and names of all partners or shareholders.


    An applicant's acreage, eligible for this program, will not exceed his or her tillable acres farmed on September 1, 1987.



The Land Stewardship Incentive Program consists of four sections:

  1. Soil Structure-Improvement and Maintenance
  2. Erosion Control Structures
  3. Conservation Equipment
  4. Conservation Technology

    An applicant may receive a grant under any one of A-1, A-2, or A-3 for any specific acre in any program crop year (Sept. 1-Aug. 31).


    To encourage the planting of forage grasses and legumes or plowdown crops in rotation on soils showing signs of soil degradation and erosion, assistance is available to improve soil structure. NOTE: A plowdown crop is a crop that is seeded to protect the soil but not harvested.

    The same assistance is available to establish buffer strips on previously tilled land adjacent to streams watercourses and field boundaries and the like. Up to 30% of the applicant's tilled acreage from the previous year qualifies under this section.

    The grant rates for perennial and annual forage grasses, legumes and plowdown crops are found in the county and district variable rate table.

    The maximum grant is received for perennial forages that are seeded and remain on the farm for two years following establishment. Reduced grants are received for forage grasses, legumes and plowdown crops that are managed in a different way or sold off the farm.

    In addition to seeding, grants are paid for forage grasses, legumes and plowdown crops that overwinter. Total amount of the grant for any one field varies with the management of the crop.

    For each portion of the grant, the applicant's crop must be inspected by the committee of the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA). For example, inspection occurs in the fall for new seedings, in the spring following overwintering and in the summer for established fields.

    Annual or plowdown crops should be managed using conservation farming techniques. Technical advice is provided by ministry staff: contact the nearest OMAF county office.

    NOTE: See the variable rate table to determine the maximum county rate for grant.

    EXAMPLE: Applicant's farm is in Perth county (Group II)and shows two different situations with and without off farm sales: (Alfalfa is seeded in the spring of 1988.)

    Grant a) No hay sales
    year of establishment seeding = $ 15
    overwintering = $ 15
    year 1 no off farm sales = $ 50
    year 2 no off farm sales = $ 60
    TOTAL $140
    Grant b) With hay sales
    year of establishment seeding = $ 15
    overwintering = $ 15
    year 1 no off farm sales = $ 20
    year 2 no off farm sales = $ 30
    TOTAL $80


    (Use to Calculate Grant for A-1)


Counties/Districts RATES - DOLLARS PER ACRE
Establishment Year No Off-Farm Sales OR With Off-Farm Sales
Seeding Over-
Year1 Year2   Year1 Year2
GROUP I Kent, Essex, Lambton, Elgin, Oxford, Middlesex $15 $15 $60 $70 OR $25 $35
GROUP II Huron, Perth, Brant, Haldimand- Norfolk, Hamilton- Wentworth, Niagara, Waterloo 15 15 50 60 OR 20 30
GROUP III Peel, Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry, Bruce, Prescott, Ottawa-Carleton, Grenville, Durham, York, Halton, Victoria, Northumberland, Wellington, Russell 15 15 40 50 OR 15 25
GROUP IV Peterborough, Simcoe, Frontenac, Lanark, Lennox-Addington, Grey, Leeds, Hastings, Dufferin. Renfrew, Prince Edward, Parry Sound, Sudbury, Rainy River, Temiskaming, Nipissing, Haliburton, Manitoulin, Cochrane, Thunder Bay, Muskoka, Kenora, Algoma 15 15 30 40 OR 10 20

These are maximum rates Local O.S.C.I.A. county or district committees may recommend program rates to meet the goals of their local program. Note: A program crop year is September 1 to August 31.


To increase residue, an applicant can be paid a grant of $20 per acre when 20% of the surface area for each acre is covered with residue, from the previous crop, immediately after planting. Up to 30% of the applicant's tilled acreage from the previous year qualifies under this section of the program.


To promote tree planting grants are available to: 1) retire fragile lands, 2) encourage long-term commitment to agri-forestry including intercropping of trees with commercial crops or 3) diversify crop production.

To reforest five or more tilled acres, a grant of up to $220 per acre is available to cover establishment costs of a forestry species. A grant of $100 per acre per year for the balance of the program is available to cover the costs of a well-maintained planting.

For shelterbelts, windbreaks and plantings under five acres or intercropping with commercial crops, a rebate of purchase price and planting costs will be spread over two years - 65% during planting year and 35% in the second year for well-maintained plantings. Maximum claim for stock and planting costs should not exceed reasonable market value of planting three-year nursery stock.

NOTE: Trees or shrubs such as nursery stock, fruit trees or Christmas trees which mature or are commercially marketable in less than 15 years are not eligible under this program.


To encourage landlords to require tenants to farm their land under a stewardship plan, a grant of $10

per acre per year will be paid to the landowner when the land is leased under an approved minimum three-year stewardship lease. The maximum grant available is $3,000 per applicant. Landowners do not have to meet the $12,000 income requirement to be eligible for this grant.



    To encourage good maintenance and management of open municipal outlet drains a grant of 75% of costs to a maximum of $3,000 per project is available.

    It can be used to finance engineering reports that update existing municipal drains to include environmental enhancements (e.g. buffer strips, erosion control devices, livestock access control), as well as assessment schedules for routine maintenance work.

    This grant includes drains that are a combination of tile and open ditch, but excludes drains that are totally tile.

    Interested landowners should contact their municipal office.


    To assist with a soil conservation structure (e.g. terrace, grassed waterway, gully control) where the cost of the structure exceeds the maximum grant accessible under OSCEPAP II, a further grant of two-thirds of the excess cost is available.

    The combined total of the maximum grant generated by OSCEPAP II and this grant cannot exceed $20,000.



    To encourage the use and adoption of residue management equipment, grants of 80% of the 1987 rental or custom rate for residue management equipment are available. This incentive covers up to a maximum of $3,000 per applicant.


    To assist in modifications to existing equipment to handle residue management or to purchase equipment for residue management, a grant of two-thirds of the cost to a maximum of $3,000 per applicant can be obtained. NOTE: For either of sections C-1 or C-2 if at least 20% residue cover is left on the soil surface after planting additional assistance is available under section A-2.

    Similarly, if the applicant is not familiar with the operation of the equipment, training assistance is available under section D-2.



    To support training, assistance is available for participation in conservation farming training courses as approved by OMAF's director of the soil and water management branch.

    A grant is available to cover up to a) 100% of tuition, b) 80% of travel costs and c) $50 per day for the applicants' time, payable upon successfully completing the course.


    To ensure the proper set-up and operation of conservation equipment on an applicant's premises, assistance is available to employ a qualified farmer or technician.

    The grant covers 90% of the instructor's cost up to a maximum grant of $200 per day and is restricted to two days maximum for each type of equipment. The maximum number of days allowed per applicant is six days.

    For new equipment purchases, services provided by the manufacturer, distributor or dealer do not qualify.

    NOTE: Instructors who are members of the applicant's dependent family are not eligible under this program.



  1. Obtain an application form for individuals or corporations/partnerships and a Land Stewardship Inventory and Action Plan form from the local OMAF office or OSCIA committee. Complete the Land Stewardship Inventory and Action Plan. For assistance contact a local OSCIA field representative. Additional assistance is available at the county or district OMAF office.

  2. Be familiar with all sections of the program and with responsibilities of an eligible applicant, as outlined in this brochure.

  3. Complete the required sections of the application form that can implement a Land Stewardship Action Plan.

  4. Submit copies of the completed application form and completed Land Stewardship Inventory and Action Plan to the local OMAF office.
    The OMAF office will forward the application to the OSCIA committee for a decision on approval. (The committee will advise the applicant when the application is approved).

  5. Advise the OSCIA field person to inspect the project when completed to check invoices and to forward the application for payment to OMAF

  6. Keep this brochure, along with a copy of the Land Stewardship Inventory and Action Plan and application forms as records.

  7. Ask for a new application if major changes to the existing Land Stewardship Inventory and Action Plan were made.
    The OSCIA county/district committee evaluates all plans and applications for the Land Stewardship Program. Committee members as well as OMAF staff are prepared and willing to assist applicants with their plan and application.
    Applicants may be contacted by the OSCIA committee if the plan or application form is not clear, complete or acceptable as presented. If so, applicants will have ample opportunity to make changes. When the project(s) is approved, the applicant may proceed.



Invoices are not to be submitted with the application but must be available at time of inspection or audit. Keep all invoices and proof of payment until August 31, 1992 for projects undertaken.



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Created: 7-28-1996
Last Updated:Sunday, May 08, 2011 08:39:29 PM