March 24, 1988
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Federal Government Interest in Soil Conservation in Ontario
- Current Activities of the Provincial Government
- 2.1 Ontario Soil Conservation and Environmental Protection Assistance
- 2.2 Local Demonstrations Sub-Program
- 2.3. Technical Assistance Sub-Program
- 2.4 Land Stewardship Program
- Current Activities of the Federal Government
- 3.1 Technology Assessment Panel, Conservation Information Centre and
Socio-Economic Evaluation Sub-Program
- 3.2 Technology Evaluation and Development Sub-Program
- 3.3 Pilot Demonstration Watershed Sub-Program
- 3.4 Administration, Monitoring and Public Information Sub-Program
- Current Programs under Federal/Provincial Agreement
- Expectations of Provincial Government Position with Regard to Implementation
of the National Soil Conservation Initiative
- 5.1 Awareness
- 5.2 Surveys and Monitoring
- 5.3 Research
- 5.4 Service to Producers
- 5.5 Marginal Land
- Proposed Federal Government Activities
- 6.1 Inventory of Soil Degradation
- 6.2 Enhance Soil Survey Program
- 6.3 Monitoring Soil Degradation
- 6.4 Research
- 6.4.1 Soil erosion, compaction, loss of Soil organic matter and
- 6.4.2 Soil degradation processes
- 6.4.3 Development of degradation mitigative measures - integrated
soil-crop management systems
- Expectations of Likely Key or Contentious Issues During Negotiations
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT INTEREST IN SOIL CONSERVATION IN ONTARIO
(To be developed by Dr. H. Hill)
CURRENT ACTIVITIES OF THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT
Almost exclusively, provincial government programs in soil and water conservation
in Ontario are delivered through the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and
Food. They include the following sub-programs:
This program provides financial assistance to farmers for soil erosion control
structures and devices, as well as structures and systems for protecting
water resources from contamination. In the first case, examples of eligible
items are grassed waterways, field terraces, channel bank re-shaping, tile
outlet protection, seeding or sodding of ditchbanks, tree windbreaks, etc.
Protection of highly erodible lands through planting trees, crown vetch,
etc., are also eligible practices.
The environmental protection aspect of the OSCEPAP program provides assistance
for manure storage facilities, milkhouse waste disposal systems and pesticide
handling facilities. Grants under OSCEPAP cover costs for engineering design
and construction supervision, materials and permits.
2.2 Local Demonstrations Sub-Program.
This sub-program is intended to promote wider adoption of proven soil conservation
practices on farms, primarily related to tillage and cropping. The demonstrations
will provide farmers with first hand experience on how to use a practice,
its benefits, problems, resulting crop yields and changes in soil structure
and erosion. There are two types of demonstrations:
- *** T-2000. This is a
cooperative project involving OMAF, University of Guelph and the Ontario
Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA). Approximately 35 sites
have been established on farms of OSCIA members for 3-5 years to demonstrate
and monitor the effects of alternative tillage practices and crop rotations.
In most cases, the plots are side by side to enhance comparison. Technical
assistance is provided to the farmer and data collected and analyzed by
- *** Side by Side Trials. These projects are established on
approximately 100 farms to demonstrate basic differences in crop response
to different practices. They are less labour intensive than T-2000 projects
in that less data is collected.
2.3 Technical Assistance Sub-Program
This sub-program provides farm level professional conservation advice which
deals with soils and crops, soil and water engineering and farm management.
Farm cooperators are helped to diagnose soil degradation and erosion problems
on their farms, and assisted in selecting future soil conservation practices.
Through a system of fact sheets, workshops and meetings, educational programs
and information are available to all farmers.
Fourteen soil conservation advisors are employed on 5 year contracts to assist in
delivery of the sub-program under the direction of the Soil Water Management Branch, OMAF.
This program provides financial incentives for first time adoption of soil
conservation farming practices to improve soil resources and reduce environmental
contamination from agricultural practices. The mayor component of the program
involves financial assistance to farmers for improving soil structure through
long-term crop rotations, reforestation and land retirement of fragile lands.
Approximately 70% of the grant funds are allocated to this part of the program.
Grants are also available for erosion control structures, including maintenance
of municipal drains, construction of grassed waterways, terrace systems,
gully control structures, etc. where costs are in excess of grants payable
under OSCEPAP II.
Assistance for the purchase or rental of conservation equipment qualifies
under this program, as does modification of existing equipment for improved
residue management. Finally, training in conservation technology also is
recognized for financial assistance.
In addition to the financial incentives discussed above, the Land Stewardship Program
also has committed funds for research, education/extension, and program delivery and service.
Provincial government programs in soil and water conservation are summarized in Table 1.
CURRENT ACTIVITIES OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
Federal government activity in soil and water conservation in Ontario
is conducted both through A-base resources as well as by ERDA-type sub-agreements.
The extent of activity in Ontario with A-base resources is given in Table
Table 1. Provincial Government Programs in Soil Conservation in Ontario
||Total Planned Expenditure
|Program Delivery and Service
Table 2. Federal Activities in Soil Conservation in Ontario with A-Base Resources
||Monitoring, research, awareness
The Soil and Water Environmental Enhancement Program (SWEEP) is
a federal-provincial agreement to improve soil and water quality in southwestern
Ontario. This agreement is part of Canada's commitment under the Great Lakes
Water Quality Agreement with the United States to reduce phosphorus levels
in the Lake Erie basin from cropland runoff and also reduce soil erosion
and degradation. The program has a commitment of $30 million equally shared
between the two levels of government for a five year period.
There are four federal sub-programs under SWEEP as follows:
3.1 Technology Assessment
Panel (TAP), Conservation Information Centre and Socio-Economic
Evaluation (SEE) Sub-Program
The purpose of this sub-program is to assess technology, interpret and communicate
information and evaluate socio-economic factors related to soil conservation
adoption which influence public policies and programs.
The Technology Assessment Panel (TAP) reviews technical plans and will
assess results for sub-programs as the work is concluded. It also assesses
current technologies and recommends these for further development or evaluation.
TAP currently is made up of 14 members representing a cross-section of disciplines
drawn from government, universities, agribusiness, private sector and farmers.
They meet regularly to comment on work plans from the sub-programs as they
are being finalized.
The Conservation Information Centre, although not yet established, will
provide a leadership role in interpreting and communicating information
on soil and water conservation and management in Ontario.
The Socio-Economic Evaluation component is intended to provide insights
into the farmer's adoption decision process and the characteristics of effective
conservation incentive programs. Several graduate research studies are currently
underway at Ontario universities related to this work.
The Agriculture Development Branch manages all components of this sub-program.
This sub-program involves development and testing of technologies on commercial
farms that will lead to soil conservation and improved water quality through
reduction in movement of soil, phosphorus and other chemicals from cropland
to water systems. Conservation cropping, conservation tillage and planting
and integrated pest management will be evaluated for their impact on both
soil quality and crop production. A farm level economics component will
develop appropriate economic methodology, collect economic data and conduct
economic evaluations of soil and water quality enhancing technologies.
Currently, six research contracts are underway in this sub-program. They
- Relationship of soil landscape variability to crop yield, phosphorus
delivery and sediment production.
- Causes and control of severe erosion on side slopes.
- Assessment of on-farm research in conservation farm management practices.
- Farm level economic analysis for SWEEP projects.
- Choice and management of cover crops for use in row crop dominant
- Assessment of soil compaction and structure degradation in lowland
clay soils of southwestern Ontario.
Additional research projects will be contracted during the remaining years
under this sub-program.
The Harrow Research Station of the Research Branch manages this sub-program.
3.3 Pilot Demonstration Watershed Sub-Program
This sub-program will develop approaches to and evaluate the effectiveness
of implementing comprehensive soil and water conservation practices on all
farms in a watershed. The effects of these practices in three treated watersheds
will be compared to three control watersheds. Both treated and control watersheds
will be evaluated for the impacts on water quality, soil quality, crop production
and economic costs and returns. The approaches used to implement the program
on the watersheds, and the social considerations and consequences, will
be documented and evaluated.
Contracts have been awarded for two components of this sub-program. Selection
of watersheds, obtaining farm cooperators, project implementation, data
collection and evaluation is being conducted by one contractor. A further
contract has been established to conduct a soil survey of the watersheds
to provide resource information for detailed farm plans, and a baseline
for monitoring changes in soil quality brought about by implementing conservation
farming practices in the treatment watersheds.
Farm level economic analyses of practices implemented in the watersheds
will be conducted by an economics contractor identified in the Technology
Evaluation and Development sub-program. Water quantity and water quality
monitoring will be undertaken in each treated and control watershed to determine
effectiveness of farm practices in reducing pollutants. Monitoring will
be carried out jointly by Environment Canada and Ontario Ministry of the
Environment. The Ontario Soil Survey Unit of the Land Resource Research
Centre manages this sub-program.
3.4 Administration, Monitoring and Public Information
This sub-program is responsible for the overall administrative and public
information components of SWEEP. The administration and monitoring aspects
ensure coordination of the sub-programs and program objectives are being
met. The public information component will help to generate public interest
and encourage early and active involvement of the farming community in the
This sub-program is carried out jointly with the Ontario Ministry of
Agriculture and Food. The federal portion is managed by the Agriculture
Provincial components of the SWEEP program are discussed in section 2 of
CURRENT PROGRAMS UNDER FEDERAL/PROVINCIAL AGREEMENT
Current programs in Ontario under federal/provincial agreement include
the Soil and Water Environmental Enhancement Program (SWEEP). This is a
$30 M cost-sharing program which commenced in 1986 and will run until 1992.
The provincial sub-programs generally commenced earlier than the federal
components. They were of shorter duration initially, but have been extended
to be concurrent with the federal ones.
Details of the sub-programs under this agreement have been discussed earlier.
EXPECTATIONS OF PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT POSITION WITH REGARD TO IMPLEMENTATION
OF THE NATIONAL SOIL CONSERVATION INITIATIVE
I believe that the provincial government would be favourable to increased
support for public awareness in soil conservation. This includes awareness
by the general public of the severity of soil erosion and constraints on
land productivity and water quality. Awareness by producers of conservation
soil management also is needed to adapt best management practices to given
soil and climatic regions.
Responsibility for the development of increased public awareness could
rest with either provincial or federal agencies, however, program delivery
through existing OMAF channels most likely will be suggested. This could
include local OMAF newsletters, fact sheets, workshops, meetings, etc. The
latter could be Jointly sponsored and federal personnel fully recognized
for their contribution.
Involvement of local organizations in development of public awareness packages
needs consideration. Its use and acceptance would be enhanced if they actively
played a role in its preparation. The private sector perhaps could provide
technical expertise to these organizations in development of brochures,
films, slide sets, exhibits, etc. for use at community level meetings and
5.2 Surveys and Monitoring
The provincial government is expected to ask for assistance for the soil
survey program under the NSCP. There is a strong conviction that soil surveys
need to be expedited in order to provide the required base level of resource
information for soil conservation. Many of the counties in southern Ontario
in which serious soil degradation problems exist happen to be those in which
soil survey information is out of date. Soil conservation advisors in these
areas are disadvantaged in that the soil maps are very generalized, often
not possessing information on slope and topography, and soil materials are
loosely described. Often there is little analytical data available for use
in making decisions with regards to erosion susceptibility, and the most
suitable tillage and cropping practices. Consequently, the advisor is required
to do extensive farm level examination of soils and topography before remedial
practices can be suggested. Unfortunately, too often they lack the necessary
skills to do the job satisfactorily.
Little monitoring of soil degradation has been done in Ontario, and the
provincial government is likely to look favourably on enhanced activity
in this area.
Monitoring is required for several reasons. To determine the severity of
different forms of soil degradation and its impact on agricultural productivity,
direct measurement of soil erosion, organic matter loss and soil compaction
is required at the field level. This is required on a range of soils and
landforms and under different farming systems. This data is essential for
the development of predictive methods which forms the basis for regional
analysis of soil loss and for allocation of remedial measures.
A data base of actual measured erosion and its relationship to productivity
is very limited in Ontario. Similar data on soil compaction and organic
matter loss is even more sketchy.
I believe that additional research in soil conservation would be supported
by the province, with their preference being for applied (adaptive) research.
Funding for additional research at OMAF-owned research institutions undoubtedly
would be strongly supported.
Increased allocation of funds to universities and p.y's to federal research
institutions for soil conservation research also would be accepted favourably.
Recently there seems to be an indication that OMAF wishes to play a stronger
role in the "control" of agricultural research in Ontario. This has been
evident in discussions relative to planned research under the federal sub-program
(Technology Evaluation and Development) of SWEEP. This apparent position
may relate only to research under joint federal/ provincial agreements,
and could well apply to additional research proposed in the NSCP.
The focus for research which would be most favourably supported should
involve tillage, planting, cropping practices (rotations), weed control,
herbicides, pesticides, etc. associated with conservation farming systems.
These are major information gaps that soil conservation advisors have to
deal with in their attempts to deliver programs at the farm level.
5.4 Services to Producers
Traditionally, OMAF has provided the main delivery mechanism for information
flow to the producer. I feel that the provincial government would be sensitive
to suggestions for significant adjustments to this practice. The common
position during discussions relative to program delivery has been the "one-window"
concept, i.e. through county offices. Federal personnel have not been particularly
evident in program delivery to producers in Ontario. Federal research efforts,
particularly the applied type, have been strongly supported by provincial
extension specialists, however, the transfer of this technology except for
special cases has been done largely by provincial staff.
I believe that services to producers from the federal government in the
context of financial assistance, grants, etc. would be accepted by the province.
However, a likely condition would be that application and delivery took
place through provincial offices. They may well accept federal personnel
working out of these locations to assist in approval, supervision, delivery,
etc., which would enhance coordination and consistency. I am sure, on the
other hand, that they would not accept unilateral federal government activity
in this area.
5.5 Marginal Land
Financial incentives for changing tillage or management practices on lands
considered fragile or marginal, I believe, would be strongly supported.
It is a common situation where a portion of a farm has a serious soil erosion
problem which affects not only that immediate area, but adjacent land as
well. There are provisions for assistance to farmers for planting trees,
crown vetch, etc. under the Land Stewardship Program, but the feeling is
that increased financial assistance is needed in this area.
The concept of converting marginal farm land from agricultural production
into conservation reserves is an accepted practice which was initially put
into place in Ontario many years ago. A need to enhance this program seems
to exist. In years past, farming systems centered on livestock were commonplace
on marginal land. With a decline in the number of farmers engaged in livestock
enterprises in recent years, there has been a noticeable shift from a grain-hay
farming system to cash-cropping systems on these lands. Increasingly, this
has gone to row crop production. Land degradation unfortunately, is the
Wetlands and marshes are under continuing pressure for development for agriculture
because of land taxation policies. Protection for these environmentally
sensitive areas in the form of land reserves would be beneficial in a number
of ways, including assisting the financial position of the farmer, improvement
in water quality as well as provision of habitat for wildlife and waterfowl.
PROPOSED FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ACTIVITIES
6.1 Inventory of Soil Degradation
I believe that the NSCP should possess a common fabric", i.e. some type
of activity which is consistent across the whole of Canada. We can use the
Canada Land Inventory Program (CLI) as an example. This program was established
under federal provincial agreement to prepare a coordinated inventory of
the potential of the land resources for agriculture, forestry, wildlife
and recreation. In spite of certain shortcomings and inevitable misuse of
the information in certain cases, the CLI did raise the awareness of land
potential and quality to a very considerable level, and in so doing provided
a great deal of visibility to federal government programs. Today, it is
used consistently as a standard in land use planning, land taxation, land
sales, etc. Do we need something similar in land/soil degradation? Using
existing information from soil surveys, land use inventories, land drainage,
etc., can we prepare a general inventory of soil degradation including for
example potential for, or susceptibility to erosion (wind and water), compaction,
organic matter loss, salinization, etc?
I believe that is was quite obvious that we do not fully comprehend the extent and
severity of the soil degradation problem when two authoritative sources differed by
a factor of approximately 300% in their estimate of the cost of degradation in
Ontario. A coordinated inventory would provide a means of making accurate, relative
comparisons of soil degradation within and between provinces or regions which is
not presently available. Lastly, a soil degradation inventory would provide
an objective basis for targeting soil conservation programs at a national,
regional or provincial level. As an example, what regions of Ontario require
most assistance in soil conservation? Based on the numbers of requests it
would be the southwestern region, but are the problems greatest there? This
question, I don't think can yet be answered.
6.2 Enhance Soil Survey Program
Assistance for speeding up the soil survey program should be considered
under the NSCP. Approximately 14 million acres in southern Ontario are identified
to require upgrading to provide a general data base suitable for soil conservation
decision-making at the farm level.
The most feasible way to undertake this inventory upgrade is by contract
to the private sector with support to the Soil Survey Unit for coordination,
supervision, analyses and interpretation.
6.3 Monitoring Soil Degradation
Soil degradation arising from agricultural practices needs to be evaluated
in order to determine what forms of degradation (soil erosion, organic matter
loss, or compaction) are occurring under different management and on different
soils. The impact of soil degradation on crop yields also needs to be determined.
A soil degradation monitoring program would establish baseline data on soil
quality and a means to assess changes in soil quality under different farming
Benchmark monitoring sites initially should be established at sites where
soil degradation is most severe. This would include farming systems characterized
by intensive row cropping on a range of soils of differing texture. The
extent and impact of soil erosion, organic matter loss and compaction should
be quantified with respect to soil properties and crop yields. Monitoring
ultimately should be extended to include comparison of conventional and
conservation tillage and cropping systems in close proximity on similar
The Tillage 2000 sites currently being studied by OMAF and University of
Guelph on farms of Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association members
could provide a focal point for further efforts to monitor soil degradation.
The network of sites would probably need expansion to include a broader
range of soil types, tillage and cropping systems. Arrangements also would
be required to enable long-term access to the sites, data collection and
evaluation. Utilization of A-base resources to extend this study well into
the future may be required for the long-term.
There is a need for both fundamental and applied soil conservation oriented
research in Ontario which may be conducted under the NSCP. The following
three areas of research have been identified in 1987 as priorities by the
Ontario Soil, Water and Air Research and Service Committee of OASCC. They
all relate to soil conservation research needs.
6.4.1 Soil erosion, compaction, loss of soil organic
matter and yield relationships
Field scale research is needed to quantify the current extent and severity
of soil erosion, compaction and loss of soil organic matter on different
soils and farming systems in Ontario, and to characterize the impact of
these forms of degradation on surface and subsurface drainage and yield
of common field crops.
Research should be directed initially to those conditions under which
soil degradation is most severe. This would include farming systems characterized
by intensive row cropping, and soils which represent a range of textures
in agricultural capability Classes I, II and III in southwestern Ontario.
Attention should be directed initially to quantifying the extent and impact
of compaction and loss of soil organic matter. Additional research related
to water and wind erosion should be carried out pending the availability
of funds. Reduction in yield caused by the different forms of soil degradation
should be determined on corn and soybeans.
6.4.2 Soil degradation processes
In order to devise strategies to reduce or prevent soil erosion, the processes
associated with soil loss need to be clearly understood. Soil erosion rates
have been shown to be highest during snow melt and spring rain events. There
is a need to develop a methodology for determining soil erodibility during
this period of the year and application of this methodology to the major
soils of the province.
Research also needs to be conducted on the processes associated with
soil compaction and organic matter loss. There is almost no information
available on the sensitivity of Ontario soils to this form of degradation.
Although it is most serious on fine textured soils, there are indications
that it occurs on medium and course textured soils as well.
6.4.3 Development of degradation mitigative measures
-integrated soil-crop management systems
Current research needs to be expanded on the development or adaptation of
integrated tillage short-term crop rotation systems for intensive crop production
on a range of soils in Ontario. Although it is essential for many crops,
tillage has a generally deleterious effect on soil over a period of time.
Soil structure is broken down, organic matter is reduced and soil erosion
increased. Intensive production of row crops increases this effect most.
Soil erosion is very evident and prevalent in all of Ontario at the present
time. This is due almost totally to the large shift in hectarage from forages,
pasture and small grains, to corn and soybeans from 1966 to 1979. If these
figures were taken from the mid fifties, the shift would be much greater.
This shift in hectarage has taken place generally in counties east of Essex
and Kent where sloping or rolling soils are common. There has been no corresponding
increase in research in tillage or studying the long-term effects on soil.
It is not uncommon to find row crops in Ontario grown up and down hills
with as much as 25, slope. This increased erosion has also resulted in increased
sediment and nutrient loading and pesticide transfer to streams, rivers
Since forages may not be profitable to grow in a cash crop rotation, various
cropping systems which would still be profitable for a farmer to grow should
be studied for their effect on soil. Various cover crops should also be
Tillage equipment has changed tremendously. However, there has been little
corresponding research in Ontario and, as a result, there is a critical
shortage of tillage data at this time to answer farmer questions. Several
farmers are trying mulch tillage, ridge planting, and a few try zero tillage
to get their own answers for methods of tillage and suitable equipment.
Research should be leading these farmers to give them answers.
The research can be subdivided into four distinct areas:
- For Southwestern Ontario tillage research is required on heavy clay
soils which looks at tillage methods and cropping systems that would promote
or maintain soil structure and water infiltration using available crop
residues. The use of different cover crops (rye, winter wheat, oats, red
clover, sweet clover, annual rye grass, and Austrian winter peas) should
be included and evaluated for effectiveness. Problems such as the toxic
effect of mature rye to some crops should be known before farmers are
attempting to use it as a cover crop. The problem of planting different
crops into various residues needs to be studied as well as weed control
and application of fertilizer. There is little ground cover at present
on these intensively cropped soils during late fall, winter, spring and
early summer (6 to 7 months of the year). Wind blown soil, water erosion,
poor structure, and poor crop stands are quite evident.
- There is a need to evaluate primary tillage methods on sandy soils
for row crop production as these soils are very susceptible to wind erosion.
There are many methods available but no one can say which is best as they
have not been evaluated in Ontario. April, May and June of 1984, 1985
and 1986 gave extensive wind erosion across Ontario.
- Tillage and cropping systems must be developed or adapted for the
large amount of row crops (corn silage, corn grain, soybeans, white beans)
grown in Ontario on sloping soils. In some cases it should be seriously
questioned whether some of these soils should be growing row crops. In
central and northern United States, contour cropping, contour tillage,
mulch tillage and even zero tillage are used extensively in conjunction
with terraces and grassed waterways and cover crops on sloping soils.
These practices are used very little in Ontario. There has been little
tillage research done in Ontario on sloping soils, a very shortsighted
and potentially disastrous situation as sloping soils constitute as much
as 75% of our agricultural soils.
- Tillage and cropping systems must also be developed or adapted for
the vegetable crop acreage. Vegetable crops in Ontario are frequently
grown continuously on the same land. In some cases two crops are produced
from the same area each year. Many crops have very small seeds, requiring
the soil to be worked very fine for planting. Because of the high cost
of suitable land in urban areas near markets, growers are reluctant to
take land out of production to maintain good soil properties.
The lack of rotation, low use of any cover crops, soil left nearly
bare for up to 11 months of the year, has led to soil degradation and
very serious problems such as loss of organic matter, poor soil structure,
aeration, moisture penetration, moisture retention, crusting, poor seedling
emergence and growth, and poor drainage (in spite of extensive tile installations).
Research is needed to evaluate the effect of cropping systems, various
tillage methods and use of cover crops on soil properties and crop production.
The effects of rotation, use of legumes and other soil improving practices
need to be studied and a system developed which is economically acceptable
to the grower and will maintain and improve soil physical properties.
EXPECTATIONS OF LIBEL ART OR CONTENTIOUS ISSUES DURING NEGOTIATIONS
Likely the most contentious issue during negotiations will be the matching
provincial contribution. The province feels strongly that the Land Stewardship
Program announced on September 1, 1987 should be recognized as their contribution
to the program. It will be argued that the spirit and intent of the Land
Stewardship Program is very much in line with the National Agriculture Strategy,
from which the National Soil Conservation Program emerged. In fact, the
Ontario government urged the federal government to act with a Joint program
in soil and water conservation at the time of planning of the Land Stewardship
Program. I feel that the Ontario government should be applauded for their
willingness to proceed on their own, and their ability to implement a major
program so quickly, rather than have it go unrecognized by the federal government.
Secondly, the province feels that the allocation of funds to Ontario
is inadequate and not equitable. There is much skepticism attached to the
two studies related to costs of soil degradation, which was the basis used
for allocation of federal funds to the provinces. They will argue strongly
that neither report presented significant factual data relative to degradation
costs. The fact that loss of soil organic matter was discounted as an insignificant
cost to soil degradation in central Canada is a gross oversight. There is
a feeling that the deleterious effects of soil compaction in Ontario were
seriously underestimated. Although the acreage of land in agricultural production
in Ontario is low in comparison to Alberta and Saskatchewan, the per acre
input costs for land renovation and production are considerably higher.
I believe there is good justification for a larger share of the federal
funds to be allocated for Ontario.
Possibly a contentious issue during negotiations will center on the delivery
of federal programs in the province. It must be recognized that OMAF has
a well established program delivery system at the farm level, and federal
programs which interface directly with the farm operator will need to work
within that system. In the past the federal government has not been particularly
active in programs at the farm level in Ontario. It may be prudent to downplay
the importance of federal program visibility at the outset of the NSCP.
It is more important to have our provincial partners comfortable with our
presence and appreciative of our support during the first few years of the
program, rather than making too large an issue over visibility. I would
rather let visibility happen, rather than force it. If the program is worthy,
I feel that it will be recognized appropriately.
Friday, May 06, 2011 04:37:23 PM