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The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food's (OMAF) contribution to the National Soil Conservation Program (NSCP) was stewardship practices funded by one year of the Land Stewardship Program (LSP).

This program provided 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 levels and structure, and

  • minimizing potential for environmental contamination from agricultural practices.

OMAF provided:

  1. FinancialAssistance for Erosion Control

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

    FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE consisted of grants for:

    1. Soil Building (Improvement and Maintenance)

    2. Conservation Machinery and Equipment

    3. Conservation Education (Technical Training)


    Soil Building A-1 - Crop Rotation
    A-2 - Residue and Crop Cover
    A-3 - Trees
    A-4 - Stewardship Lease
    Machinery and Equipment B-1 - Residue Management    Equipment Rental
    B-2 - Residue Management    Equipment Modification and Purchase
    Education Courses C-1 - Conservation Training 25,900

    A-1 Crop Rotation

    To encourage the planting of forage grasses and legumes or plow down crops in rotation on soils showing signs of soil degradation and erosion, assistance was available to improve soil structure.

    The same assistance was available to establish buffer strips on previously tilled land adjacent to streams, watercourses and field boundaries. Up to 30% of the applicants previously tilled acreage qualified. The grant rates for perennial and annual forage grasses, legumes and plow down crops are found in the county/district variable rate table.


    Establishment Year No Off-Farm Sales OR With Off-Farm Sales
    Seeding Over-
    Year 1 Year 2   Year 1 Year 2
    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 15 20

    A-2 Residue and Crop Cover

    To increase residue an applicant was 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 applicants tilled acreage from the previous year qualified.


    A-3 Trees

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

    To reforest five or more tilled acres, a grant of up to $220 per acre was available to cover costs of establishment of a forest species. A grant of $100 per acre per year for the balance of the program was available to cover the cost 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 was spread over two years-65% during the planting year and 35% in the second year for well maintained plantings. Maximum claim for stock and planting costs was not to exceed reasonable market value of planting 3 year old nursery stock.

    A-4 Stewardship Lease

    To encourage landlords to require tenants to farm their land under a land stewardship plan, a grant of $10 per acre was paid to the landowner when the land was leased under an approved minimum land stewardship lease. The maximum grant available was $3000 per applicant.

    B-1 Residue Management Equipment Rental

    To encourage the use and adoption of residue management equipment, grants of 80% of the 1987 rental or custom rates for residue management equipment were available. This covered up to a maximum of $3000 per applicant.

    B-2 Residue Management Equipment Modification and Purchase

    To assist in modification of existing equipment to handle residue management or to purchase equipment for residue management, a grant of two-thirds of the cost to as maximum of $3000 was available per applicant.

    C-1 Conservation Training Courses

    To support training, assistance was available for participants in conservation farming training courses as approved by OMAF.

    A grant was available to cover up to 100% of tuition, 80% of travel costs and $50 per day for the applicant's time upon successfully completing the course.

    To ensure the proper set up and operation of conservation tillage equipment on an applicant's premises, assistance was available from a qualified farmer or technician.

    The grant covers 90% of the cost up to $200 per day for each type of equipment to a maximum two days per type of equipment to a maximum of six days per applicant.

    A Land Stewardship Course Manual was produced that outlined the materials to be included in any educational course offered.


    1. Research

      Research projects relating to stewardship practices were solicited by OMAF and funded through the Agricultural Institute of Ontario. One third of the projects were OMAF's contribution to NSCP. (See Appendix G for details)

      RESEARCH was funded by OMAF through a Land Stewardship Research Fund administered by the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario (ARIO). The Land Stewardship Research Program (LSP) is intended to assist in achieving the goals of the overall NSCP by adding to the current base of knowledge and by assisting extension staff with recommendations and farmers in the adoption of conservation practices. Total funds available over the three year period is $2.8 million of which one-third is matching funds for NSCP i.e. $929,200.

      RESEARCH AREAS consisted of the following:

      1. Practical, cost-effective stewardship cropping systems to improve and maintain soil structure through crop rotation, crop cover during critical soil movement periods and residue management. Projects included practical cost-effective alternatives to monoculture through such practices as ground cover at appropriate periods of the year when there is potentially a high incidence of soil movement/structure through crop and tillage selection and management practices, nutrient management and organic amendments for a wide range of soil types and climatic conditions.

      2. Options for marginal and lowland areas to encourage farmers to take cropland (especially Classes III and IV) out of production and to return that land base to pasture and/or woodlot, and considering the length of time needed to establish the latter, the possibilities of wide-row spacing of hardwood species intercropped with cash crops could provide the best of both alternatives.

      3. Many parcels of land in Ontario, characteristically dry in the summer months, are often too wet to provide optimum conditions for planting in spring.

        Projects included the need to explore alternatives for improving productivity of such marginal areas and to study the economic and agronomic viability of such operations.

      4. Streambank stabilization and buffer strips to stabilize watercourse banks (e.g., permanent, intermittent, drainage ways) is of prime interest if we are to properly and adequately control soil erosion by water.

        Projects included the study not only to the various vegetative species (e.g., grasses, shrubs, trees) but also such parameters as accessibility routes for watercourse maintenance, maintenance equipment and techniques and design criteria for the bank areas.

      5. Windbreaks and Shelterbelts to assess the various parameters of windbreak plantings, including economics, species, spacing, harvestability of shelterbeds (e.g., Christmas trees) and impact on wildlife habitat and crop productivity.

        Projects included comparative documentation on the survival and growth rates of bare root seedlings versus container stock seedlings to determine if demand can be met by container stock.

    2. Extension

      Twelve new staff worked with 14 existing soil conservation advisors at OMAF field offices to counsel farmers on land stewardship practices, administer grants under the LSP and provide support for the NSCP.

      THE EXTENSION program consisted of the equivalent of 12 Soil Conservation Advisors who were hired and with the existing Soils and Crops Specialists assisted in the delivery of the federal and provincial programs. Ontario provided field staff for erosion control, conservation cropping, soil quality monitoring and the stewardship ethic for the duration of the NSCP. These staff resources were distributed across the province to maximize their effectiveness in delivering the combined program.

    3. Administration

      An annual grant was given to the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) to cover costs to establish and administer committees in each county/district. These local committees reviewed and recommended projects for funding and hired part-time staff to assist in promoting and implementing the program.

      The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association administered the OMAF component of NSCP through local committees in each count/district in the province. The committees reviewed and recommended projects for funding and worked with the Soil Conservation Advisors to promote and implement the program.


    Projects were funded on a county/district basis by the OMAF. Expenditures were based on soil improvements and water quality enhancement as outlined in the applicants Land Stewardship Inventory and Action Plan, a farm profile accompanying the application.

    Funds were allocated on a row crop acre basis. An applicant could apply for up to a grant maximum of $30,000.

    The Inventory and Action Plan detailed past land management practices, existing problems and planned future management practices that indicate a new and long term land stewardship approach is being adopted.


    Activity 1989-90 1990-91 1991-92 1992-93 TOTAL
    Research 0 929,200 0 0 929,200
    Extension 0 468,700 100,000 100,000 668,700
    Financial Assistance
      Soil Building
      Machinery and Equipment
      Education Courses
     Administration Costs
    Sub-Total Provincial   11,010,000 100,000 100,000 11,210,000


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    Created: 09-13-1996
    Last Revised: Sunday, May 08, 2011 02:43:01 PM