Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

September 20, 2005 09:54 ET

AAFC: On-Farm Funding for Climate Change and Water Supply Projects

LISTOWEL, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Sept. 20, 2005) - Ontario farm and agribusiness operators now have access to over $20 million in their ongoing efforts to care for the health of the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Greencover Canada Program will support projects that enhance biodiversity, prevent wind and water erosion of precious farmland and improve the quality of surface water and groundwater. The Canada-Ontario Water Supply Expansion Program (COWSEP) will help Ontario producers develop, conserve and enhance sustainable water supplies.

"The Greencover Canada and Water Supply Expansion programs support the agriculture industry in its longstanding tradition of carefully managing the environment," says Minister Mitchell. "Canadian producers are dedicated to sound environmental practices, and the Government of Canada is pleased to provide strong programs to assist them."

Under Greencover Canada, the Government of Canada will contribute $15 million in financial and technical assistance to help producers improve water quality in streams, rivers and lakes, adopt sustainable land use practices, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance fish and wildlife habitat.

Producers who have completed an Environmental Farm Plan and identified an eligible project under one of Greencover's Beneficial Management Practices (BMPs) categories may qualify for up to $20,000 in cost-shared funding to help implement their project. Projects such as establishing buffer strips of permanent vegetation along streams and rivers and fencing to limit livestock access to watercourses will be eligible.

Through COWSEP, the Government of Canada will provide $5.6 million in technical and financial assistance. Primary producers, agricultural and conservation groups, rural communities and municipalities, agribusinesses and rural enterprises, educational institutions and provincial government agencies and Crown corporations are eligible for COWSEP assistance.

Under COWSEP, three types of projects will be eligible for assistance: Tier 1 - on-farm water projects; Tier 2 - multi-user water supplies; and Tier 3 - strategic initiatives. The Government of Canada will allocate up to $2.2 million for each of the on-farm and multi-user programs, and up to $1.2 million for strategic initiatives. The provincial government will match the federal government's contribution towards multi-user projects over the lifetime of the program.

"The Greencover and Water Supply programs, along with the Environmental Farm Plan and Canada-Ontario Farm Stewardship Programs, are important tools to help Ontario producers protect our water," says Minister Dombrowsky. "We are listening to suggestions from the agriculture community, and we will continue working with the federal government and with the industry to design programs that enhance the health of Ontarians and their environment."

In Ontario, the Greencover Canada Program and the $2.2 million on-farm portion of the COWSEP program (Tier 1) will be delivered by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) in partnership with the federal and provincial agriculture departments. The OSCIA is also the program delivery agent for the federal government's $57 million Canada-Ontario Farm Stewardship Program and Environmental Farm Plan programs, which were announced April 16, 2005 and the province's $20 million Nutrient Management Financial Assistance Program.

"We have worked very hard with our government partners and other farm organizations to provide producers with one-window access for on-farm environmental funding programs," says Kevin Ferguson, president of OSCIA. "Although each of these programs is delivered through different government agreements, the application and administration process will appear seamless to the Ontario farm community."

The Agricultural Adaptation Council (AAC) will deliver Tiers 2 and 3 of the COWSEP Program.

"Ontario has a great opportunity to realize tangible environmental benefits through COWSEP," says Bob Bedggood, AAC Chair. "Now more than ever, we need to encourage the adoption of sustainable methods for developing and protecting water resources in the rural and agricultural regions of Ontario, and this program will support just that."

Information on the Nutrient Management Financial Assistance Program and application forms for the Greencover Canada, Canada-Ontario Farm Stewardship and the Environmental Farm Plan programs will soon be available from OSCIA at 1 800 265-9751 or visit www.ontariosoilcrop.org/EFP/EFP.htm


BACKGROUNDER

Greencover Canada Program in Ontario

Greencover Canada is a five-year, $110-million dollar Government of Canada program which provides producers with technical and financial assistance to implement land-use-related farming practices that offer both environmental and economic benefits.

Through its four program components -- Land Conversion, Critical Areas, Technical Assistance, and Shelterbelts -- Greencover contributes to the improvement of grassland-management practices, supports sustainable land use, protects water quality, reduces greenhouse-gas emissions, enhances biodiversity and wildlife habitat, and promotes expansion of the national land base covered by perennial forage and trees.

In Ontario, $15 million has been allocated under Greencover Canada until April 1, 2008. The Greencover Canada Program will be administered and delivered by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) in partnership with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).



Greencover Canada Components

- Under the federally-delivered Land Conversion Component,
producers can apply for financial incentives to convert
environmentally sensitive annual cropland to perennial cover
- The goal of the Technical Assistance Component is to accelerate
the adoption of beneficial management practices (BMPs) for the
sustainable use and management of pastures, hay land and
riparian areas
- Under the Critical Areas Component, producers can apply for
financial assistance to help protect water quality by enhancing
riparian areas
- Under the Shelterbelts Component, producers can apply for
financial assistance to plant trees on agricultural land to
protect and preserve soil and water resources, enhance crop
production, provide wildlife habitat and capture atmospheric
carbon.

Greencover Canada Objectives

- Increase buffer corridors along watercourses
- Protect shallow groundwater systems in riparian areas
- Control stream bank erosion and enhance aquatic habitat
- Protect wetlands and environmentally sensitive areas and
habitats
- Protect existing water supplies (quality and quantity)
- Reduce wind erosion, as well as building and livestock energy
lost through strategic planting of tree windbreaks and
shelterbelts
- Enhance species diversity on the agricultural landscape
- Reduce greenhouse gases through the sequestration of carbon
dioxide
- Offer cost-share assistance to assist farmers with related
project planning and establishment costs


Relationship to Canada-Ontario Farm Stewardship Program and Environmental Farm Plan

Greencover Canada is an environmental initiative under the Agricultural Policy Framework (APF). With the exception of those participating exclusively in the Land Conversion component, an Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) must be completed and deemed appropriate through peer review in order to access any cost-shared funding through Greencover Canada.

Under Greencover, farmers may qualify for up to $20,000 in federal funding based on a 50:50 cost-share arrangement on eligible planning, material and establishment costs. Projects must be undertaken in one of five specific beneficial management practices (BMP) categories:



- Riparian area management
- Erosion control structures (riparian)
- Shelterbelt establishment
- Consultative services for grazing management planning
- Consultative services for riparian health assessment


The OSCIA is the program delivery agent for Greencover, Canada-Ontario Farm Stewardship Program/Environmental Farm Plan, the on-farm portion of the Canada-Ontario Water Supply Expansion Program and the provincial Nutrient Management Financial Assistance Program (NMFAP).

Although these are separate cost-shared programs delivered through different agreements, the application and administration process will appear seamless to the Ontario farm community.


BACKGROUNDER

Canada-Ontario Water Supply Expansion Program (COWSEP)

The Canada-Ontario Water Supply Expansion Program (COWSEP) is the Ontario portion of the National Water Supply Expansion Program (NWSEP). The NWSEP is a $60-million program administered by the Government of Canada, in partnership with provincial governments, to help the agriculture community develop and enhance agricultural water supplies.

The NWSEP is not covered by the APF implementation agreements signed by the federal and provincial departments of agriculture because the provincial departments of agriculture seldom have sole jurisdiction over water development. COWSEP will provide $5.6 million in federal funding, in partnership with the Government of Ontario, to cost-share agricultural water supply related projects. The program will run until March 31, 2008.

COWSEP Eligibility

To be eligible, projects must have an agricultural water supply component. Eligible applicants for COWSEP assistance include individual and/or incorporated groups of farmers, conservation groups, rural communities and municipalities, agri-businesses and rural enterprises, and educational institutions. Non-agricultural applicants must include agricultural partners in the project.

Three types of projects are eligible for assistance under the COWSEP. BMPs funded through the Canada-Ontario Farm Stewardship Program (COFSP) are not eligible for COWSEP funds:



- (Tier 1) On-farm Infrastructure - Up to $2.2 million for
individual on-farm infrastructure (e.g. water wells, off stream
storage, etc.) that provide secure, safe and reliable water
supplies for agricultural producers. Approved on-farm
infrastructure projects are eligible for a one-third cost share
from COWSEP to a maximum of $5,000. Tier 1 will be administered
and delivered by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement
Association.

- (Tier 2) Multi-user Infrastructure - Up to $2.2 million for
larger scale infrastructure projects (e.g. regional irrigation
infrastructure) that supply a number of water users and provide
a long-term water source. Approved multi-user infrastructure
projects are eligible for a one-third cost share from COWSEP to
a maximum of $2,000,000. Tier 2 will be administered and
delivered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council.

- (Tier 3) Strategic Work - Up to $1.2 million for projects that
expand the knowledge base of the resource (e.g. regional
groundwater/surface water studies, groundwater exploration and
drilling, feasibility studies and information extension
activities), including support for agricultural water
management related organizations and activities. Approved
multi-user projects are eligible for a 75% cost-share from
COWSEP to a maximum of $500,000. Tier 3 will be administered
and delivered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council.



Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa
    Media Relations
    (613) 759-7972 or 1-866-345-7972
    or
    Minister Mitchell's Office
    Matt Tolley
    Press Secretary
    (613) 759-1059
    or
    Office of the Ontario Minister of Agriculture,
    Food and Rural Affairs
    Kelly Synnott
    (416) 326-6439
    or
    Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association
    (COWSEP Tier 1)
    Andrew Graham
    (519) 826-4216
    or
    Agricultural Adaptation Council
    (COWSEP Tiers 2 and 3)
    Nadine Buitenhuis
    (519) 822-7554