Suggested Potential OSCIA Farmer Projects
The following list of potential field project topics is meant to drive a discussion on projects that individual OSCIA local and regional associations might want to consider. It has been complied by the OMAFRA Field Crop Unit and others in light of OSCIA mandate to collaborate on projects more widely for the 2015-2018 funding cycle. Some of these projects are ongoing while others are new ideas. There is always interest in adding more data and opportunity for collaboration on any of the projects.
If any of these ideas are of interest to your group, please feel free to contact Ian McDonald (ian.mcdonald at ontario.ca or 519-239-3473) who will put you in touch with the right Field Crop Unit contact or supply assistance on protocol and procedures as appropriate.
Please note that the funding for Tier Two projects is tied up for the next three years. The list if successful projects can be found under the Tier Two Grant tab.
The opportunity to submit applications for Tier One begins April 1st each funding year. Tier One is not a merit-based process. Applications for one-year proposed projects will be received throughout the year until the local/regional Association has reached the $1,500 maximum grant, or available funds have been exhausted for the year. Pre-approval is required, in order to ensure that funding is available for your project.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
The previous grant structure that many of you have been familiar with has been replaced with a new structure as of April 1, 2015. If you have not yet taken the opportunity to familiarize yourself with the NEW grant structure, please do so – the guidelines and forms for the NEW structure can be found here.
Should you have further questions/concerns please do not hesitate to contact either:
Andrew Graham – agraham at ontariosoilcrop.org OR 519-826-4216
Amber Van De Peer – avandepeer at ontariosoilcrop.org OR 519-826-3152
- QUESTION: Can a local/regional association participate in more than one Tier One or Tier Two project per funding year?
- QUESTION: How does the New Structure deal with Sponsorship from local businesses? Would that factor into the application process?
ANSWER: Both Tier One and Tier Two applications require that the applicant list ALL associated costs. These are specific costs the association expects to incur during the project timeframe, in part or in whole. At claim time OSCIA will be asking for a final tally of ALL project costs and ask if contributions have been made from other sources (cash and in-kind). These contributions will be tallied on the claim form so that we can report to the Ministry on how their funds leveraged additional contributions towards approved projects from the farm community.
TIER ONE QUESTIONS:
- QUESTION: How are the funds allocated/made available?
ANSWER: The funds are available on a First-come, First served basis, up to the maximum eligible for each local/regional association (i.e. $1,500).
- QUESTION: Is there a maximum amount that a local/regional association can apply for per year?
ANSWER: Tier One has been designed as 100% cost-share up to a maximum of $1,500 per county/district/region annually.
- QUESTION: How much funding is available to support Tier One?
ANSWER: Up to $50,000 per year will be available to support ALL Tier One activities across the province.
- QUESTION: Is Pre-approval required?
ANSWER: Yes, Pre-approval is required to keep track of budget and manage expectations. We wish to avoid any disappointments resulting in a group going ahead with a project only to find out the funds have already been allocated elsewhere. With quick turnarounds, the need to get pre-approval should not slow anyone down as only one signature is required on the application.
- QUESTION: How many projects can each local/regional association apply for each funding year?
ANSWER: Each county/district or region can make one or more claims, on pre-approved projects, until the $1,500 maximum per year is reached.
- QUESTION: Can the same project be applied for in the second year or funding?
ANSWER: Yes, if that is the desire of the group. However, the final report for the year one must be submitted along with the new application for the second year.
- QUESTION: Can locals go together to pool funding towards the same project?
ANSWER: Yes, local/regional associations may pool Tier One funding towards the same project/activity. However, each county/district/region would HAVE to submit a separate application AND claim form.
TIER TWO QUESTIONS:
- QUESTION: It has been mentioned that Tier Two is Merit Based – what does that mean?
ANSWER: Merit-based projects are competitive, where only a few projects are awarded funding dollars. These projects are to be about partnerships with multiple counties/regions, additional partners in industry, researchers, Certified Crop Advisors, etc. Collaboration is Key. The Executive will score each application/proposal and make the final decision on which proposals are to be supported.
- QUESTION: What type of project is OSCIA/OMAFRA looking for?
ANSWER: A proposal must fit into at least one of the four focus areas: Soil Health, Seed Health, Nutrient Management, and Other (this one will be an open door for the local/regional association to assemble a proposal in response to a major current issue).
- QUESTION: How will the proposals be scored?
ANSWER: Each submission will be scored on how it measures up to a number of criteria:
First, meeting OSCIA Research Priorities (i.e. Soil Health; Residue and tillage management; emerging crop treatments and new crop development; Bio-economy impacts; and Manure and municipal bio-product management).
Second, Partnering with other local/regional associations and outside parties.
Third, the level of funding requested and the level of funding and in-kind contributions brought to the table by partners.
Fourth, How applicable the work is to Ontario agriculture.
There will also be points for innovation, a strong communication strategy and letters of support that confirm a 3-year commitment from partners.
- QUESTION: Will there be another intake later in 2015 or in years 2 or 3?
ANSWER: Not necessarily. Decisions from the first intake could lock up all available funding for the three years.
- QUESTION: Will smaller-scale projects with more modest budgets have a chance with Tier Two funding?
ANSWER: The objective is large-scale, 3-year projects. However, smaller scale projects may also be successful during the scoring period.
- QUESTION: Is there concern that Tier Two could alienate those who were not successful?
ANSWER: That’s why Tier One is so appealing.
- QUESTION: Can proposals include costs for a skilled consultant (e.x. to assist with essential project tasks to ensure they are completed competently and in a timely manner)?
ANSWER: Yes, these would be considered eligible costs. The strength of the overall proposal will determine if it is successful in securing funding in the merit based scoring system.
- QUESTION: Will funds be advanced for projects, as most associations do not have the financial resources to support this calibre of project?
ANSWER: This has not yet been discussed with the Executive, but would appear to be a reasonable request due to the anticipated size of expected projects. There would be a limit put on the % of the budget available upon project approval.