The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) is pleased to announce that the newest installment of the Great Lakes Agricultural Stewardship Initiative (GLASI) is now available. The Farmland Health Incentive Program (FHIP) offers cost-share funding for farmers located within the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watersheds and the Lake Huron southeast shores watershed to implement selected Best Management Practices (BMPs) that improve soil health and water quality.
Complementary to the Farmland Health Check-Up, the FHIP offers financial support to farmers who have worked with a participating Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) and completed a free on-farm assessment. “By working through the Farmland Health Check-Up with a CCA, farmers gain an in-depth knowledge of their farm operations and really build a solid understanding of their farmland health challenges, including what BMPs they can implement to better address those challenges—that’s where FHIP comes in,” explains Andrew Graham, Executive Director of OSCIA.
The FHIP offers cost-share funding for eight BMPs to farmers in the GLASI-eligible area, including cover crops, adding organic amendments, erosion control structures and tillage and equipment modifications, among others. The BMPs funded through FHIP will help support site-specific, on-farm actions to improve soil health, reduce nutrient loss and reduce the impacts of extreme weather events.
“The structure of the funding program is truly unique, and allows producers to customize this program for maximum impact on their farms and on the broader health of the watersheds,” explains Graham. The tiered funding system, enhanced with bonus levels, offers eligible farmers up to 75 per cent cost-share funding up to $25,000. A version of the FHIP is expected to be available until March 2018, as annual budgets allow; however, priorities for the use of the funding may change each year. Eligible invoices for this program year must be dated after the completion of the Farmland Health Check-Up, and between April 1, 2015 and December 15, 2015.
“By giving farmers the opportunity to build on what they learned through working with a Certified Crop Advisor during individual check-ups, we are confident that projects implemented through the Farmland Health Incentive Program are projects that will make a difference to the health of the Great Lakes,” asserts Graham.
For more information on eligibility criteria, the application process, and program deadlines visit the OSCIA website at ontariosoilcrop.org or contact OSCIA directly at 226-706-8669 or GLASI@ontarosoilcrop.org.
Funding for GLASI is provided through Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.