Prepared by Lilian Schaer for Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association
Guelph, ON – A new roof over the livestock yard has changed Chad Anderson’s cow-calf farm.
The structure has resulted in better manure management on the 400-acre farm near Brigden, Ontario, reducing both labour and the farm’s environmental footprint. And the cattle are happier too.
Anderson has 120 cow calf pairs and about 30 replacement heifers on his farm, with half of his land in permanent hay and pasture and the rest rotating between spring cereals, wheat and soybeans.
His barnyard was uncovered, leading to manure run-off when it rained. This created a messy, unpleasant environment for his cattle and also meant Anderson had to spend a lot of time trying to manage the sloppy manure in the yard.
It was the Growing Forward 2 (GF2) program that offered a solution to his situation. He was able to secure cost-share support under the program’s best management practices (BMPs) for nutrient management for a 35 by 80 foot (10.66 x 24.38 m) roof structure that now covers a large portion of his yard.
It prevents the area from getting wet, makes the manure easier to move and manage, and keeps his cattle dry and comfortable. He also no longer has to worry about run-off.
“Eliminating the yard run-off has really improved our environmental footprint and increased our cow comfort levels,” he says, crediting GF2 for helping him get the project done.
“The Growing Forward 2 cost-share was definitely an incentive and pushed me to do something I probably wouldn’t have otherwise,” he adds. “The cost-share is the incentive that gets you started, but after the project is done, you wonder what took you so long.”
He’s no stranger to cost-share programs offered to farmers through Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA), having previously completed projects involving water, tillage, and livestock mortality management, as well as wetland and grassland bird habitat construction, and biosecurity.
His advice to other farmers contemplating participation in the GF2 program?
Cost-share support for livestock nutrient management under the Environment and Climate Change Adaptation area of focus of GF2 is available for Best Management Practices focused on manure storage improvements, manure composting, land application of manure, and livestock facilities runoff control.
GF2 is a federal-provincial-territorial initiative aimed at encouraging innovation, competitiveness, market development, adaptability, and industry capacity in Canada’s agri-food and agri-products sector.
OSCIA delivers educational workshops and administers GF2 funding assistance to farmers.
The next intake for Growing Forward 2 is November 16, 2015 to December 3, 2015. This will be for projects with expected costs before April 1, 2016. There will also be three intakes in year 4, for projects with costs incurred between April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017:
More information about GF2 funding opportunities for farmers is available at http://www.ontariosoilcrop.org/oscia-programs/growing-forward-2/ or by contacting OSCIA’S regional program leads at http://www.ontariosoilcrop.org/oscia-association/contact-us/oscia-field-staff/.