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April 11, 2017 / 0 Comments

Farmers supporting grassland bird habitat through the Grassland Stewardship Program

By Lilian Schaer for Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association

Growing up, Ellen Cottrell remembers a small grassland bird called the bobolink being a common sight on her family’s rural Ontario farm. That’s no longer the case – the striking song bird that depends on hayfields and pasture for breeding habitat is now a species at risk in Ontario.

That wasn’t something she became aware of though until her local conservation authority asked if she and her husband Dean would be interested in participating in a grassland bird study being conducted by Bird Ecology and Conservation Ontario (BECO). Read More

March 1, 2017 / 0 Comments

GF2 Sharing On-Farm Success – Hugh Simpson and Truly Green Farms

Turning ideas into action

Through cost-share funding opportunities with Growing Forward 2, farmers are tackling projects to help grow their profits, expand their markets and manage risks. To share in their on-farm success, the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association is launching a series of videos of how producers are benefiting under the program.  The first two of those videos – Hugh Simpson and Truly Green Farms, are now available

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March 1, 2017 / 0 Comments

New Forage Masters Competition Introduced

Guelph, ON – The long-awaited debut of the new Forage Masters Competition took place in February at the annual conference of the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA). The previous competition ran successfully for about 30-years, but in recent years was experiencing reduced enrollment and not garnering much attention from new participants. The OSCIA, who is responsible for coordination, chose to close down the competition for 2016 and focused efforts on developing a fresh new approach.

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February 22, 2017 / 0 Comments

Farmers Urged to Control Seed Treatment Planter Dust

GUELPH, ON – Leading edge research, led by Dr. Art Schaafsma, at the Ridgetown campus of the University of Guelph, has confirmed that seed treatment dust from planters is responsible for most seed treatment chemical escapes into the surrounding environment. “After three years of research studying multiple pathways and movement of dust from air/vacuum planters, our goal should be to reduce all residue escapes by 90 per cent,” says Dr. Schaafsma. Based on the research, Schaafsma identified five recommendations to farmers:

  1. Ensure pesticides stay on the seed by using approved fluency agents and polymers;
  2. Avoid abrasive seed lubricants;
  3. Filter and redirect planter exhaust dust into the soil;
  4. Ensure clean air flows through the vacuum intakes, and;
  5. Practice conservation tillage to minimize soil movement.

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February 15, 2017 / 0 Comments

Life-long dedication to farm conservation defines Soil Champion

By Lilian Schaer for Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association

Eric Kaiser – 2017 OSCIA Soil Champion Winner

Eric Kaiser has spent a lifetime building his Quinte Region farm; transforming 14 former Loyalist mixed settlement properties on heavy clay soil into a large and productive egg, field crop and strawberry business.

And although he says it’s still a work in progress, he’s justifiably proud of the results.

His efforts have earned him the 2017 Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) Soil Champion Award, which is handed out annually by the OSCIA to recognize leaders in sustainable soil management.

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February 2, 2017 / 0 Comments

New Intake Added for Final Year of Growing Forward 2 Program

As the Growing Forward 2 (GF2) Funding Assistance Program for producers moves into its final year, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs want to be sure there are still plenty of opportunities for Ontario producers to make on-farm improvements. GF2 is a five-year federal-provincial-territorial initiative designed to encourage innovation, competitiveness and market development in Canada’s agri-food and agri-products sector through cost-share funding opportunities. GF2 is delivered to producers by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA), and will start to wrap up early in 2018.

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February 1, 2017 / 0 Comments

Launch of the Lake Simcoe Soil Health Improvement Project

The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association is pleased to announce the launch of the Lake Simcoe Soil Health Improvement Project (LS-SHIP). Following in the footsteps of the Soil Health Improvement Program, available last fall, LS-SHIP offers financial support to farmers in the Lake Simcoe watershed for implementing select Best Management Practices (BMPs) that improve soil health and water quality. Funding for LS-SHIP is provided by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs.

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