Tier One Grant 2019/2020 Summaries

Many Tier One Grants were supported through the 2019/2020 funding year. The summaries of the completed projects have been compiled and provided under the following headings:

Field Trials 
Name of Project: Sulfur Trials
Local/Regional Association: Oxford SCIA
Contact Name: Cathy Dibble
Description of Completed Project and what was Achieved/Learned: Additional sulfur applications showed statistically reliable increase in yields. Still waiting on soil samples to be tested. Additional data to be available shortly.
Attendance at Event:

Speakers At Events
Name of Project: Kent & Essex AGMs
Local/Regional Association: St. Clair Regional SCIA
Contact Name: Krista Gladstone
Description of Completed Project and what was Achieved/Learned: Advertisement placed in November 26th, 2019 Today’s Farmer newspaper advertising the Kent Soil and Crop Improvement Association and the Essex Soil and Crop Improvement Associations’ Annual General Meetings that were held on December 4th and 5th, 2019.
At the KSCIA AGM, there were approximately 45 people in attendance and at the ESCIA AGM, there were approximately 75 people in attendance. The AGMs are the main venue for membership renewals and expansion. The theme for both meetings was Alternative Crops and guest speakers included Meghan Moran of OMAFRA who spoke about winter canola, and John Baker of Stone Hedge Bio-Resources who discussed the topic of growing Hemp.
Attendance at events: 120


Name of Project: Annual General Meeting
Local/Regional Association: Wellington SCIA
Contact Name: Linda McFadden
Description of Completed Project and what was Achieved/Learned: Producers learned about the steps and process a retailer follows to become R4 certified and what it means for producers. There was a marketing specialist who reviewed 2019 world and domestic trends and what happened and how it affected producers, especially China situation. He also had some good insight for 2020 and beyond considering weather and field conditions of the fall of 2019. He focussed on corn and soybeans. An OMAFRA crop specialist talked about land stewardship and nutrient applications and moderated a panel of bio-solid consultants to talk about the organic amendments.
Attendance at events: 55


Name of Project: Support of Educational Speaker for COAC
Local/Regional Association: Georgian Central Regional SCIA
Contact Name: Andy Van Niekerk
Description of Completed Project and what was Achieved/Learned: On February 28, 2020, the audience learned of the finer points of regenerative agriculture as a result of attention to soil microbiology. Michael Thiele shared his experiences in agriculture with a focus on resource management – soil, water and wildlife habitat. A more detailed description of Mr. Thiele’s bio can be found at COAC’s website: https://www.centralontarioagconference.ca/wp-content/2019/12/2020COAC_Brochure.pdf
Attendance at events: 350
Name of Project: AGM Speakers
Local/Regional Association: Brant SCIA
Contact Name: Pam Charlton
Description of Completed Project and what was Achieved/Learned: Brant Soil and Crop hosted their Annual General Meeting on Thursday, January 16th, 2020 at the Burford Agricultural Hall. This year, members participated in discussions and learned about our CoCoRHS project data, Climate Change and the Carbon Tax at the farmer level as well as corn plot trial results. Our Feature Topic for the day was a producer panel with growers from across the province sharing their experiences and knowledge on Soil Health and what they are doing in their operations to protect water quality and preserve our soil. Roughly 85 members and industry reps attended the meeting with lots of information sharing and networking occurring.
Attendance at events: 85
Name of Project: AGM
Local/Regional Association: Huron SCIA
Contact Name: Sharon Devine
Description of Completed Project and what was Achieved/Learned: Three guest speakers presented in the afternoon. First topic was ‘Recognizing and Managing your Mental Wellness on the Farm’, presented by Shannon Rice-McGavin, Director of Tanner Steffler Foundation. Second guest topic was ‘Putting Trees to Work on Today’s Agricultural Landscape’, presented by Dave Pullen, Forest Conservation Officer/County Forest Manager, County of Huron. The third topic was ‘Managing Soil Fertility and the Environment while Using Manure and NASM’, presented by Christine Brown, Field Crops Sustainability Specialist (OMAFRA).
Attendance at events: 85
Name of Project: 2020 AGM Guest Speakers
Local/Regional Association: Niagara North, Niagara South & Haldimand SCIAs
Contact Name: Cathy Vitucci, Lisa Haegens and Elliott Armstrong, respectively
Description of Completed Project and what was Achieved/Learned: The three local associations hosted their AGM on January 26, 2020. It was well attended and offered a variety of topics. Mental Health has been a topic at various farm meetings for the past few years. This year, the topic was taken a bit further with our speaker Deborah Vanberkel’s focus on how to identify and ways to help. The more and more this topic becomes a regular part of the conversation, the stigma that comes along with mental health issues will hopefully diminish. Harold Rudy spoke about his book ‘The Soil Fixers’ as well as his work with OSCIA, and what he would imagine to see written in the next 30 years of soil discussions.

The other speakers at the meeting included Jake Munroe speaking on increasing soil health on your farm, and Drew Thompson who talked about strategies for maximizing your wheat yields. Drew is always able to captivate the audience and give some great take home thoughts. Rounding out the speakers was Joyce Sonneveld sharing how she and her municipality implemented the “Emily Project” which is a 911 property location project to help First Responders locate farm properties, and James Dyck who presented a project he is working on called Delaying Soybean Harvest.

Attendance at events: 120
Name of Project: Annual Bus Trip
Local/Regional Association: Waterloo SCIA
Contact Name: Lynn Strenzke
Description of Completed Project and what was Achieved/Learned: Speakers at the meeting shared information regarding “Things That We Learned Through the Difficult Growing Season of 2019”. Police officers shared some valuable information and tips for staying safe during the harvest.
Attendance at Event: 60
Name of Project: Speaker Gifts for Annual Meeting
Local/Regional Association: Bruce SCIA
Contact Name: Jonathan Zettler
Description of Completed Project and what was Achieved/Learned: We had an excellent annual meeting with about 50 people in attendance. Feedback from those in attendance was that the information was timely and of interest. A+ on content and it rivaled that which has been presented at some of the major conferences this winter.

The meeting content focused on 3 areas: 1) new technologies that can be used to improve our soil management; 2) an update on our project mitigating the effects of soil compaction with cover crops; and 3) phosphorus movement within the soil landscape.

We also had an update from OMAFRA’s project on sulfur response in Winter Wheat, and a summary of our water infiltration project.

Attendance at events: 50

Bus Trips/ Crop Tours
Name of Project: 2019 Twilight Tours
Local/Regional Association: St. Clair Regional SCIA
Contact Name: Krista Gladstone
Description of Completed Project and what was Achieved/Learned: There were 50 people in attendance at ESCIA’s Twilight Tour, 100 people at LSCIA’s Twilight Tour, and 50 people expected at KSCIA’s Bus Tour for a total of 200 people attending these St. Clair Region Summer Events. To date, there have been 14 new soil and crop members that signed up at these events. These annual twilight tours/bus tour fall under the Education Activity guidelines and included guest speakers, equipment demonstrations, and in-field trials/tours. These events are also designed to support and increase membership engagement and recruitment activities in the local associations. The advertisement was placed in the July 23rd edition of Today’s Farmers and provided details on the date/time/locations/attendance costs/etc., for the 3 local events. The regions also purchased 9 registrations to Compaction Day which was held in Shedden, Ontario. These registrations were used as promotional items towards increasing attendance at the upcoming Twilight Tours and promoted the value of being a St. Clair Region Soil and Crop Member. Finally, each local association was given 5 OSCIA T-Shirts which were used as draw prizes to encourage new soil and crop members to join the organization.
Attendance at Event: 200
Name of Project: Twilight Meeting
Local/Regional Association: Wellington SCIA
Contact Name: Linda McFadden
Description of Completed Project and what was Achieved/Learned: Attendees observed long-term tillage and rotation trials at Elora Research Centre. Then, visited Claudia Wagner-Riddle’s lab and her students and technicians led a report and demonstration of nutrient movement in the soil and cover crops. Guest farmer Doug Patterson talked about his farming with cover crops, no-till, and mitigating slug damage. He is a member of the Ontario Soil Network.
Attendance at Event: 40
Name of Project: Twilight Tour
Local/Regional Association: Lambton SCIA
Contact Name: Chad Anderson
Description of Completed Project and what was Achieved/Learned: Twilight Tour held August 14th. The big draw was the display of the latest planter technology during a session facilitated by Peter Johnson. Manufacturers discussed the newest updates to both planters and seeders. The biggest area of interest was on-the-go hydraulic down pressure systems and their usefulness. OMAFRA’s Joanna Follings gave an update on the sulphur plot work which Lambton is collaborating with. Richard Anderson from BASF gave a presentation on a new spray tool app to help deal with the proper herbicide stewardship of dicamba. Peter Johnson closed the night with an annual agronomy Q&A.
Attendance at Event: 120


Name of Project: Bus Tour
Local/Regional Association: Russell SCIA
Contact Name: Rachelle Chabot
Description of Completed Project and what was Achieved/Learned: Autobus pour le voyage d’été. Ci-inclus le programme de la journée. La journée fut très appreciér par le groupe. L’autobus ètait remplie cela fut très intéressant pour les participants.
Attendance at Event: 40
Name of Project: Bus Trip
Local/Regional Association: Peterborough SCIA
Contact Name: James Buck
Description of Completed Project and what was Achieved/Learned: Bus Trip to Victoria County. We visited Callaghan Dairy and toured dairy barns. We saw two methane digesters in operation. One was used on farm manure and the other green waste from Toronto. The digesters are another source of income for their farm. Our second stop was at Pickseeds processing plant. Everyone was amazed at the volume and size of the operation. The last stop was at Maraposa Dairy in Lindsay. We had a complete tour of this goat cheese factory and enjoyed samples of Gouda and other products they produce. It was a great day and lots of information from our neighbouring county.
Attendance at Event: 45
Name of Project: Crop and Craft Brewery Tour
Local/Regional Association: Ottawa-Carleton SCIA
Contact Name: Taylor Brophy
Description of Completed Project and what was Achieved/Learned: On August 13, 2019, the OCSCIA organized a bus tour to visit various local craft breweries, wineries and cideries in Carleton County. We also stopped in to see a Maisex plot hosted by Panmure Farms, Kinburn.
Attendance at Event: 40
Name of Project: Twilight Tour/AGM
Local/Regional Association: Essex SCIA
Contact Name: Michael Dick
Description of Completed Project and what was Achieved/Learned: The Twilight tour was a grower information day hosted by the 2018 Conservation Farm Award winner. The evening features presentations by Anne Verhallen and Kevin McKague, both of OMAFRA.

The ESCIA AGM was a business meeting as well as a grower information day featuring guest speaker John Baker, StoneHedge Bio-Resources Inc.

Attendance at Event: 60
Name of Project: Soil Compaction Field Study – Year 2/Soil Health Tour
Local/Regional Association: Halton SCIA
Contact Name: Mark Eastman
Description of Completed Project and what was Achieved/Learned: The 2019 Tier 1 project funding was originally planned to cover portions of our compaction project (NDVI imagery acquisition) and a soil health event. Due to the wet spring conditions, cropping plans changed in our cooperator fields and we were unable to complete all of the intended work in 2019. We did complete some of the NDVI acquisition, but this cost was covered by a Halton Region Agricultural Community Development Fund. Therefore, we applied the Tier 1 funding largely towards our summer soil health educational event/bus tour. A description of the event can be found below.

Our soil health event/bus tour focused on the soil health building principles of: keeping it covered, minimize disturbance, plant diversity, maximize living roots in the soil and integration of livestock into the system. We started the day at Ebenezer United Church in Milton for a morning of presentations and panel discussion from Senator Rob Black, Don Lobb and Lillianne Morris and Cameron Ogilvie from Soils@Guelph. We had a great lunch prepared by the church and then headed out on our bus tour. We made four stops to Kitcholm Farms, Cove Valley Farm, Woodrill Farms and Carl Wahlstrom’s farm to discuss various techniques used by local growers to improve soil health. The group learned about cover crop seed production, the use of manure and biosolids and how a diverse crop rotation helps build healthy soils.

Jennifer Glenney, a reporter from Farmtario attended the event and published the following article: https://farmtario.com/news/halton-area-farmers-doing-their-part-to-improve-soil-health/

Attendance at Event: 40
Name of Project: Local Innovative Industry Bus Tour & Informative AGM
Local/Regional Association: Chatham-Kent SCIA
Contact Name: Karla Jackson
Description of Completed Project and what was Achieved/Learned: Chatham-Kent Soil and Crop planned an informative bus tour originally set for July but was postponed til September. It was open to existing members and non-members but had a poor turnout and the bus was cancelled and we used our own vehicles to travel from site to site instead. We visited Ontario Fangzheng Agriculture Enterprise which is working towards growing rice, a new crop, in Chatham-Kent. Our members learned how it was planted, grown and harvested. From there we traveled to an automatic sampling site in Jeannette’s Creek where Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority showed us the equipment they are using and educated us on what they are sampling and what some of their preliminary phosphorus monitoring results showed. Our final stop was with Maizex Seeds. Maizex showed us how they harvest seed corn in a local field and they also provided us with a tour of their facility. Dave and Tracey Baute then treated our group to a BBQ which was supplied in-kind.

The rest of the Tier 1 grant money was used towards our annual meeting where we had two featured speakers. Meghan Moran with OMAFRA discussed the successes and struggles they have had in trying to grow winter canola in Essex county. Our second speaker was John Baker who is a cannabis breeder. He educated our members on the history of cannabis breeding and the difference in strains available today. His talks were timely as cannabis, hemp and winter canola are gaining popularity in Ontario as a special crop in farmers rotations. These funds were used towards speaker fees and gifts.

One of our directors tried sulphur on soybeans again this year to see if there is any benefit. Our director saw little increase again to the crop. Our Tier 1 covered the cost of the product which was applied by AGRIS.

Attendance at Event: 60
Name of Project: Information Day
Local/Regional Association: Sudbury SCIA
Contact Name: Mack Emiry
Description of Completed Project and what was Achieved/Learned: The information sessions featured many speakers: Birgit Martin, OSCIA Director; Julie Poirier Mensinga, OMAFRA Agriculture Development Advisor; Madisson Keegan, Conservation Sudbury presenting on Water Source Protection and Agriculture; Jim Warren, Land Resource Specialist, Environmental Management Branch, OMAFRA on Renewal of Soil Maps in Ontario.
Attendance at Event: 16
Name of Project: SWAC Webex
Local/Regional Association: Sudbury SCIA
Contact Name: Mack Emiry
Description of Completed Project and what was Achieved/Learned: The SWAC conference was delivered via Webex at College Boreal in Sturgeon Falls on Jan 8 between 9am-5pm. 2 rooms were provided with different presentations in each. Every participant found the setup very good and educational. It saved on having members travel to Ridgetown to participate in the conference.
Attendance at Event: 16

Conferences/ Events/ Misc.
Name of Project: Compaction Day
Local/Regional Association: Elgin SCIA and Thames Valley SCIA
Contact Name: Margaret May & Cathy Dibble
Description of Completed Project and what was Achieved/Learned: Elgin SCIA hosted a Compaction Day to illustrate the importance of proper tires, inflations and equipment weights. Equipment was sourced from various dealers as well as local farmers and ESCIA Directors. Equipment was weighed and tire pressures documented the 2 days previous to the event. Equipment was posted with this information so attendees could see and record the info if desired. They buried sensors at 6″, 12″ and 20″ depths and the resulting graphs were projected onto a large screen LED screen so the crowd could see. The information and discussions were led by Greg Stewart and Peter Johnson.

Equipment dealers brought equipment designed to alleviate compaction and they demonstrated them in the field. They also dug soil pits to evaluate their performance. These discussions were led by Dale Cowan, AGRIS Coop and Adam Pfeffer, Bayer.

Cover crop seed was donated by General Seeds and seeded June 22. Nine different mixtures were seeded and signed. A soil pit was dug across all the varieties. Dan Saurette, Jim Warren, Anne Verhallen and Christine Brown mapped out the horizons, took soil cores and discussed soil health and cover crops.

Attendees spent half their afternoon at the soil sensors then divided their time equally between the machinery and the trade show before dinner. Greg Stewart of Maizex Seeds and Peter Johnson facilitated the session in front of the sensors.

After dinner, they had 3 speakers – Ken Brodbeck, Precision Inflation; Aaron Breimer, Veritas; and Peter Johnson, Real Agriculture.

Visuals were provided to show the effect of tire pressures, types and inflations during the soil sensor portion. This is critical to help understand the effects of compaction. Full data from the event will be presented by Ian McDonald at the ESCIA AGM in January 2020.

Many thanks to the Elgin Directors, Ontario Compaction Team and OMAFRA Staff from various branches for their help and expertise.

Attendance at Event: 300
Name of Project: Muskoka Farms Matter
Local/Regional Association: Muskoka SCIA
Contact Name: Katya Riley
Description of Completed Project and what was Achieved/Learned: This day-long event was organized and hosted by the members of the local OFA and MSCIA boards with joint funding from both Associations. It encouraged local families to attend and learn about the importance of farming in Muskoka.
Attendance at Event: 250
Name of Project: Strip Till Day
Local/Regional Association: Victoria SCIA
Contact Name: Adam Bent
Description of Completed Project and what was Achieved/Learned: Strip Till Day consisted of various demonstrations facilitated by OMAFRA staff and included a soil pit discussion.
Attendance at Event: 96
Name of Project: Before the Plate Moving Screening
Local/Regional Association: Waterloo SCIA
Contact Name: Lynn Strenzke
Description of Completed Project and what was Achieved/Learned: The individuals attending the movie enjoyed a movie depicting “where their food comes from”. Those that attended meals after the meeting at 2 different restaurants were able to discuss the movie and ask questions of local farmers. The meal was prepared with all locally grown products./td>
Attendance at Event: 100
Name of Project: Cereal Smart by Webex
Local/Regional Association: Sudbury SCIA
Contact Name: Mack Emiry
Description of Completed Project and what was Achieved/Learned: Cereal Smart Program was presented by Webex at Laurentian University. The program included a focus on production of winter and spring cereals with emphasis on advanced cereal agronomy and technology. The keynote speaker was Phil Needham, of Needham ag Technologies, KY.
Attendance at Event: 100
Name of Project: Farm Safety Training Day
Local/Regional Association: Renfrew SCIA
Contact Name: Jennifer Doelman
Description of Completed Project and what was Achieved/Learned: This was a grower/farm safety day for local farmers and adult family members and staff to receive farm safety training for programs that would otherwise not have been able to be offered individually (cost prohibitive for individual farms). As confined spaces and fall protection are both high risk and frequent farm safety hazards, the directors encouraged this training exercise for education and community outreach and as a membership expansion opportunity.
Attendance at Event: 20
Name of Project: Weather Stations
Local/Regional Association: Oxford SCIA
Contact Name: Cathy Dibble
Description of Completed Project and what was Achieved/Learned: We purchased weather stations for accurate weather data collection across the county. Data will be included in regional updates and annual reports.
Attendance at Event: N/A
Name of Project: Comparing Methods for Making Soil Management Zones
Local/Regional Association: Golden Horseshoe & Wentworth SCIAs
Contact Name: Janice Janiec
Description of Completed Project and what was Achieved/Learned: Golden Horseshoe and Hamilton-Wentworth SCIA’s combined their Tier 1 grants towards this project, a comparison of methods for using soil sampling and satellite imagery to determine soil management zones in a field. The project used Soil Information System detailed sampling approach, compared to Holmes Agro’s satellite image approach and compared these to grid sampling and field composite approaches administered by Clark Agri Services. Costs included soil sampling and analysis, data analysis, determining zones and learning blocks within the field and prescriptions for the zones based on each method. The site was located in Hamilton-Wentworth in Millgrove. Costs exceed the combined Tier 1 grants and will be covered by the region, the county and the cooperator.

The objective of the project was to breakdown the approach to settling up management zones, encourage soil sampling and present the economics of variable rate application. Results indicated that while the SIS approach was the most costly, it also provided the most detailed and accurate information with respect to determining zones and making management decisions. The satellite imagery could provide a platform for determining sidedress N rates or variable rate seed populations where multi year data exists. The grid sampling method is very cost effective and easy to do, and is certainly better than no soil samples, but does not provide enough accuracy for determining management zones.

Project results were communicated at a field event at the project site on August 29 and presented at the OSCIA annual conference. Results may also be included in the regional newsletter and at upcoming spring meetings.

Attendance at Event: 75
Name of Project: Pollinator Garden
Local/Regional Association: Niagara North SCIA
Contact Name: Cathy Vitucci
Description of Completed Project and what was Achieved/Learned: The pollinator garden continues to be a meeting area for various groups in our community. It also demonstrates different uses of water control features and soil erosion control.
Attendance at Event: N/A
Name of Project: Assessing Usefulness of Agricultural Soil Health Tests
Local/Regional Association: Peel SCIA
Contact Name: Abbie Brander
Description of Completed Project and what was Achieved/Learned: Peel Soil and Crop Improvement Association has partnered with Credit Valley Conservation and fourth year Environmental Science students from the University of Guelph to determine the efficacy of commercially available soil health tests. Along with sampling from a farm in the Peel region, the students will complete a literature review on the subject. The Soil Health Test 2 package from A&L Laboratories covers many chemical, physical and biological components that are linked to soil health. The Soil Health Test 2 includes biological components of soil health that are correlated with Solvita Burst Test (SBT). The overall “Soil Health Index” provided by A&L Laboratories incorporates the SBT, water extracted organic carbon and water extracted organic nitrogen.

Solivta Burst Test (SBT)
The Solvita CO2-Burst test is one of the tests available within VitTellus’ suite of biological soil tests. The test involves collecting the C02 produced during respiration from the microbes within the soil. The amount of C02 produced is used to determine the quantity of microbes in the soil. With an accurate measurement of the microbial community size, the carbon and nitrogen contained by those organisms can be calculated. The carbon and nitrogen quantities derived from the SBT are nutrients that will be released as the organisms die overtime, acting as a slow release fertilizer for the crops. To communicate these stored nutrient values to farmers, A&L Canada Laboratories have created their Soil Health Index (SHI) that incorporates their respective SBT score. The SHI ranks a soil’s biological health on a scale of 1-60 with “1” considered to be a poor soil and “60” a healthy soil.

Preliminary Results
The Solvita Burst Test results range between 0 (low health) and 150 (high health). In both the high yielding area and the low yielding area on the subject farm a score of 94 was obtained. This means that there is something other than biological activity causing the yield difference on the test. These results were shared with the membership at the AGM through a handout.

Next Steps
As indicated in the grant application, the students will complete their analysis of the data and prepare a final report in March.

Attendance at Event: N/A
Name of Project: 2020 Northern Ontario Ag Conference
Local/Regional Association: North Eastern, Parry Sound/Nipissing East, Sudbury, Nipissing West/East Sudbury, Temiskmaing, Algoma and Cochrane SCIAs
Contact Name: Emily Potter
Description of Completed Project and what was Achieved/Learned: The second annual Northern Ontario Ag Conference (NOAC) brought together some 125 farmers, market gardeners, ag professionals, and ag researchers for two days of education and networking. We had 25 speakers and organizations provide presentations on pertinent information for agriculture in northern Ontario. The event surveys we received afterwards had overwhelmingly positive feedback, with approximately 95% of respondents saying that they were either likely or very likely to both attend future NOACs and recommend NOACs to others. The surveys also provided excellent feedback on topics to address next year, and described pros (networking opportunities, useful presentations) and cons (questionable audio system) of the conference, which will be used to further improve the conference in future years.

Because most SCIA members in attendance were delegates for the NEOSCIA AGM at the conference, many did not take advantage of the member mileage as they were already being compensated through NEOSCIA. For next year, we will look into member discounts for conference registration instead as a better way to attract SCIA members to the conference. This was a collaborative grant across the North East associations.

Attendance at Event: 125



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