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February 27, 2021 / 0 Comments

Chad Anderson Will Lead OSCIA as 2021 President

Guelph, ON – The 2021 slate of Provincial Directors for the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) was introduced in early February at their virtual annual meeting. Taking the reins as president for the one-year term is Chad Anderson from Lambton County.

Chad Anderson, 2021 OSCIA PresidentOSCIA, founded in 1939, is a unique not-for-profit grassroots farm organization. The organization is comprised of more than 50 local associations around the province and a membership of over 4,000 producers that reflects all major sectors. OSCIA is farmers actively seeking, testing and adopting optimal farm production and stewardship practices. Their number one applied research priority is soil health.

As a leader in agricultural stewardship program delivery for more than 30 years, OSCIA works with producers to support environmental stewardship activities in agriculture through education-based programs and cost-share funding opportunities.

Chad and his wife Debbie farm just south of Sarnia in Lambton County. As the fifth generation, they operate a beef farm on the original Anderson homestead settled in 1856, where they also raised 3 children: Kaitlynn, Daniel, and Kendyl.

Along with farming Chad operates an independent crop consulting business under the shingle “Anderson Agronomy Services”. He is a University of Guelph graduate and holds the designations of Certified Crop Advisor as well as Professional Agrologist.

Chad teaches nutrient management at the University of Guelph, Ridgetown campus and in the past the environmental stewardship course. He is proud of the fact that he was able to acquire provincial certification for students looking to go on further in nutrient management development and introducing the Environmental Farm Plan to the stewardship curriculum, in which students can now complete their EFP as verified and eligible for cost share funding.

It is a real privilege and honor to have the support of the board, the St. Clair Region and my family to be the 2021 OSCIA president. Having been involved in my time on the board with two strategic plans, I am excited to see us continue to build on our plans to strengthen our grassroots and build on past association success for a great Soil and Crop future. Our board is made up of a dynamic and passionate group of farm leaders and I am confident our efforts with the help of the talented OSCIA staff will be very fruitful in empowering our locals and regions to be the best farm organization we can be, whether that be in knowledge transfer, applied research, membership engagement or whatever else comes along the way.

The other individuals representing OSCIA regions on the provincial Board of Directors are:

Warren Schneckenburger – 1st Vice, Eastern Valley Steve Sickle – 2nd Vice, Golden Horseshoe
Phil Oegema – 3rd Vice, Thames Valley Stuart Wright – Past President
Cory Cowan, St. Clair Andy van Niekerk, Georgian Central
John Poel, Heartland Eleanor Renaud, Ottawa Rideau
Quinte East Central
Birgit Martin, Northeastern Ontario Stefan Szeder, Northwestern Ontario

The Honorary Presidents for 2021 are David & Kathryn Mayberry.

For more information contact Andrew Graham, Executive Director at agraham@ontariosoilcrop.org

February 12, 2021 / 0 Comments

Ontario grain farmer, sustainable soil management professor named 2021 Soil Champions

Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association honours Henry Denotter and Dr. Laura Van Eerd
Guelph ON, 04 February 2021 

A grain farmer from Essex County and a professor in School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus have been chosen as winners of the 2021 Soil Champion Award. The annual award, which recognizes leaders in sustainable soil management, was presented by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) to Henry Denotter in the producer category and Dr. Laura Van Eerd in the research/extension category.

“We are excited to be able to present the Soil Champion Award to two recipients this year,” says Chad Anderson, OSCIA President for 2021. “Both Henry and Laura are very worthy recipients of this award and we appreciate their passion for soil health and everything they are doing to advance sustainable soil health management in Ontario.”
Henry Denotter farms with his family in southern Essex County, growing corn, soybeans, wheat and cover crops. His soil health improvement activities started decades ago when he planted his first crop of no-till soybeans on 30-inch rows. Today, he aims to be 100% no-till every year, all fields are grid soil sampled regularly and fertilizer is applied in-furrow for minimal soil disturbance.

Cover crops are a big part of Denotter’s cropping rotation, and in the lastHenry Denotter, 2021 Soil Champion winner, Producer Category several years he’s been experimenting with buckwheat. His biggest success stories, though, have been transitioning to 20-inch rows in his no-till corn and soybeans and a modified air seeder he bought and rebuilt that is completely convertible to accommodate multiple crops and fertilizer.
“Sometimes even the smallest thing can improve soil health – every little bit can make a difference,” says Denotter. “Being selected Soil Champion is like icing on the cake. This has been part of my focus for the last 20 years and I didn’t realize how much I’d done in that time.”

Dr. Laura Van Eerd, 2021 Soil Champion winner Research and Extension category

Photo credit: Bernard Tobin

Laura Van Eerd is a professor in sustainable soils management. When she first came to Ridgetown in 2003, much of her work involved nitrogen fertility in vegetable crops. Today, her big focus in on cover crops and how they influence carbon storage and soil health.

Following a sabbatical in 2013, she became among the first to publish about soil health in Canada. More recently, was invited to write the soil health chapter in an Introductory Canadian Soil Science textbook, which is expected to be released later this year. In addition to research, she’s also involved in teaching and extension activities.

“When I look at the list of Soil Champions before me, I’m in awe; this is good company and I feel honoured to be part of it,” says Van Eerd, adding she’s also appreciative of the hard work of her research technicians and students who support her research.

Nominations for the 2022 Soil Champion can be submitted any time up to November 1, 2021. Visit ontariosoilcrop.org to learn more about this year’s winners and how to make a nomination.

OSCIA is a unique, not-for -profit grassroots farm organization whose mission is to facilitate responsible economic management of soil, water, air and crops through development and communication of innovative farming practices.

Visit  www.ontariosoilcrop.org for more information about the Soil Champion award, including how to nominate someone, or for more information contact: Andrew Graham, OSCIA Executive Director, agraham@ontariosoilcrop.org or 519-654-6893

February 11, 2020 / 0 Comments

Lambton farm innovator recognized with Don Hill Legacy Award

Lambton farm innovator recognized with Don Hill Legacy Award
Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association announces first innovation award recipient

February 11, 2020 

By Lilian Schaer for Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association

Olivia Lumley accepting the award on behalf of her father (left) with Ruth Hill and Merilee Hill

2020 Don Hill Award Presentation

London ON, February 2020 – A simple solution to a pesky yield and disease problem has earned a Lambton County farmer the first-ever Don Hill Legacy Award.

Mark Lumley of Fairwind Farms in Sarnia received the award at the 2020 Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) annual meeting for an innovation that has made it possible to use a seed-placed tank mix of liquid fertilizer and the fungicide Quadris in sugarbeet production.

The Don Hill Legacy Award honouring on-farm innovation was established in 2019 in memory of past OSCIA president Don Hill.

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February 11, 2020 / 0 Comments

2020 Soil Champion Winner – Anne Loeffler

Conservation specialist named 2020 Soil Champion
Saving soil and improving water quality – one relationship at a time

February 11, 2020 – For immediate release

By Lilian Schaer for Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association

Anne Loeffler (left) accepting Soil Champion award from OSCIA President Stuart Wright

2020 Soil Champion Award

London ON, February 2020 – Anne Loeffler’s unique ability to encourage adoption of on-farm water quality improvement practices in the Grand River watershed has made her the 2020 Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association Soil Champion. The award, which recognizes leaders in sustainable soil management, was presented at the OSCIA annual conference on Tuesday, February 4, 2020.

“The region has a large diversity of farmers and farms with different levels of technology and Anne has been particularly effective at working with all of them to find solutions to water quality challenges that they can accept and implement successfully,” says OSCIA President Stuart Wright. “We’re proud to recognize her commitment to conservation, soil and water quality with the Soil Champion award.”

Over 20 years ago, the Region of Waterloo, farm organizations, Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA), OSCIA and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) collaborated to develop the Rural Water Quality Program.

The voluntary program, funded by the Region, provides technical and financial assistance to farmers to improve and protect water quality in the watershed, where half a million people draw their drinking water from river sources. Similar programs now operate Wellington, Brant, Dufferin, Oxford and Haldimand counties.

As a conservation specialist with GRCA since 1997, Loeffler’s main role has been to help farmers plan projects and prepare cost-share applications and promote the importance of soil conservation and water quality.

It isn’t always easy to convince landowners to change long-held practices, but Loeffler believes strongly in helping producers realize that soil conservation is worth the effort as a long term investment with benefit to the farm. The most impactful change she’s seen related to environmental stewardship over the years has been the building of understanding and trust between the farming community and downstream water users.

“The producer wants the soil and nutrients to stay on their land and the municipality wants exactly the same thing, so we can make this kind of win-win happen,” she says.

Nominations for the 2021 Soil Champion can be submitted any time up to November 1, 2020. Visit ontariosoilcrop.org for a full-length profile of this year’s Soil Champion Anne’s work and how to make a nomination.

OSCIA is a unique, not-for -profit grassroots farm organization whose mission is to facilitate responsible economic management of soil, water, air and crops through development and communication of innovative farming practices.

For more information:
Andrew Graham, OSCIA Executive Director, agraham@ontariosoilcrop.org or 519-826-4216

February 11, 2020 / 0 Comments

Stuart Wright Will Lead OSCIA as 2020 President

February 11, 2020
Guelph, ON – The 2020 slate of Provincial Directors for the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) was introduced in early February at their annual conference in London, Ontario. Taking the reins as president for the one-year term is Stuart Wright from Wellington County.

OSCIA, founded in 1939, is a unique not-for-profit grassroots farm organization. The organization is comprised of more than 50 local associations around the province and a membership of over 4,000 producers that reflects all major sectors. OSCIA is farmers actively seeking, testing and adopting optimal farm production and stewardship practices. Their number one applied research priority is soil health.

As a leader in agricultural stewardship program delivery for more than 30 years, OSCIA works with producers to support environmental stewardship activities in agriculture through education-based programs and cost-share funding opportunities.

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April 16, 2019 / 0 Comments

OSCIA Celebrates National Soil Conservation Week

The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association Celebrates National Soil Conservation Week
April 21 – 27 2019
Guelph, Ontario

National Soil Conservation Week, championed by the Soil Conservation Council of Canada (SCCC), is an opportunity to reflect on the importance of healthy soil resources to OSCIA members, participants in OSCIA-administered programs, and all Ontarians. “Promotion of soil health and conservation is at the forefront of OSCIA’s applied research priorities, our partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), our recognition of Soil Champions, and our administration of cost-share programs supporting soil health-enhancing best management practices,” says Andrew Graham, Executive Director at OSCIA.

OSCIA and OMAFRA help support producer-led efforts to investigate soil conservation practices through the Applied Research Grants (Tier 2). Current applied research projects looking at innovative solutions to common soil health barriers include Compaction Recovery with Cover Crops in Bruce County, Roots Not Iron 2 in the Thames Valley, and Soil Health Related to Yields in the St. Clair region. Graham points out that “The outstanding contributions of Ontario farmers and researchers are further recognized by OSCIA’s annual naming of a Soil Champion: an individual effectively advocating for sustainable soil management practices in Ontario.” Nominations for 2020’s Soil Champion are currently open.
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April 16, 2019 / 0 Comments

National Soil Conservation Week

National Soil Conservation Week: A Time for Reflection on the Role of Healthy Soil for Healthy Food
April 16, 2019

Guelph, Ontario – Each year in April, National Soil Conservation Week is celebrated to bring special attention to the role of farmland soil for providing abundant food for consumers. Not to be taken for granted, this year April 21-27 is a reminder that the thin layer of topsoil covering farmers’ fields requires extensive knowledge and superior management skill to ensure our food capacity remains eminent for future generations.

“Ancient civilizations, such as the Mesopotamians, Greeks, and Romans faced serious soil erosion which plugged irrigation canals causing food shortages and social unrest, ultimately leading to decline of those societies,” says Les Nichols, President of the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA). “We are fortunate today that we have superior knowledge through innovation and practical farmer experiences that protects and improves the health of soil. We are thankful for continued investment in research and technical advancement to protect our future as food producers.”

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February 20, 2019 / 0 Comments

Ontario farmer and soil extension specialist honoured as 2019 Soil Champions

Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association names two winners for the first time
Kingston ON, 11 February 2019. A Middlesex County farmer and a long-time provincial government soil specialist are the recipients of this year’s Soil Champion Award. The award recognizes leaders in sustainable soil management and was presented by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) to Jim Denys and Anne Verhallen at its annual conference yesterday. Although OSCIA has always had the ability to name winners in both the producer and research/extension categories, this is the first time the association has presented its award to multiple recipients.
“We are very fortunate to have people in Ontario like Anne and Jim who are so dedicated to soil health and sustainable soil management, and our selection panel was very pleased to exercise its ability to present Soil Champion awards to both of these outstanding soil health advocates,” says OSCIA President Peter McLaren.

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February 20, 2019 / 0 Comments

Ontario farmer and soil extension specialist honoured as 2019 Soil Champions

February 11, 2019 By Lilian Schaer, for the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association

Kingston ON, 11 February 2019.

A Middlesex County farmer and a long-time provincial government soil specialist are the recipients of this year’s Soil Champion Award. The award recognizes leaders in sustainable soil management and was presented by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) to Jim Denys and Anne Verhallen at its annual conference yesterday. Although OSCIA has always had the ability to name winners in both the producer and research/extension categories, this is the first time the association has presented its award to multiple recipients.

“We are very fortunate to have people in Ontario like Anne and Jim who are so dedicated to soil health and sustainable soil management, and our selection panel was very pleased to exercise its ability to present Soil Champion awards to both of these outstanding soil health advocates,” says OSCIA President Peter McLaren. Read More

February 20, 2019 / 0 Comments

Les Nichols Will Lead OSCIA as 2019 President

February 20, 2019
Guelph, ON – The 2019 slate of Provincial Directors for the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) was introduced in early February at their annual conference in Kingston. Taking the reins as president for the one-year term is Les Nichols from Bruce County.

OSCIA, founded in 1939, is a unique not-for-profit grassroots farm organization. The organization is comprised of more than 50 local associations around the province and a membership of over 4,000 producers that reflects all major sectors. OSCIA is farmers actively seeking, testing and adopting optimal farm production and stewardship practices. Their number one applied research priority is soil health.

As a leader in agricultural stewardship program delivery for more than 30 years, OSCIA works with producers to support environmental stewardship activities in agriculture through education-based programs and cost-share funding opportunities.
Read More