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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

February 20, 2019 / 0 Comments

Building soil structure and health yields benefits for Soil Champion

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

Maintaining and building the soil and an insatiable thirst to try new things have earned Jim Denys recognition as 2019 Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) Soil Champion.

The honour is awarded annually by the organization to recognize leaders in sustainable soil management.

Denys is the second generation on a mixed farm in Middlesex County where he cash crops mainly corn, wheat and soybeans, produces pork in a farrow to finish system, and sells seed for Maizex.

It was his father who first started with no-till wheat in the 1990s, eventually adding no-till soybeans into corn stalks and trying some early strip-till experiments. Planting corn into spring strips in soybean stubble worked well, but because of equipment limitations at the time, spring strips into wheat stubble was less successful. Read More

February 6, 2019 / 0 Comments

Temporary Field Storage of Manure In Winter

by Christine Brown, Nutrient Management Lead – Field Crops, OMAFRA

The opportunity to get bedded-pack cattle manure was too good to pass up. But now as the field in front of me is a sea of white with deep drifts, one question arises, “Where is the best location to temporarily store the manure?”

With society’s negative image of field applied manure on snow covered and frozen fields, there is a greater need for temporary field storages. Temporary field storages can be a great solution to limited barn storage of manure and can also be a time saver during the busy spring season for transporting manure. However, when the snow is deep and the ideal place for a temporary storage may not be easily accessed, what are the options?

There are guidelines that help determine the best place for temporary storages. They are in place to minimize the risk of contaminating water sources and also to help prevent complaints from local residents.
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