ONFARM Request for Proposals
Questions and Answers
This is the central location of the ONFARM Q&A document. All questions directed to OSCIA during the RFP process, and the associated answers, will be posted on this webpage to provide all applicants with identical information.
Updated November 12, 2019
1. Is the KTT portion just for the GLASI watershed, or beyond?
The KTT portion is for within the subwatershed. Please focus on outreach/tour style events at the edge of field sites, such as tailgate meeting or twilight tours. There are other opportunities within ONFARM to support larger scale events, but outlining those costs is not a requirement of this proposal.
2. Under CA coordinated activities, the RFP lists ‘identify and document how management and/or behaviour practices changed’. Will there be a standardized method for measuring this?
Please include a proposed protocol to assess management behaviour and practices changed as part of your response to the RFP. It will be discussed as part of the Technical Working Group (TWG) if a standardized approach is required, and if so, the TWG will also collaborate on the finalization of that approach.
3. Do you have any guidance on the budget? i.e. is there a range that we should keep in mind or a target we should be aiming for?
Preliminary budgets were identified by each CA last year, and those values had a strong influence on the total available budget. While it is understood that budget requests will have changed since last year, it is expected that the preliminary figures were reasonable, and that final requested budgets will be in a similar range. If your needs have changed significantly please identify that as part of your proposal, and provide an accurate estimate of the funds required to complete the requested activities.
4. In the RFP we’re asked for some documentation on potential Edge of Field (EOF) sites and in the meeting on October 24, it was noted that these sites have to be established by December 1, 2019. Is there any information that we can provide to the farmers so that they understand what their commitment is to this program? I have some good sites, but I’m hesitant to promise them without being able to tell them what’s expected of them.
The EOF do not have to be established by December 1, 2019. By December 1 it is requested that potential EOF sites are identified, that introductions are facilitated between the farmer and/or landowner and the Soil Resource Group (SRG), and that a preliminary site assessment/reconnaissance has taken place. The preliminary site assessment will be completed by SRG.
The expectations of each EOF site will, to a certain extent, be determined by the Conservation Authority. The minimum criteria as per the RFP include:
- Host the EOF monitoring equipment
- Implement a BMP to be measured/assessed
- Allow SRG to complete the soil health and other soils assessments
- Host events at the site
- Participate in the crop management survey(s)
- Participate in the profitability mapping effort
Host farmers may receive an honorarium of up to $2,500 annually. This honorarium is available to all host farmers within the ONFARM program.
5. We already have partnerships with universities and other commitments that require the data we collect. Who will own the data collected through the ONFARM program, particularly the water quality and quantity data?
The funding agreement stipulates that data collected through ONFARM must be added to an open database in an appropriate form for broad access. Part of the role of the Technical Working Group (TWG) is to establish a long term data sharing policy and agreements with service providers and host farmers to clarify use and ownership over a time-frame that exceeds the relatively short ONFARM funding agreement timeline. We expect the policy will recognize that some data may be sensitive and therefore handled in a way that does not identify individual properties.
6. When identifying the team and summarizing their experience, should collaborators such as modellers, OMAFRA or MECO staff be identified?
The intent of the request is to demonstrate the capacity of the CA to complete the proposed work. If resources outside of CA staff will be required to complete the work expected from the CA, please feel free to identify them in the proposal.
7. Should the General Manager for the CA sign off on the proposal?
Sign off by the General Manager is not required as part of the proposal. The proposal will ultimately form the technical content of the formal Agreement between the CA and OSCIA, and that document will require appropriate signoff. By nature of the structure of the Agreement, this signoff will also provide signoff on the final proposal, including any amendments or adjustments that may be required.
8. The RFP says that budgets were informed by the information provided earlier in the year, or even last year. A lot of things have changed since those figures were provided. What if those budgets are no longer reasonable now that other funding sources are less available?
The overall budget was informed by the financial information provided during the preliminary program work conducted by OMAFRA. It is recognized that the financial situation may have changed. It is important to provide accurate budget estimates, even if they are significantly different that those assumed in the preliminary stages.
9. What is the first eligible date to incur expenses for the 2019-2020 fiscal year? What is the last date during 2022-2023 fiscal year when expenses can be incurred?
The first eligible date is October 24, 2019. This allows eligibility of costs incurred to attend the first TWG meeting.
The final invoice date will be early in 2023, and will be confirmed closer to the end of the program.
10. Is the expectation that the CA will complete detailed crop management surveys with every farmer for every field in the priority subwatershed?
It is hoped that at least windshield crop management data can be completed for the entire subwatershed to identify major trends in crop rotation, tillage and cover crop use. For as many producers as are willing, please try to complete the more detailed crop management surveys.
11. Is it an eligible cost to provide farmers with funds to complete the crop management survey with the LTVCA? Ie. $500.00. Or to hire CCAs or Ag Businesses to complete the surveys on behalf of the LTVCA with the farmer?
If such an incentive is required, it is accepted to incorporate that into the proposed budgets. It is also acceptable to request a CCA to complete the surveys. Project budgets are finite and decisions will have to be made on the affordability of some data collection practices proposed by CAs.
12. At the initial TWG meeting OSCIA mentioned that host farmers may receive an honorarium of up to $2,500.00 annually. Is this a cost the CA should be accounting for in our ONFARM proposal? Or will it come from a separate budget?
The $2,500 honorarium is considered a cost of the Priority Subwatershed Project, and should be included at part of the EOF budget forecast.
13. Is it an eligible cost for the CA to hire custom operators to implement a BMP on an EOF host farm? Alternatively, can funds be provided to the host farmer to offset the cost associated with purchasing the required equipment to implement the BMP? (Ie. To implement a strip-tillage system, or specific fertility application practice).
It is strongly encouraged that all participants in the EOF site consider applying to either the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, LEADS or another funding program to help offset the costs of implementation in the first year. Details about these programs are available via https://www.ontariosoilcrop.org/canadian-agricultural-partnership/. It is intended that the $2,500 annual honorarium will be sufficient to encourage maintenance of the desired BMP.
14. It is understood that the Subwatershed Profitability Mapping will be funded from a separate budget. Can OSCIA clarify how they intend to contract out the profitability mapping services for the participating farmers? Will one Agricultural consulting company, input supplier, cooperative, or CCA be selected to conduct the profitability mapping for all of the participating farmers in the subwatershed? Or will the farmers be able to choose which Ag Business provides the service?
The details of the Profitability Mapping, including the selected contractor(s), will be determined by the Technical Working Group.
15. Can OSCIA provide any additional information regarding “collaborate with the Stakeholder Working Group on one Pilot Demonstration Site”? Will each CA be expected to have a Pilot Demonstration Site within their study subwatershed that is implementing a BMP that is recommended by the SWG?
One pilot demonstration site focused on soil health is requested of each CA. The details will be influenced by the TWG and by SRG. If a potential site does not exist within the subwatershed, please consider the larger area of the CA. If no potential sites exist please state that in your proposal.
The $2,500 annual honorarium is available to farmers who host a demonstration site.