As members of the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association, all local associations in Ontario are eligible to receive an annual $1500 Tier One grant. These discretionary funds can be used for a wide assortment of activities, including field days, crop tours, events, and one-year research trials.
The Manitoulin SCIA, for example, is using some of their funds for an in-field trial this summer testing different forages. In southern Ontario many associations also use their Tier One funds for trials, including projects looking at sulfur applications, cover crops, and soil compaction.
Before COVID, many associations could use their Tier One funds to bring a speaker to a meeting, but lately those sorts of events have mostly been online. One example of such an event would be the virtual Northern Ontario Producer Research Day back in February, when Sudbury West SCIA used some of their Tier One funds to help NOFIA bring in researchers to talk about different studies going on in the north.
Some events can still go ahead in person, providing they follow COVID safety guidelines. West Nipissing/East Sudbury, for example, often uses some of their funds for a summer crop tour. They were able to hold their tour when restrictions relaxed last summer and are hoping to do the same this year.
Waterloo SCIA had an interesting alternative to an in-person crop tour last summer. They used their tier 1 funds to print and place signs that explained what crops were growing in nearby fields, and some of their uses. They received positive feedback from both agricultural and non-agricultural members of the public and saved the signs to be used again in the future.
As Regional Communications Coordinator for the Northeastern Ontario SCIA, NOFIA can assist with the process of applying for Tier One funds or putting together an event or trial. Members can reach out to their secretaries with ideas, or directly to NOFIA at 705-647-4782 or email@example.com.