Cover crop funding has been available to farmers in the counties of Brant, Dufferin, Haldimand, Waterloo, and Wellington for many years through municipally funded Rural Water Quality Programs (RWQP).
The program, administered by the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA), has provided over 400 producers with financial incentives to introduce cover crops on more than 30,000 acres in the Grand River watershed.
Farmers in other parts of the Grand River watershed can now also benefit from cover crop incentives through new funding from the Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund, an Environment and Climate Change Canada program in partnership with Conservation Ontario.
Cover crops can help reduce erosion and hold nutrients on the landscape, preventing runoff into local waterways. They can also improve soil health, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and increase carbon sequestration.
Cover crops grown over winter are the right thing to do, according to some local producers who participated in GRCA incentive programs. “This program provided the incentive for our farm to begin experimenting with cover crop implementation, with minimal investment” says Nathan Stirk, a Dufferin County cash crop and beef producer. He explains, “I had a conceptual understanding of the long-term soil health benefits of cover crops, however, I struggled to see how the investment would translate into a financial return in our cropping system. Moving forward, our farm will continue to incorporate cover crops and experiment with new strategies. I am now convinced that there is potential for financial returns.”
Applications for cover crop funding can be submitted now for payment in spring 2023. To apply or to receive a complete list of other grants and incentives available through the RWQP please visit www.grandriver.ca/ruralwater or contact the GRCA at 519-621-2761.