CAMBRIDGE — The Grand River Conservation Authority is now accepting applications from farmers for their cover crop program. It’s a one-time incentive for producers to grow cover crops in their fields over the winter months.
The program is offered in Waterloo region, Wellington, Brant, Haldimand, and Dufferin Counties. Applications can be submitted now for payment in the spring of 2022, following a successful cover crop establishment over the winter.
Farmers within the Upper Nith River subwatershed in Perth County receive funding through the Department of Environment and Climate Change Canada. The incentive rates vary by municipality, reflecting local budget and fund availability in each area. Funding decisions are made by a review committee.
The payment ranges from $40-$60 per acre depending on where the property is located. Priority is given to fields prone to water and wind erosion. Wellhead protection areas that contribute source water and fields with tile drainage systems installed are also taken into account.
“Over the past five years, we’ve had over 400 growers in the watershed take advantage of the cover crop incentive,” said Louise Heyming, the conservation authority’s supervisor of conservation outreach. “We’ve seen a great increase in the number of acres that have cover over the winter. It’s great. We encourage producers to contact us now.”
Cover crops are planted to cover soil for the purpose of improving soil health. They boost water availability, increase soil organic matter, prevent soil erosion, suppress weeds, increase biodiversity, break disease cycles to reduce bacterial or fungal diseases, and increase soil fertility by managing nutrients. They are normally planted after harvesting a cash crop.
For more information on the cover crop program, contact the GRCA at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 519-621-2761 or visit www.grandriver.ca/en/index.aspx