GUELPH — The federal government is pumping $4.2 million into a joint research effort that will bring together farmers, scientists and others to develop practices and technologies to reduce nutrient runoff from agricultural land into Lake Erie.
They call it ‘Living Lab – Ontario,’ and it’s the latest ‘collaboration hub’ created under the Living Laboratories Initiative. The Ontario version follows similar collaborations already set up in the Atlantic, Eastern Prairies, and Quebec regions.
Led by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA), Living Lab – Ontario will involve farmers, agricultural and conservation organizations, and scientists from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada as well as other federal departments. Findings of their research — also focused on water quality, soil health and increasing biodiversity on agricultural land — will be shared with farmers across the country. The government hopes it will “accelerate the adoption of sustainable practices and technologies” in agriculture.
Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau announced the initiative during a May 10 Zoom session with industry stakeholders.
“Ontario farmers are leaders in environmentally-smart agriculture and continue to find innovative practices that ensure the long-term health of their lands,” said Bibeau. “The collaborative research approach will help Ontario farmers develop new sustainable practices that can be used by all farmers across the province and the country.”
“The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association is pleased to be leading the collaborative involved in this new approach to agricultural innovation. Ontario farmers have long been recognized as leaders in developing and adapting farm practices that improve production and protect the environment,” said OSCIA president Chad Anderson. “On-farm applied research has been a core principle of the organization since its inception in 1939 and Living Lab – Ontario provides an ideal opportunity to create a stronger network of innovation among the partners and Ontario’s farmers. Working together with these partners we have a unique opportunity to create and test practices that will provide farmers with solutions to enhance production and improve sustainability.”