The federal and Ontario governments are investing $2.5 million to help farmers become more environmentally sustainable and improve water quality in Southwestern Ontario.
Through a program called Lake Erie Agriculture Demonstrating Sustainability (LEADS), 235 farmer-led projects will receive funding to launch programs to improve soil health and reduce phosphorous runoff into the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair drainage areas.
Phosphorous, found in animal waste and fertilizer, can be damaging to watersheds and is a major cause of excessive algal blooms, which have plagued Lake Erie for years.
“It’s all about protecting the Great Lakes basin from phosphorous getting in,” said Ernie Hardeman, Ontario’s minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs. “We all as a society want to make sure we clean up the water.”
LEADS is a five-year cost-sharing program that helps develop best on-farm management practices, its target to reduce phosphorous runoff into Erie and its drainage area by 40 per cent.