New Hori­zons

The Glengarry News - - The Classified­s -

A new provin­cial soil strat­egy will pre­serve soil health and guide con­ser­va­tion ac­tiv­i­ties for more than a decade.

The “New Hori­zons: On­tario's Agri­cul­tural Soil Health and Con­ser­va­tion Strat­egy” is will con­trib­ute to a vi­brant agri­cul­tural sec­tor, pro­duc­tive econ­omy, sus­tain­able en­vi­ron­ment and thriv­ing so­ci­ety, said On­tario Agri­cul­ture, Food and Ru­ral Af­fairs Min­is­ter Jeff Leal.

The plan is the cul­mi­na­tion of two-and-a-half years of col­lab­o­ra­tion and hard work. “On­tario's agri­cul­tural soil is a valu­able re­source that is worth pro­tect­ing. Science shows us soil or­ganic car­bon is de­creas­ing in many places and risk of ero­sion is also high in many ar­eas, so we know we must im­prove soil care. A sus­tained com­mit­ment from the agri­cul­tural com­mu­nity, govern­ment and other part­ners is crit­i­cal to en­sur­ing our soil is healthy and pro­duc­tive for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions,” the min­is­ter says.

The strat­egy’s sum­mary notes: “Healthy soil is es­sen­tial for life and is the heart of On­tario farms and our food sys­tem. Healthy soil has many eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits in­clud­ing im­proved crop growth, yield and qual­ity, wa­ter and nu­tri­ent re­ten­tion, re­silience, bio­di­ver­sity, and cli­mate change adap­ta­tion and mit­i­ga­tion.”

“On­tario's agri­cul­tural soils face chal­lenges to their health and con­ser­va­tion. There is grow­ing ev­i­dence that soil or­ganic mat­ter is de­creas­ing in many ar­eas, and there is too much bare soil in win­ter, and soil at risk of ero­sion. Also con­cern­ing is that tillage is in­creas­ing, crop ro­ta­tions are be­com­ing less di­verse, and there is an on­go­ing shift away from peren­nial for­ages to an­nual crops. The good news is a grow­ing num­ber of farm­ers are in­cor­po­rat­ing cover crops. Farm­ers should be rec­og­nized and re­warded for this and other soil care ef­forts.”

The four themes are soil man­age­ment, soil data and map­ping, soil eval­u­a­tion and mon­i­tor­ing and soil knowl­edge and in­no­va­tion.

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