Local News

GRCA Offer Cover Crop Incentives

Farmers in our region can now apply for cover crop incentives through the Grand River Conservation Authority.
Local producers who participated in the GRCA Rural Water Quality program last year received an incentive payment. 
The program offers a per acre incentive to farmers in Waterloo Region, Haldimand, Dufferin, Brant and Wellington counties. The benefits of cover crops are numerous — they can reduce erosion, build better soil structure and improve soil health. Cover crops also help reduce runoff into local waterways, ultimately improving overall watershed health. St. Agatha area cash crop producer and president of the Waterloo Federation of Agriculture Ken Hunsberger says the program makes a lot of sense. 
“With the heavy rains we’ve seen during the last few winters, it’s becoming more and more evident that we should keep the land covered over winter to combat soil erosion.” 
Other producers agree. Over the last five years, more than 350 producers in the Grand River watershed received the cover crop incentive through the municipal programs delivered by the GRCA. With the goal of keeping soil and nutrients in the field, priority is given to erosion-prone fields adjacent to watercourses or wetlands, and areas that are susceptible to wind erosion.  Fields that are tile drained or in wellhead protection areas are also considered. Cover crops that are used solely for cover – not harvested or grazed – are eligible under the program.
Applications for the cover crop program can be submitted now for payment in spring 2020. The incentive rate varies by municipality. Funding decisions are made by a farmer review committee.
More information is available about the cover crop program by contacting the GRCA at ruralwater@grandriver.ca or calling 519-621-2761 and asking to speak to a conservation specialist.