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Ont. pilots protection for farms’ species at risk

A pilot program for farmers who have signed onto the Canada-Ontario Environmental Farm Plan will offer incentives for them to improve protection for wild species at risk on their land.

The province on Thursday said it will put up $800,000 for the pilot program, with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture administering the funding and the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association setting up the program.

Examples of projects eligible for funding through the incentive program include controlling the spread of invasive plants, protecting or restoring habitats for at-risk species, managing erosion damage along riverbanks and improving pest management, the province said.

“Ontario farmers have been volunteering for years to protect essential
habitats and support species recovery programs on their lands,” said Natural
Resources Minister Donna Cansfield in a release. “This new partnership recognizes the value of their ongoing contributions, and provides incentives for even greater protection of species at risk.”

“Farmers are natural stewards of the environment. Improving the quality of land, air and water does, however, come at a cost to the farmer,” OFA president Geri Kamenz said in the same release.

“This incentive program helps farmers maintain ecological goods and services from which all society benefits.”

Other partnership members who have signed on to support the pilot program alongside the Ontario MNR, OFA and OSCIA include the provincial agriculture department, Ontario Stewardship, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Ontario Farm Environmental Coalition.

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