Ontario Protecting our Environment through Agri-Food Research

Ernie Hardeman, Ontario's Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Innovative projects supporting new products and practices for soil and water protection

Ontario’s government is working for the people by investing in agri-food research to help protect the province’s natural resources.

This $1.8 million investment will support research projects to develop new environmental technologies, practices, and on-farm solutions, and foster efficiency and competitiveness in the agri-food sector.

“Farmers sustain crops and manage soil health – they are dedicated stewards of the lands they work,” said Ernie Hardeman, Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “We want to continue providing farmers with the latest knowledge and tools, so they keep protecting our soil, water and air for generations to come.”

The government has provided this investment through the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance, a collaboration with the University of Guelph, to help Ontario’s agri-food and rural sectors innovate and grow. Some of this research is aimed at helping farmers:

  • Attract wild bees to help pollinate their fruit and vegetable crops
  • Use the right tools to track soil health on their land
  • Know what to grow off-season in corn fields to enhance productivity
  • Overcome barriers that prevent some farmers from adopting best soil health practices

“As Canada’s food university, University of Guelph is committed to research that enhances the production of safe and healthy food while protecting the environment,” said Malcolm Campbell, Vice-President (Research). “With this government support, University of Guelph researchers will make world-class discoveries that help Ontario farmers nourish Canadians and preserve our natural environment.”

“We are proud to support research and innovation that help Ontario farmers stay competitive and make the agriculture and food sectors more resilient while maintaining strong environmental protection. This is another great example of how our Made-in-Ontario Environment Planensures people in Ontario can benefit from both a healthy environment and a healthy economy,” said Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.

As committed to in the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan, the research looks at ways to enhance soil health and water quality such as helping tackle algal blooms in the Great Lakes as well as making farmers more resilient to climate impacts.

Quick Facts

  • The $1.8 million earmarked for soil and water protection projects is part of the province’s $5.8 million annual investment in the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance, which supports research at the University of Guelph. The Alliance funds research in areas of environmental sustainability, animal and plant health and production, as well as agri-food and bio-product development.
  • Ontario’s Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan and Ontario’s Agricultural Soil Health and Conservation Strategy outline commitments to support actions like on-farm soil and water quality best management practices that help the agriculture sector address environmental concerns and be more resilient to current and future climate impacts.
  • Ontario’s agriculture and agri-food sector is a key driver of the provincial economy, contributing $39.5 billion to the GDP and supporting more than 822,000 jobs.

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