On April 23, 2018, the Ontario government released New Horizons: Ontario’s Agricultural Soil Health and Conservation Strategy after an extensive consultation process. This Strategy sets out a detailed framework for sustainability that will guide the long-term health of agricultural soils through to 2030.
Healthy soils are a priority for farmers and critical to the sustainability of Ontario agriculture. Recognizing its importance and potential to impact the agriculture community, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), along with other industry partners and Ontario farmers were actively involved in the consultations and discussions on this complex topic. In addition to our involvement on the Strategy Working Group, we found the level of collaboration across the industry to be unprecedented.
There are four main themes in the new soil health strategy – soil management, soil data and mapping, soil evaluation and monitoring, and soil knowledge and innovation. Each of these themes contain a set of key objectives and a list of proposed actions designed to guide provincial efforts and investments to achieve the objectives. The strategy will serve as a key resource to revitalize interest in and the importance of provincial soil health, and provide a roadmap for provincial efforts and investments to conserve our soils for future generations.
Healthy soils are always a priority for Ontario farmers. OFA believes soil health and resilience, soil conservation and sustainability, cover crops and organic matter are all critical factors in the sustainability of our agricultural system. As such:
- OFA supports the Ontario Soil Health and Conservation Strategy;
- We will insist that proposed actions areas will be voluntary for farmers to participate, and may include appropriate incentives; and
- We will expect a similar level of engagement with the agricultural community and consideration of their needs during implementation of this Strategy and proposed action areas.