Ontario farmers leading efforts to reduce algae blooms in Great Lakes (2017)

GUELPH, ON [June 9, 2017] – A new provincial report on water use shows that Ontario farmers are ahead of the curve when it comes to curbing the environmental footprint of Ontario’s water use.

“That’s especially true when it comes to reducing phosphorus levels in Lake Erie and the Great Lakes,” says Keith Currie, president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.

“We know phosphorus levels in Lake Erie and the surrounding Great Lakes are an increasing concern, and Ontario farmers have been working to reduce the nutrients coming from our farms,” says Currie. “We’re changing our practices of fertilizer application, improving waste water management from greenhouses, working smarter and collaborating with other organizations, government and municipalities to improve our current situation.”

Currie is responding to annual Energy Conservation Progress Report, released May 30, 2017 by Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner, Dianne Saxe. The report – Every Drop Counts: Reducing the Energy and Climate Footprint of Ontario’s Water Use – dedicated one of eight sections to phosphorus. Sources of phosphorus were identified in the report – including municipal sewage, septic systems, nutrient runoff from farms and a variety of other contributors.

Excessive phosphorus entering Lake Erie causes faster algae growth than the eco-system can handle, leading to decreased water quality. “The report indicates the best approach to reducing phosphorus in Ontario’s waterways is to pursue activities that maximize environmental outcomes and minimize costs. Ontario’s agricultural community has been a leader in this area,” Currie says. OFA, along with the Grow Ontario Together group, has been working with farmers, government, industry partners and experts to ensure Ontario agriculture has a solid, sustainable approach for farmers to reduce phosphorus entering the Great Lakes and our waterways.

“There are no easy answers or quick fixes,” says Currie. “That’s why farmers have already taken the lead on our farms and in our own communities to make necessary changes. Many of those changes are outlined in the framework the Environmental Commissioner is describing in her report. We all have a role to play and as farmers we are taking our responsibility seriously. Our livelihoods depend on healthy soil and clean water – protecting the environment we live and work in is one of our core values.”

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is the largest general farm organization in Ontario, representing 36,000 farm families across the province. As a dynamic farmer-led organization based in Guelph, the OFA works to represent and champion the interests of Ontario farmers through government relations, farm policy recommendations, research, lobby efforts, community representation, media relations and more. OFA is the leading advocate for Ontario’s farmers and is Ontario’s voice of the farmer

For more information:

Keith Currie
Ontario Federation of Agriculture

Neil Currie
General Manager
Ontario Federation of Agriculture


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