Ontario Federation of Agriculture Commentary
By Peggy Brekveld, OFA Vice President
Farmers are dedicated to the preservation and prosperity of our land. It’s our business to maintain healthy soils that will ensure food production today and for future generations. Soil is one of our most valuable and irreplaceable resources. That’s why the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is committed to researching, implementing and promoting farming practices that protect our soil and environment.
OFA recently renewed an important partnership with agricultural organizations that will see the continuation of the 4R Nutrient Stewardship program. Together with Fertilizer Canada, Grain Farmers of Ontario, the Ontario Agri Business Association, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario, OFA signed a Memorandum of Cooperation. The agreement, along with a combined total investment of nearly $400,000 will ensure the 4R program will continue providing solutions for Ontario farmers currently facing the pressures of reducing environmental impacts while maximizing yields and economic benefits.
Ontario farmers share the responsibility and are part of the solution to preserving soil and improving water quality, this includes the 4R Nutrient Stewardship to use the right source at the right rate, the right time and in the right place. 4R Nutrient Stewardship is an internationally-recognized Best Management Practice (BMP) system developed as a science-based approach to help growers understand how efficient fertilizer application improves profitability while reducing nutrient losses to the environment.
Programs like the 4R Nutrient Stewardship demonstrate agriculture’s progressive approach to adopting solutions to reduce our environmental footprint while balancing farm profitability and maintaining economic growth in Ontario.
OFA also partners with other soil and water quality groups, like the Thames River Phosphorus Reduction Collaborative. This group promotes the use of BMP systems, tests new drainage techniques to reduce nutrient loss, while specifically working to reduce phosphorus loss into waterways.
OFA’s mission – Farms and Food Forever – reinforces the need to work to preserve our soil and water today, to ensure food for tomorrow. Working collaboratively with groups to continue research and development of new practices and production technology also support our organization’s mission and directly benefit Ontario farmers.