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Ont. stewardship funds booked up for 2011-12

A federal/provincial incentive program for Ontario farmers looking to adopt best management practices (BMPs) on their land has already committed all its available funding for 2011-12.

Having just made the application forms available Monday, the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA), acting as the delivery agent for the Canada-Ontario Farm Stewardship Program (COFSP), said Friday it’s no longer accepting the forms for the 2011 crop year.

The next round of cost-shared funding for new COFSP projects will be available in 2012-13, the fourth and final year of the federal/provincial Growing Forward ag policy funding framework.

New project proposal application (PPA) forms for the 2012 crop year will be available from OSCIA representatives in the fall of 2011, the association said.

Eligible project categories in 2011-12 range from manure storage and treatment to wintering site management and controlling farmyard runoff, among others.

PPA forms received to date for 2011-12 are “currently being reviewed and notification of the status of each application is being forwarded to the participating farm businesses,” OSCIA said.

The PPAs for the 2011 crop year had just become available Monday, for cost-sharing on eligible projects started on or after Sept. 15, 2010.

Cost-share funds are allocated for each year of the program on a first-come, first-served basis.  Once the annual funds are fully committed, PPAs can no longer be accepted for that given year.

COFSP backs the development of BMPs to “reduce risks to water and air quality, improve soil productivity, enhance wildlife habitat, or result in energy conservation.”

Cost-shared funding for specific COFSP categories is set at either 30 or 50 per cent, up to each specific funding category’s caps.

Under Growing Forward, the maximum federal contribution per legal farm entity with a unique farm business registration number (FBRN) is $30,000.

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