CAP: Soil Health and Water Quality: Innovation Pilots and Applied Research

Purpose of Project Category:

Projects will focus on supporting applied research and demonstrations of technology, with selection driven by industry, where technology and/or practices need validation and demonstration on Ontario farms to overcome barriers to adoption identified by the sector. Projects will also increase knowledge of innovative technology and practice implementation with impacts to soil and water (on-site and off-site impacts) through pilots on-farm. Education and outreach initiatives, including economic assessment (i.e. yield and/or profitability assessments), will help to strengthen project activities related to soil health and/or water quality.

Target Audience – Who should apply?

Organizations and collaborations, with a focus on the agriculture or agri-food sector, environment, or conservation with projects supporting improvements in water quality undertaken in a geographical area that must have demonstrated nutrient related water quality impairments or with projects supporting soil health, undertaken in geographical areas with degraded soil health

Eligible Projects

  • Projects must address soil health and/or address surface water quality across a watershed area or for a water body with demonstrated phosphorus stress
  • Applied research and testing of new technologies
  • Pilot projects
  • Demonstration projects
  • Projects must demonstrate knowledge/expertise and networks for knowledge translation and transfer and include a knowledge translation and transfer plan
  • Projects must demonstrate an understating of current state of knowledge of the practice or technology

Examples of Projects

  • Evaluating soil degradation and phosphorus loss from farms on a site-specific basis where the information is used to inform modeling, education/outreach efforts, tool development, and/or practice selection
  • Evaluating methods to improve water quality and soil health, through mitigating or managing risks to surface and ground water, such as practices to reduce soil erosion, more efficiently managed nutrients, or technologies to capture and treat run-off

Project Category Priorities

  • Projects related to water quality must be undertaken in geographic area(s) with demonstrated nutrient related water quality impacts, with a priority for the Lake Erie basin
  • Projects related to soil health must by undertaken in geographic areas with degraded soil health
  • Projects that help an agriculture sector quantify or demonstrate their sources of phosphorus loss or soil degradation to their producers
  • Applied research should be addressing an identified gap and/or building on past efforts

Priority will be given to projects that:

  • Are planned and executed in partnerships with industry
  • Are supporting a broad impact across a sector or a geographical area to address an identified agri-environmental risk (i.e. have high potential for widespread adoption and high likelihood of impact
  • Can demonstrate the research gap/need has yet to be addressed and/or has come from the sector or government as priority
  • Quantify the benefit to the environmental outcome (e.g. quantifies the phosphorus loss reduction)
  • Support risk assessment and/or decision-making tool development or enhancement
  • Include economic factors such as input costs and yield assessment in the analysis
  • Support a whole-farm approach and multiple-BMP analysis
  • Pilot test technologies not currently in widespread use within the production system in Ontario

Funding Available

  • Up to 50 per cent cost-share funding of total eligible costs
  • Requests for funding above 50 per cent must clearly demonstrate how project addresses the Innovation Rating Criteria and Project Category Priorities in order to be considered for up to 75 per cent funding of total eligible costs
  • Recommended cost-share up to $200,000 per project per year

Project Length

  • Projects approved from December 2018 onwards, to finish by December 1, 2020
  • Where strong rationale is provided, to support critical components of projects approved from December 2018 onwards, project end dates may be extended to December 1, 2021 and final claims, final reports and project results surveys must be submitted to AAC no later than January 3, 2022

Eligible Costs

  • Costs directly related to the activities noted below that are also consistent with Section F
  • Costs associated with funding for BMPs on demonstrations farms may be considered
  • Requests for higher capital costs reimbursement will be considered on a case-by-case basis

Eligible Activities

  • Activities that are consistent with Section H
  • Evaluating methods to improve water quality and soil health, through mitigating or managing risks to surface and ground water, such as practices to reduce soil erosion, more efficiently managed nutrients, or technologies to capture and treat run-off
  • Applied research and piloting/testing of new technologies, processes, practices or systems
  • Benchmarking or analysis of environmental performance of best management practices, sectors or operations

Ineligible Costs

  • See a list of general ineligible costs in Section G
  • Costs associated with funding for BMPs on individual producers’ properties

Ineligible Activities

  • See a list of general ineligible activities in Section H