CAP: Soil Health and Water Quality: Outreach, Education and Advisory Services

Purpose of Project Category:

Projects will focus on improving the transfer of knowledge to agricultural producers on the importance and approaches to mitigate risks to water and soil quality through targeted site-specific actions. The intent of knowledge transfer activities is to encourage actions in support of reducing excess nutrients entering the waterways in the Great Lakes basin from agricultural sources.

Approaches must encourage the use of multiple best management practices (BMPs) in a whole-farm approach and include defined target audiences intended to be reached through communications.  Projects may include work to characterize and better understand the audience to inform the communications activities.

Projects may be anticipated to support co-benefits including:

  • Increased resiliency of farm businesses to extreme weather events and climate change
  • Improved agricultural productivity through increased efficiency in crop inputs and soil health improvements
  • Improved water management on-farm
  • Improved habitat for pollinators and other species

Target Audience – Who should apply?

Organizations and collaborations, that have an education, outreach or advisory services plan, with a focus on supporting improvements in water quality (undertaken in a geographical area that must have demonstrated nutrient related water quality impairments) or supporting soil health, (undertaken in geographical areas with degraded soil health), targeting the agriculture or agri-food sector

Eligible Projects

  • Outreach strategies
  • Training sessions
  • Knowledge acquisition and knowledge sharing
  • Workshops
  • Tours
  • Communications, including background work to characterize and better understand methods to reach intended audiences

Examples of projects

  • Implementation of a plan that outlines a multi-channel, multi-venue approach to communicate messages and/or advice around soil health and water quality outcomes. This could include a mix of approaches including workshops, field days, speaker series, booths or presentations at existing farm events, print or online materials, or developing a new symposium or conference

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
  • Activities should be informed by science and are encouraged to make use of innovative messaging and behavior change strategies
  • Projects that demonstrate evidence of planning, coordination and execution in partnerships beyond one organization, including integrating environmental and agronomy expertise, either through a collaboration, or through confirmed engagement and support of other parties as part of the project will be viewed more highly
  • Projects supporting a whole-farm approach
  • Projects including, where possible, economic factors such as input costs and yield assessment in the communications
  • Projects supporting innovative outreach approaches (not commonly used in Ontario), where the project includes an evaluation of effectiveness of the innovative outreach approach will be viewed more highly
  • Projects that are implementing collaborative and/or existing comprehensive plans with multiple tactics to best fit information to need of audience and maximize reach of messaging

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 $250,000 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
  • Requests for higher capital costs reimbursement will be considered on a case-by-case basis

Eligible Activities

  • Activities that are consistent with Section H
  • Activities related to the on-farm development of knowledge and skills required to, or advisory services to actively manage the use of nutrients, water, wastewater and soils to reduce the potential for off-site impacts from operations
  • Activities must target producers or their advisors
  • Options of activities, in any combination, may include but are not limited to:
    • developing course materials
    • delivery of training courses
    • outreach strategies
    • workshops
    • demonstrations
    • tours
    • peer-to-peer networks and clubs
    • printed written and web based materials
    • farm-based advisory services
    • first-time only conferences and symposia, with incremental new activities to be supported, where producers and agri-business are the primary audience along with conservation professionals with the intent of building inter-disciplinary knowledge and relationships to support future on-the-ground stewardship action on-farm

Ineligible Costs

  • See a list of general ineligible costs in Section G
  • Providing cost-share funding for BMPs on individual producers’ properties (but may include support for cost-share funding for BMPs on demonstration farms properties)

Ineligible Activities

  • See a list of general ineligible activities in Section H